A key ingredient in our Deeply Cleansing Milk, Neem oil is a potent and unique skin care ingredient. Let’s explore some of the things that make it so great.
What is Neem Oil
Neem oil is a form of vegetable oil, produced by cold pressing and processing the fruits and seeds to the neem tree (scientific name Azadirachta indica, part of the mahogany family). The neem tree is an evergreen tree native to India and the subcontinent, meaning it grows best in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Colloquially, it’s also known as the Indian lilac for its tiny, lilac-shaped flowers.
The tree is fast growing, which means it’s good for fast commercial production. It’s known for being highly drought resistant, and is one of the few shade generating trees that can thrive in dry climates. This means it is also a common street tree in India and the surrounding countries. In some places like in Australia, it grows so well that it’s considered a weed.
The fruits themselves are not very tasty. It’s extremely bitter and has a somewhat garlic-like flavor. The oil made from the plant has a similar strong aroma. However, young shoots of the tree and the flowers are sometimes included in soup and rice dishes.
Although it does not taste good, since ancient times it’s been considered a very healthy food and eaten for health and posterity.
Neem Oil uses
For a long time, the people of the Indian subcontinent have used neem oil for its medicinal properties. It’s a major ingredient in siddha and Ayurvedic medicine. Neem oil has especially been used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
This is because neem oil has potent anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. However, in concentrated forms and in large quantities it can be dangerous. As an ingredient in skin care, though, it’s never a potential danger.
Not only is neem oil a great health and natural skin care ingredient, it’s also important in non-pesticide agriculture management. Neem doesn’t directly kill insects, but acts as an insect repellent and egg-laying deterrent, though it needs to be reapplied frequently - around every ten days depending on the weather.
It’s the agricultural equivalent of putting vinegar on your fingernails to keep from biting them. Some major studies have been conducted on neem oil benefits in this capacity, especially considering the side effects and harmful nature of most commercial pesticides.
Neem Oil for skin care
When used in skin care and beauty products, the smell of neem oil is attenuated, and you only get the benefits. Studies have been conducted on the benefits of neem oil and its treatments, primarily in anti-aging. But neem oil can do much for the skin than fight dryness and wrinkles.
It’s high in fatty acids and other nutrients, such as vitamin E, triglycerides, antioxidants, linoleic acid, oleic acids and calcium. There’s a long list of potential uses of neem oil in skin care, including treating dry skin and wrinkles, fighting free radicals and encouraging collagen production (thus making skin appear brighter and younger), reducing the appearance of scars, and treating acne, warts, and moles.
In our Deeply Cleansing Milk, neem oil is used to bring dirt and other bacteria off the skin. Because of its antibacterial properties, it both prevents and treats acne as it helps cleanse the skin. There is so much that nature has to offer in our everyday lives that can be used for so many different things. The same things that benefit plants can also benefit us.