Do you live in a crowded city? Then some time out in woods or parks is a blessing. The air is fresher, unpolluted and full of oxygen from all those trees. Spending even a few minutes can feel like a rejuvenative therapy for your entire being.
And if you are looking for potent therapy for your scalp and hair problems, there’s neem oil. A highly revered oil from the Indian subcontinent, neem can remedy dandruff, eczema, scalp acne as well as boost hair growth.
Before we see what neem oil can do for hair, here’s a quick look at the amazing neem tree.
Neem is a large evergreen tree that likes to grow in hot, arid regions. No wonder it’s found all over India and its neighbouring countries. Because neem is so beneficial for our health, as well as utilized as animals feed, compost and a natural pesticide, it’s now grown in Africa, the Middle East and Central America.
The neem leaves are small and delicate, and they grow packed in multiple branches, which makes the tree look very dense. Neem tree provides shelter to the travellers, farmworkers and also grazing animals during a hot day. However, the most important function of neem is its fabulous healing potential. That’s why neem is also called ‘sarva rogha nivarini’ or ‘heal all tree’.
Of course, it can’t, or it won’t heal everything; neem can help with many things: rheumatism, scabies, parasites, diabetes, liver function, wound healing, skin ailments, hair growth and general health.
Every part of the tree – leaves, twigs, bark, fruits – is useful, including the neem oil which is extracted from the small oval fruits of neem (that resemble green olives). Our interest in this article is the neem oil as it’s fantastic for hair and scalp. Let’s find out what it has to offer.
1. Neem Oil Boosts Hair Growth
The oil works in multiple ways to save your hair. Firstly, by making the scalp healthy, neem oil supports the hair follicles to flourish and thrive. Also, the yellow-brown oil is super-rich in antioxidants which protect hair from damage and thinning.
A regular massage with the neem oil will grow hair thicker, stronger and denser.
How to use neem oil for hair growth, you need:
Place neem and coconut oil in a bowl and mix well and use. You can also add lavender essential oil for its hair growth-enhancing effects.
Massage the neem tonic into your scalp and hair. Let it sit for an hour and wash out with homemade or a SLS-free shampoo.
Neem oil is effective against several human fungi including candida, which is one of the major causes of dandruff. Also, when you have dandruff, there is some underlying inflammation that makes the scalp red and irritated.
The star ingredient of neem oil is nimbidin – with antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s a perfect formula to relieve dandruff and soothe the itchy scalp. The fungus gets kicked out of the scalp, and the redness and irritation are pacified with the use of neem oil.
To use neem oil for dandruff, you need:
Mix all the ingredients and massage into your scalp and hair. Let it sit for an hour or so and wash it out.
Eczema skin looks dry and crusty and sometimes oozes fluid. It’s not easy to make it go away and can linger for months or even years.
Neem oil is a great healer for the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties calm and soothe the skin, while its anti-histaminic effects reduce the allergic reaction that may be triggering eczema.
There’s more, neem oil moisturises and repairs the dry, cracked skin, bringing it back to being healthy and smooth again.
To use neem oil for eczema, you need:
In a bowl, mix neem oil with almond oil.
To use, apply a small amounts to the eczema patches on your scalp or skin. Massage gently until the oil gets absorbed and leave it on.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system, recommends the use of neem to reduce the scales and redness of psoriasis skin. Also, there are anecdotal reports to suggest the usefulness of this herbal oil for psoriasis.
Moreover, because of its anti-microbial properties, neem oil acts as a skin guard and protects cracked or open skin from secondary infection.
You can use neem oil the same way as for eczema (see above), or try rubbing a few drops of neem oil neat on the skin.
It doesn’t matter where the acne is – scalp or face or body – neem oil will shrink those pesky breakouts and help you get smooth, clear skin. All thanks to its astringent and anti-inflammatory effects.
Plus, neem oil enhances the natural immunity and health of your skin and helps prevent future breakouts – which is fab.
To use neem oil for acne, you need
You can simply apply neem oil on acne spot and leave on to do its work.
Or you can apply neem oil with the clay of your choice – fullers or bentonite. Place neem oil and clay in a bowl and add little water to form a smooth paste. Apply on the pimple and let it dry. Wash with plain water.
Neem oil is pretty lethal for head lice. Its insecticidal qualities disrupt the growth, feeding and reproduction of the lice. So it will eventually kill them. And in the process of getting rid of lice, neem oil will benefit your hair by making it soft and smooth and your scalp healthy and nourished.
To use neem oil for lice, you need
Put neem oil and coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. You can also add tea tree essential oil to make the mixture more potent (tea tree has lice killing properties).
Massage into your scalp and hair and let it sit for a couple of hours before washing it out. Repeat every other day until the lice are gone.
Neem has a strong, herby, pungent odour. You may or may not like it. But as we saw above, neem oil is super useful for hair and scalp. So you can ignore the smell, or you can mask it by mixing it with a carrier oil and essential oils.
Also, the smell goes away in a few minutes. At least, that is what I have noticed.
When using neem oil, dilute it with base oils like olive, avocado or coconut oil. You can use between 10 to 20% neem oil in a blend. You can also add a few drops of lavender, ylang ylang or any other essential oil to mask the smell.
Neem oil is yellowish-brown in colour, and it gets solid in cold weather (just like coconut oil). Always buy cold-pressed, unrefined oil neem oil which is of pure quality.
It’s not common to have neem allergies. However, if you have never applied neem oil, do a patch test on your forearm to make sure you don’t react. Also, if you are pregnant, lactating or have a medical condition, check with your medical practitioner before using neem oil.
Stay with nature! Enjoy the walk in the parks, woods and farms to uplift your spirits and use natural remedies like neem to boost hair and scalp health.
Do you use neem oil on your hair and skin? I would love to hear your experience. Please share in the comment box below.