What are the top uses for Neem?

How do you use Neem?

Neem-Top-uses-plant-oil

My latest pursuit in all things natural and skin related is Neem oil. The Neem tree is native to India and is a major ingredient used in Ayurvedic treatments. It touts a history of thousands of years in maintaining health and well-being. The plant itself is versatile and can be utilized from root to leaf for both internal and external applications.

It seemed like all at once everything pointed to Neem. I have been nursing a sick plant back to health and first got some for this ailing friend. About a week later, my naturopath recommended trying Neem tablets to help with skin issues. As usually happens at this time, I end up delving head first into my own research. I see all sorts of applications for topical treatments that look promising as well. With its’ antibacterial properties and inhibition of the growth of acne-causing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), it seems like something that could become an integral part of my formulations.

Among the common uses, I see it as a treatment for dryness and itching in hair, healing wounds, suppressing acne, and combating bacterial infections like boils and ulcers, as well as a prevention treatment for blemishes and eczema.

My questions for YOU:

  • How are you using Neem?
  • What are your favorite topical recipes?
  • With what oils do you use it in conjunction?
  • Do you have favorite brands, sources, forms?

I’d love to hear your experiences and recommendations. Please share in the comments below. I’ll follow up with my thoughts and hopefully have some good recipes to post!

Top 12 Essential Oils for Healthy Skin

Skincare and Essential Oils

One of the simplest and most natural ways to care for your skin is incorporating essential oils. Here are the top 12 essential oils (in alphabetical order) essential to your skin’s health:

  1. Bergamot
  2. Cedarwood
  3. Chamomile
  4. Frankincense
  5. Geranium
  6. Lavender
  7. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
  8. Myrrh
  9. Neroli
  10. Rose
  11. Rosewood
  12. Sandlewood

Essential-Oils-Skincare

Essential oils are great for skincare and very versatile. Although most are fairly gentle, you should always be cautions when putting anything on your skin. Test first to make sure you don’t have any sensitivities or allergies to the oil, as everyone’s skin reacts different. Additionally, some of these oils should be diluted when used topically so make sure and research each oil before you decide to use one. I keep a pump of carrier oil (I prefer food grade sesame oil) in my bathroom to dilute many of these oils when applying them to my body.

  1. Bergamot-

    Versatile oil used for hormonal support and antibacterial properties. Bergamot works great for skin conditions associated with oily complexions and helps with the distribution of pigments and melanin, evening out skin tones. This oil is used often to eliminate effects of acne and scars and marks that have aged. Bergamot can make skin UV sensitive for up to 36 hours so use with care. Oil should be diluted when used topically.

  2. Cedarwood-

    Regularizes sebum production, which makes it great for acne treatment and eczema therapy. Cedarwood oil also promotes hair growth, is antibacterial and is a lympatic stimulate. This oil is great for treating dandruff, dermatitis and oily skin. Used in high concentrations, Cedarwood Oil may produce irritations on the skin so use in judicious quantities.

  3. Chamomile-

    All hail the calming neutralizer of skin irritants! Chamomile is the all around helper of the essential oils for skincare. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic oil great for treating sensitive skin for acne, eczema and scar tissue. Chamomile is also a natural skin lightener that promotes a healthy glow as it heals and restores skin’s natural moisture content. It is also great to use with other oils as it increases the penetration and effectiveness of other skincare topicals.

  4. Frankincense-

    With a rich history of use as an essential oil, is an important immune stimulant that has the ability to turn off the DNA of cancer cells and restore skin to a healthy state. Frankincense is cytophylactic, which means when applied topically, it helps to eliminate scars, marks after boils, acne pox, and sun spots. It is also great for treating dry skin and regeneration of healthy cells to generally tone and tighten skin all over the body. This makes it great for treating micro-wrinkles around the eyes and cheeks. Frankincense oil can be used undiluted.

  5. Geranium-

    One of the most versatile skincare essential oils. What can’t Geranium do? It is regenerative and healing with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Geranium improves blood flow and acts as an astringent, which makes the skin, tissues and blood vessels contract. When used alone, it can prevent sagging, loose skin and because of its’ astringent qualities, can help prevent wrinkles from forming. Geranium is good for treating dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, vitiligo, scars and skin spots. It also encourages dead skin cells to be recycled and stimulates the production of new cells resulting in more radiant skin.

  6. Lavender-

    One of the most commonly used essential oils, Lavender oil inhibits the bacteria that causes skin infections and helps to regulate the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal regulation. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that promotes tissue regeneration and stimulates the upper layer of skin rejuvenation. Lavender oil is great for perineal repair, acne, eczema, psoriasis, scaring, stretch marks and burns.

  7. Tea Tree (Melaleuca)-

    The ultimate disinfecting oil. Tea Tree is anti-microbial, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, all properties making it a great treatment for fighting acne. The oil penetrates the blockage between your skin and the glands and is great at disinfecting pores and drying out whiteheads and blackheads. Tea Tree oil is also great for treating dandruff because of its’ different moisturizing properties while soothing itchy scalp. It can be intense on sensitive skin so you should make sure to test it before use. People suffering from eczema should be cautious in using Tea Tree oil.

  8. Myrrh-

    Prevents signs of aging and is great for soothing cracked or chapped skin. Myrrh is also a great essential oil to use on wrinkled skin or to sooth painful stretch marks.

  9. Neroli-

    Increases blood flow and helps keep skin healthy by promoting skin cell regeneration and preserves skin elasticity. Neroli oil is also great for use on scars, stretch marks, thread veins and wrinkles. It can help relieve under eye circles, balance oil production and clean dirt and bacteria from pores. Neroli is labor intensive to produce which makes it a bit pricey and in turn, harder to find in your local stores.

  10. Rose-

    Contains a complex collection of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Rose oil has excellent emollient properties, which makes it an ideal skin moisturizer. This oil is great for refining skin’s texture and controlling psoriasis and dermatitis. Rose oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent and is a good option for reducing appearance of scars and wrinkles.

  11. Rosewood-

    Natural anti-aging oil that is great at minimizing fine lines, wrinkles, treating acne and improves skin’s elasticity, keeping skin healthy, tight and firm.

  12. Sandlewood-

    Mostly used for acne, wrinkles and scars. Sandlewood has a toning effect, which helps in tightening pores and improving skin texture. This oil is also said to revitalize skin by inhibiting many types of cancerous cell growth.

 

Again, each person is different so make sure you test oils before you use them on your skin and gauge your sensitivity. Diluting the oils with a carrier oil is a good way to minimize your sensitivity and to make your essential oil supply last a bit longer. There are also tons of fantastic ways to incorporate oils into your beauty products and routines (recipes coming soon!) so you are bound to find a formula and application that works for you.