What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is an oil that is derived from the tropical neem tree. It has a long history as traditional medicine to treat skin conditions, remove pests from plants and help heal skin.
Neem oil has a strong odour, part of the reason why it works so well against pests. Despite its smell, neem oil also contains a number of fatty acids and vitamins that may explain the benefits that are usually attributed to the ingredient.
Neem oil is often used in skincare products such as moisturiser, body lotions as well as hair products and make up. While neem oil has only recently began to gain popularity in contemporary skincare and cosmetics the preliminary studies seem to suggest that it may help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, make support collagen production, may help to support wound healing and may even be useful in the treatment of warts and moles.
the good: Neem oil is a fat-rich oil that contains antioxidants such as vitamin E, helping to improve the appearance of the skin.
the not so good: Like many plant-derived ingredients, neem oil is not particularly well studied for its efficacy and safety. There are a few studies that suggest that it may be beneficial for acne, wound healing and wrinkles but there isn’t enough evidence to support these claims yet.
Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on: Keep an eye out for further research into this ingredient.
What Are The Benefits of Neem Oil?
Neem oil, as a plant-derived ingredient contains an array of compounds and isn’t simply just one ingredient. Neem oil contains fatty acids, limonoids, vitamin E, antioxodants and calcium. These compounds all contribute to the benefits that neem oil may provide to the skin.
In a 2012 study that looked at the potential use of neem oil in helping to heal post-operative wounds, neem oil was found to help the healing process. This study was a small study conducted with nine participants so it is important to remember that more research needs to be undertaken before this benefit can be attributed to neem oil.
However, the potential wound healing benefits of neem may be beneficial for those who experience blemishes, have disruption in the skin barrier such as eczema or dermatitis or for specific wounds. The potential benefit to these skin conditions have been further explored in research conducted on acne in 2013.
As neem oil is a fat-rich oil that contains a number of antioxidants it may have benefits for aging skin. In a study conducted in 2017 on mice, neem oil improved dryness and the appearance of wrinkles. This research would need to be furthered to determine if these benefits can also be illustrated in human participants. However, generally speaking fat-rich oils usually help to reduce transepidermal water loss or TEWL. TEWL occurs as we age, where our skin is unable to maintain its natural water content as it once did.
Is Neem Oil Safe?
As is the case with many plant-derived ingredients, the efficacy and safety of neem oil has not been well studied. Preliminary studies have suggested that neem oil is safe for use, however, more research is needed to understand this ingredient further.