The Science of Neem Oil in Skin Care Products
Tiempo de lectura 7 min
Tiempo de lectura 7 min
Neem oil has become an increasingly popular natural oil in skin care. Derived from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), this ancient Ayurvedic ingredient contains a wealth of active compounds that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial benefits.
Keep reading to learn all about neem oil in skin care - what makes it so effective, how to use it, and whether it’s right for your skin type. If you haven't found your Baumann Skin Type yet, you can take the quiz for free by clicking the button below!
Neem oil comes from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree, native to India and Southeast Asia. Every part of the neem tree has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, from leaves to roots. In skin care, it is just the pressed oils from the seeds and fruits that are used. It is useful for most skin types (who aren't extremely prone to acne) and is only increasing in popularity. Here are some of my favorite skin care products with neem oil:
Neem oil is cold-pressed from neem seeds, and retains the tree’s potent active compounds. These include: (3)
This unique chemical profile gives neem oil various beneficial skin effects. Additionally, this ingredient is considered safe in skin care.
When used topically and appropriately, neem oil is generally very safe. The Environmental Working Group, for example, has graded neem oil as a “1” in safety, meaning very safe. However, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:
Consult a dermatologist or doctor before trying neem oil if you have very sensitive skin, rosacea, or a medical condition. When used appropriately under guidance, neem oil is very beneficial for skin health for most people.
With regular use, neem oil can help address common skin issues including acne, inflammation, irritation, dryness and premature aging. The broad range of active compounds makes neem oil a versatile ingredient in skin care products, but more studies on its effects in skin care are needed. That being said, some of the benefits of neem oil that I am aware of include:
The azadirachtins and other active compounds in neem oil demonstrate antimicrobial effects against bacteria, viruses and fungi that infect or irritate skin. (5) Studies show neem is especially effective against:
Applying neem oil can help prevent breakouts, skin infections, athlete’s foot and more by inhibiting microbial growth.
The triterpenoids in neem have an anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically. Additionally, neem provides soothing linoleic acid to the skin. By soothing inflammation, neem calms redness, swelling and irritation associated with inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. (6)
Neem contains high levels of antioxidant compounds like catechin, ferulic acid, quercetin and more. These neutralize free radicals that would otherwise damage skin cells, accelerating visible aging. Using neem oil helps defend the skin against oxidative stress. (4)
In addition to its medicinal effects, neem oil is also an effective moisturizer. The fatty acids and beta-sitosterol in neem help smooth and hydrate dry, flaky skin while restoring suppleness and a youthful glow. Beta-sitosterol is a lot like cholesterol, and similarly aids in maintaining the skin barrier as a part of the essential lipid matrix of the skin. A healthy skin barrier loses less moisture to transepidermal water loss. (8)
Multiple studies attest to neem’s wound healing abilities. The oil stimulates collagen production, while the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity protects wounds and promotes faster healing.(7)
To find out if neem oil suits your unique skin needs, check your Baumann Skin Type. My proven system classifies skin into one of 16 types based on oiliness, dryness, sensitivity, aging, and pigmentation concerns.
Here’s how neem oil matches up with each trait:
Aging skin: Neem oil helps eliminate free radicals that can cause wrinkles on the skin. This ingredient also has proposed collagen stimulating effects.
Dry Skin: The moisturizing fatty acids helps hydrating dry skin, and keeps the skin barrier healthy. It is a rich and moisturizing ingredient. As long as your skin is not too dry, the oleic acid in neem oil should not irritate your skin.
Sensitive Skin: Neem oil is generally well-tolerated, but acne breakouts are possible because neem contains comedogenic palmitic acid. If you are soothing inflammation, this is a good choice. If you are working to prevent clogged pores, not so much. That being said, neem contains potent antimicrobial compounds that can eliminate acne causing bacteria on the face.
Pigmented Skin: Neither particularly good nor bad. A safe ingredient to use in your routine, but not a particularly strong skin lightener.
Based on this breakdown, neem oil is an ideal ingredient for those with dry, somewhat acne prone, aging, and inflammation sensitive skin. People with very acne prone or extremely dry skin should speak to a dermatologist before using.
Figure out your Baumann Skin Type to determine if neem is right for your skin concerns.
With antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, neem oil is an Ayurvedic powerhouse for multiple skin care concerns. It’s especially effective for treating acne, soothing conditions like eczema and rosacea, and preventing infections and irritation. Plus, neem oil hydrates and protects skin from aging free radical damage.
Take the Baumann Skin Type quiz for free today to see if neem oil is right for your skin care routine!