Neem has been an important part of traditional Indian medicine. It has been used since ages to treat a variety of health ailments. But are you aware its oil can promote hair health? Proponents claim that neem oil can help treat issues related to scalp and hair. What does science say? Keep reading to further understand the purported benefits of neem oil for hair.
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How Is Neem Oil Good For Hair?
Parts of the neem tree have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties (1). Today, several cosmetic industries use neem and its byproducts (including neem oil) to manufacture different hair care products.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. It may help cool the scalp and even promote smooth, shiny hair (2). The oil may also possess anti-microbial, anti-septic, and anti-dandruff properties that promote scalp health (3).
Let us further explore the benefits of neem oil for hair in detail.
Benefits Of Neem Oil For Hair
- May Help Treat Dandruff
One of the active elements in neem oil is nimbidin (4). Nimbidin is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties and could help in dandruff treatment. Untreated dandruff could lead to scalp irritation and dermatitis. Neem oil’s anti-fungal properties make it ideal for use in a hair mask.
- May Help Eliminate Head Lice
Neem also could have fungicidal action. In a study, a neem seed extract preparation was found to cure head lice infestation (5). You may use a combination of neem oil and another carrier oil to eliminate head lice.
- May Promote Hair Growth
Massaging a hair oil on the scalp can boost blood circulation to the scalp and promote hair growth. You can use neem oil diluted with a carrier oil for this purpose. Massaging with the oil also helps stimulate the hair follicles. However, more research with respect to neem oil and hair growth is warranted.
- May Fight Fungal Infections
Neem oil could be effective against certain fungal infections like ringworms, athlete’s foot, and candida (6).
- May Help Treat Hair Dryness
Anecdotal evidence suggests that neem oil, like most oils, may help reduce hair dryness. It also may help treat hair that is brittle and rough.
The efficacy of neem oil in promoting hair health is yet to be studied in greater detail. However, using the oil seems to offer some benefit. In the following section, we look at how you can use the oil the right way to get the best results.
How Do You Use Neem Oil For Boosting Hair Health?
A few drops of neem oil diluted with another carrier oil (like that of coconut or jojoba) is ideal. Remember to conduct a patch test before using neem oil on your hair/scalp. Apply a small quantity of neem oil to the inner side of your forearm. If you experience any redness or rashes in the next 24 hours, discontinue use and visit a doctor.
You can massage the diluted neem oil on your scalp with your fingertips. You can run the oil from the roots to the tips and leave it on overnight. You may also wash it off within an hour of application. Mixing a few drops of neem oil with your shampoo and washing your hair can also help.
However, be aware that application of the oil for longer durations may irritate your scalp. Does this mean you cannot apply the oil to your scalp? Let us find out.
Can I Apply Neem Oil Directly To Skin/Scalp?
There is limited research here. Anecdotal evidence suggests that using neem oil directly (and without diluting) on the scalp for a longer duration may lead to irritation. Consult your doctor for more information.
Does Using Neem Oil For Hair Cause Side Effects?
There is limited research in this regard. Using neem oil diluted with a carrier oil is recommended. Ensure you do a patch test prior.
Oral consumption of neem oil for any purported hair benefits is not recommended (6).
The benefits of neem oil for hair are yet to be studied by the scientific community. While moderate use of the oil seems to be safe, excess use may cause scalp irritation. You may use neem oil diluted with a carrier oil, twice or thrice a week. Discontinue use and visit a doctor if you experience any adverse effects.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How often should one apply neem oil to hair and scalp?
Applying neem oil to one’s hair and scalp can be limited to twice or thrice a week. This could possibly help reduce the chances of irritation.
Does neem oil help reduce gray hair?
Research is limited in this regard.
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