Neem oil is a favourite one-stop solution for many problems in Ayurvedic practice. Beauty parlours and hair experts love it. Homeopaths highly recommend it. In Sanskrit, neem is called the “curer of all ailments.”
Toothpaste companies, hair-oil companies, digestive medication manufacturers all proudly use neem in their products. It’s easy to get blindly carried away by the general love for such a popular herb. But we must also look closely and see for ourselves why and how neem oil works, especially in the context of hair treatments. For example, did you know that there are two kinds of neem oils? There’s one type of oil extracted from seeds or fruits. Some people may be sensitive to this oil. The other kind of neem oil is extracted from leaves and mixed with a carrier oil. It is safer and better for home use and hair care.
In other words, it’s extremely important not to use neem oil without some kind of dilution! Once you know that, you can go ahead and try it for some pesky hair issues.
First Step: Test the Oil
Before you try out neem oil in your hair, do the inner-elbow skin test to make sure you’re not sensitive to it. Apply a drop or two of the diluted oil to the inside of your elbow, where the skin is very sensitive. Wrap in gauze or standard bandage. Leave on for 24 hours. If you don’t break out in rashes or redness, it’s safe to use.
1. Topical neem oil for Alopecia
If you’ve got alopecia, you’ll find your hair falling off in patches. Alopecia could be due to a few different things – someone in your family had it or maybe it’s just your hormones. It’s an autoimmune disease – this means your immune system makes a mistake and attacks healthy cells.
There’s something in neem called Nimbin, which gives neem its healing properties. Scientists think Nimbin fights against inflammation in the body. Part of the treatment for alopecia is to treat inflammation.
Usage: Use diluted neem oil or you can dilute pure seed extract with any carrier oil. Jojoba oil, coconut oil, or olive oil works well. Measure out 30 ml carrier oil and add 12 drops of neem oil to it. Massage topically and leave for one hour. Wash with your daily shampoo. Do this daily for benefits. Don’t leave it on for overnight; it could irritate your skin.
2. Neem oil in Shampoo for Psoriasis-Related Hair-fall
If you’ve got psoriasis and scratch your scalp, it could make your hair fall. Use neem oil regularly to treat inflammation and your scalp should clear up in some time. You could add neem oil to your shampoo so you don’t have to think about treatments when you’re short on time.
Usage: Simply add two to three drops in a coin-sized dollop of shampoo and use it as your regular shampoo. Keep the shampoo on for a few minutes and then wash off. Don’t forget to condition your hair afterward.
3. Homemade Neem Cream for Eczema and Psoriasis
Usage: You can also make a nourishing cream of natural ingredients and neem oil to soothe eczema and psoriasis. There are a few different recipes you can follow. One such recipe can be made using 30 grams shea butter (natural, organic, available on Amazon), 30 grams cocoa butter, 30 grams sweet almond or grapeseed or sunflower oil, 20 grams of castor oil, 10 grams neem oil and ½ teaspoon vitamin E oil.
Mix the butters and the castor and almond oils first in a double boiler setup until they are completely liquid. Cool or freeze for a few minutes until the oil solidifies a little, similar in consistency to castor oil. Gently whisk in the other oils.
Don’t forget to do a patch test first. Then go ahead and use it for relief from the itchiness and pain that comes with psoriasis and eczema.
4. Neem oil for Moisturizing and Hair Growth
Neem oil is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, and stearic acid, as well as vitamin E. It can moisturize your scalp. Massaging your scalp with neem oil will also stimulate your hair follicles by increasing blood circulation. The antibacterial, antioxidant properties of neem oil can also help against the stressors that come from the environment. Hair grows back thicker and stronger with regular champi with diluted neem oil.
Usage: As always, use a carrier oil with a few drops of neem oil in it. Apply to your hair and scalp, massaging in with your fingertips. Wrap your head in a hot towel to let the oil penetrate the outer cuticles of your hair and the pores of your scalp.
5. Neem oil for hair loss due to yeast and other fungal infections
Scalp yeast infections and other fungal hair problems are common. But sometimes, it can be hard to tell what the real hair trouble is. Neem oil can act as an umbrella solution for many kinds of infections that make hair and scalp unhealthy.
Compounds like Nimbin, Azadirachta, Salannim, and a few others in neem oil together have antifungal properties. Applying topically is good for dandruff-causing fungus. You can also read Ayurvedic Remedies to Stop Hair fall and Grow New Hair.
Side Effects & Precautions
If you have sensitive skin and use neem oil topically without dilution, it may make your scalp itchy and irritated. Always do the patch test first. Neem juice or neem oil is best diluted in coconut oil or olive oil before you apply it to your scalp or skin. Ideally, you should cap at around ½ to 1 teaspoon of neem oil in one usage.
Neem oil used diluted can keep your hair healthy and shiny. Also, make sure to find out what’s in your bottle of neem oil, whether it’s a seed extract or a leaf extract. If its seed extract, dilute and use it carefully. If you find any breakouts or rashes develop after use, stop using and wait for the symptoms of allergy to go away.