The selection of a good carrier oil is one of the most underestimated parts of making a great essential oil blend. Carrier oils are used to dilute more potent essential oils to prevent skin irritation. Additionally, they help the oils become better absorbed into the skin and contain essential fatty acids and other ingredients that are beneficial on their own.
Neem oil is a versatile and highly beneficial carrier oil that is worth adding into your daily routine.
History of Neem Oil
Neem oil is extracted from the neem tree or Azadirachta indica. This tree is considered divine in Indian culture. Because of this, it has been used throughout history, even before the time of written records to remedy a wide range of ailments and remains popular today.1
Neem oil is predominantly made up of unsaturated fatty acids and triglycerides. The primary fatty acids found in the oil are oleic acid, linoleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acids. There are also several sterols and tocopherols found in the oil, with the main sterol being beta-sitosterol.2
Uses for Neem Oil
Neem oil is useful for a wide range of topical treatments, some of which are highlighted below.
Protects the Skin
Neem oil is full of carotenoids and antioxidants which can be helpful for protecting people from the signs of aging, including reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.3 It can also have a beneficial moisturizing effect.
Neem oil has a rather strong odor, so it is usually best used in conjunction with other oils, but it makes a good evening moisturizer that you can use before bed to nourish your skin.
Remedies Acne and Prevent Scars
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Acne is something that affects people from all walks of life. While people who are going through puberty are more likely to experience acne, it can occur in older adults too. Acne spots appear when the skin produces too much sebum, which mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the follicles of the skin. Using essential oils mixed with neem oil as a cleansing agent can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help improve your complexion.
Combats Fungal Infections
Tames Frizzy Hair
Neem oil can be used to tame wild and frizzy hair. It works well mixed with other, milder carrier oils. Put a small amount of the oil onto the palm of your hands and run your fingers through your hair, then comb the oil in with a fine-toothed comb to get a nice glossy finish.
The oil will nourish the hair and help keep it looking smooth. If you combine neem oil with a milder, more moisturizing oil, then you can also enjoy the added benefits of the moisturizing effect of the oil on your scalp. This can help combat dandruff and support healthy hair growth, making it a good choice for people who are struggling with thinning hair.
One little-known effect of neem oil, at least in the cosmetics community, is that it is an insecticide, which reduces insect feeding and acts as a repellent.8
Relieves Pain and Soreness
Neem carrier oil can be blended with coconut oil to make a warm, relaxing massage oil. Add some essential oils to this blend depending on the purpose of the massage (ex. warming oils to help with inflammation and pain, or soothing, relaxing oils to help yourself unwind after a hard week at work).
Massages can be useful for people who are struggling with pain and soreness. Studies show that self-massage can offer a wide range of health benefits, which makes neem oil a good choice for relaxing self-care.9 If you do decide to use neem oil as a part of a massage blend, make sure not to use it on damaged or broken skin.
Best Essential Oils to Pair with Neem Carrier Oil
Neem oil has quite a powerful aroma. This means that you will probably not want to use it by itself or with milder-scented essential oils such as lavender.
If you are looking to buy neem oil, then you should select the organic, cold-pressed pure oil. This oil should be cloudy and slightly yellow in color. Pure neem oil has a slightly mustard-like scent, with hints of garlic, so it would not be a great option to use for a perfume in its undiluted form. You can add small amounts of it to other oils, though, and still enjoy all of the benefits this carrier oil can bring to your daily routine.
The best way to use neem oil is to mix it with an equal amount of another carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or grapeseed oil. This will help take away a lot of the scent of the neem oil and make it more tolerable. If the oils that you use prove to still feel a little too oily, then you can add some aloe vera gel to reduce that feeling.
A 50/50 mix of neem oil and jojoba should not have an overpowering scent, so you can add mint, lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, or other oils to it to create an aroma that you enjoy.
Safety and Precautions
Neem oil is a carrier oil that is designed to dilute other essential oils. Unlike other carrier oils, though, it is quite potent and there is still some risk of irritation and allergic reactions. Because of this, it’s a good idea to perform an allergy test before you use neem oil in large quantities. Apply a small amount of neem oil to the skin on the inside of your forearm and leave it for several hours. If you experience any irritation, redness, or itching, discontinue use of the oil.
If you do not experience any side effects, then you can start to use neem oil in addition to your other carrier oils. Note that neem oil has azadirachtin in it, and this active ingredient can cause a condition known as “neem oil poisoning,” which can lead to toxic encephalopathy. Neem oil poisoning can occur if the oil is ingested. This condition is very rare in healthy adults but can occur in the elderly and in children.10 For this reason, it is important to store neem oil carefully, out of reach of children, and in a sealed container.
When using carrier oils, you should be mindful of the desired dilution of the oils. Typically, dilutions for adult use should be around two to five percent, with some essential oils being suitable for use at concentrations of up to 10 percent.
Neem oil is a potent oil that can be paired with jojoba, coconut, or other carrier oils to produce a powerful cleansing and healing oil with antimicrobial properties. It is also a good oil for remedying acne and fungal infections, and it can make a great addition to your essential oil collection.
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