Neem has long vied for a top spot in many Ayurvedic medicines. Packed with several skin and hair care benefits, from antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to antibacterial and anti-aging, it’s hardly possible for anyone to be anti-neem. The herb can help balance skin’s oil production, and in turn minimize acne, post-pimple scars and hyperpigmentation. It also aids in healing wounds and sun damage. Since it’s loaded with Vitamin C, neem stimulates collagen formation to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles. Lest you only think it’s apt for oily skin, the presence of essential fatty acids in neem oil derived from its leaves makes for a handy moisturizer too.
The herb also doubles up as an effective hair care ingredient, owing to its anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Neem oil can stimulate dormant hair follicles to promote blood circulation that can minimize hair loss and improve hair growth. The oil can be a great treatment for dandruff as well because it is able to treat the Malassezia fungus, which is a common cause for a flaky scalp. However, as with all-natural remedies, it is advisable to do a patch test to check for any side-effects or allergic reactions.
Here's how you can use neem in your skincare and haircare DIY recipes
1) A DIY toner and blackhead remover
To utilize the optimum benefits of neem in its natural form, boil a handful of fresh neem leaves in water. Then, swipe the infused water on your face with a cotton pad. This works as a DIY toner and helps bring blackheads and whiteheads out from within the skin as you sleep, while also treating congested pores.
2) An oil regulating mask for acne-prone skin
Looking to purify oily skin, prevent breakouts, and heal existing acne? This mask will prove to be your go-to elixir. Take neem powder and mix with besan and turmeric. Emulsify the mixture with rose water, and use the paste as a scrub mask. Massage it over your face for about five minutes in circular motions, and then leave it on for 20 minutes. The antiseptic properties of neem will create a powerful pack that’ll help prevent pimples, zits and acne scars. An easier alternative is to blend a paste made with neem leaves and a pinch of turmeric to heal skin tissue and minimize the appearance of acne scars.
3) A neem moisturizing pack
This two-ingredient mask will come in handy when your complexion is bereft of hydration. All you need to do is make a paste of neem leaves and a spoonful of honey and apply it on your face for a few minutes to moisturize your skin from within.
4) A dandruff-fighting mask
Mix a few drops of neem oil in pure aloe vera gel and apply this mask to the hair 30 minutes before the wash. The two potent antidotes can curb dandruff. Neem oil has been found effective in treating the fungus that causes the flakes, while the proteolytic enzymes in aloe vera gel soothe itching and flaking, and also repairs the damaged cells on the scalp. A combination of neem paste and yogurt can also do the job.
5) A hair growth pack
Struggling with hair fall? Trust this mask to become your savior if applied regularly. It will also revamp hair texture and keep other woes like thinning, breakage, split ends, and hair loss at bay. Apply a mask made from neem powder and coconut oil from root to tip once a week and massage it. Wash your hair and repeat this once a week.
*Disclaimer - Home remedies cannot replace treatments and medication. Consult a dermatologist to seek advice for your particular hair and skin type.