Neem, Azadirachta Indica, is one of the most versatile medicinal plants native to India. Every component of the neem tree, its bark, leaves, seeds, roots, all possess medicinal properties beneficial for the human well-being. Neem exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant effect. These properties of neem make it a perfect natural remedy for resolving skin and hair problems. It purifies skin and detoxifies hair.
Neem for Skin
A. Treat Acne
1) For Dry Skin – Mix 1tbsp Neem powder or Neem leaf paste with 1tsp organic honey and ½ tsp rose water. Apply this paste all over your face. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash off the pack, tone your face, and hydrate with aloe vera gel. Apply this face mask twice a week.
2) For Combination or Oily Skin – Mix 1 tbsp Neem powder or Neem leaf paste with ½ tbsp Multani mitti (fullers earth). Add cucumber juice or tomato juice to make a paste. Prep your face by wiping your face with a warm towel. Apply this mask and let it sit for 20 minutes or until it dries. Wash off with cold water. Tone and moisturise. Apply this face mask twice a week.
3) Face Toner for All Skin Types – Boil a handful of Neem leaves in two cups of water. After the first boil, cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside for the concoction to cool down. Store it in a spray bottle in the refrigerator. Use it as a toner day and night, or as a face mist throughout the day. If need be, add some aloe vera juice to make the toner/mist hydrating for the skin. The toner will help tighten the pores. Use the toner along with the aforementioned face packs.
B. Tackle Whiteheads and Blackheads
Neem shrinks the pores and absorbs all the excess sebum thereby preventing the formation of whiteheads and blackheads. It works as an antibacterial exfoliating agent that pulls out impurities and tightens the pores. Mix 1 tbsp of Neem powder and ¼ tsp turmeric powder with cucumber juice to make a paste. Before application, steam your face. This will open the pores for the mask to work efficiently. Apply the prepared paste on your face and leave it on till it dries. Tone and hydrate. Repeat twice a week.
C. Prevent Fungal Infections
The antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of Neem make it ideal for treating and preventing fungal infections. To keep your skin safe from bacterial and fungal attack, boil 1 cup of Neem leaves in a kettle of water. Once the leaves loose colour and become soft, strain the water. Use this Neem infused water as a body rinse post shower. This will help treat skin infections and reduce inflammation.
Neem for Hair
Neem is a must in your hair care routine if you suffer problems like dandruff, scaly scalp, greasy follicles, and scalp irritation. The antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of Neem maintain a healthy scalp, prevent fungal infections, subside scalp irritation, and balances the pH of the scalp. The antiparasitic effect of Neem prevents and eliminates lice infestation from the scalp. Mentioned below are some natural remedies, using Neem, that you can introduce in your hair care routine.
A. Neem Hair Mask
This hair mask helps promote healthy hair growth, conditions the scalp, and curbs dandruff. Mix 4 tbsp Neem powder with 2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil. Add one egg to the mix and whisk well. Apply this mask from roots to ends and leave it on for 40 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. Use this hair mask once or twice a week for a healthy scalp and lustrous hair.
B. Neem Hair Rinse
This hair rinse will balance the pH level of scalp, prevent dandruff, and make hair lustrous. To make the rinse, boil a handful of fresh Neem leaves in 5 cups of water until the leaves lose colour. Strain and set aside to cool. To make the rinse more nourishing, you can add 2 tbsp of chamomile tea after getting the Neem concoction off the heat. Use this rinse as the final step to your hair wash routine.
C. Neem Hair Oil
This hair oil will promote hair growth, condition the scalp, eliminate dandruff, clear the follicles of greasy deposits, smoothen frizz, and treat or prevent hair lice. Take 1 cup oil of your choice, such as coconut oil, sesame oil, or mustard oil. Put the oil on low heat and add ½ cup Neem leaf paste. Cook the paste in oil until it loses its colour stirring continuously. Strain the oil and let it cool to room temperature. Massage this oil from root to end. Leave it overnight. Shampoo and condition, finishing off with the Neem hair rinse.
Though all the aforementioned remedies are natural and show no side-effects, we recommend you do a patch test before applying them on your face and hair.
Note that these remedies will show lasting results provided they are followed religiously, on a regular basis.