Neem Oil For Dandruff: 7 Ways It Works

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Sindhu Koganti

Have you been using various anti-dandruff shampoos with no results? Most commercial shampoos are replete with chemicals and cause more harm than good. What you probably need is a natural treatment option. This is where neem oil comes into the picture. The oil is known for its potent therapeutic properties. It helps treat dandruff and prevents its recurrence. It also nourishes and moisturizes your locks. Here, we discuss the mechanism of neem oil in dandruff treatment and the various ways you can use it.

How Is Neem Oil Derived?

Neem oil is derived from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree (Azadirachtaindica) that is native to the Indian subcontinent. The oil has been used in traditional Indian medicine for treating many skin and hair ailments. It works as a natural cure for several conditions thanks to its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

Neem oil can nourish your hair and help treat dandruff, itchiness, and scalp inflammation. We will understand this mechanism in the following section.

How Does Neem Oil Help Treat Dandruff?

Neem oil’s antifungal properties can help treat dandruff (1). It is effective against dandruff-causing fungi, including Candida and Malassezia. Its active constituent is nimbidin that has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Nimbidin helps suppress scalp inflammation and treats psoriasis, dermatitis, and other forms of scalp irritation (2). Many anti-dandruff shampoos come with neem oil formulations.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests that regular use of neem oil can also help maintain the scalp pH levels. This, in turn, may boost scalp health and prevent dandruff.

We will now discuss how you can use neem oil for dandruff treatment.

How To Use Neem Oil For Dandruff Treatment

1. Neem Oil And Apple Cider Vinegar

The use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in dandruff treatment warrants more research. But anecdotal evidence suggests that ACV may balance scalp pH and reduce dry scalp conditions. It has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 (similar to that of the scalp). The vinegar is also believed to help fight bacterial infections that may otherwise lead to scalp issues.

 You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of neem oil
  • 2 tablespoons of ACV


  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 2 tablespoons of ACV.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage well.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  5. Wash with a mild shampoo.

2. DIY Neem Oil Shampoo

A neem oil shampoo can offer a convenient way to treat dandruff. Preparing it is easy.

You Will Need

  • ½ teaspoon of neem oil
  • A regular shampoo


  1. Add the neem oil to your regular shampoo bottle.
  2. Gently shake the bottle.
  3. Use it as usual by massaging it into a lather.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  5. Apply Use this shampoo once weekly for best results.

3. Neem Oil And Olive Oil

You can use olive oil to dilute the neem oil and make it suitable for those with a sensitive scalp. Olive oil works as a natural conditioner. It moisturizes dry scalp and may help with dandruff treatment (3). It is also said to possess antifungal properties that may help treat dry scalp and itchiness.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of neem oil


  1. Mix the olive and neem oils.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage for 10 minutes.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on your scalp for 20 minutes.
  5. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

4. Mix Of Herbs With Neem Oil

Combine the neem oil with the goodness of bhringaraj, shikakai, and fenugreek powder. These ingredients possess antifungal and antibacterial properties and may help treat dandruff (4), (5), (6).

You Will Need

  • A few drops of neem oil
  • A few basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of bhringraj powder
  • 1 teaspoon of shikakai powder
  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a clean bowl.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and hair.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on your scalp for 30 minutes.
  5. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

5. Neem Oil With Lemon Peel

Lemon peel is known for its antifungal properties and helps prevent scalp infections (7). It may treat dandruff when used with neem oil.

You Will Need

  • A few drops of neem oil
  • 1 lemon peel


  1. Mix the neem oil and lemon peel in a clean bowl. You should get a non-sticky solution.
  2. Apply this mixture to your hair and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse with lukewarm water.

6. Neem Oil And Yogurt

Yogurt contains Lactobacillus paracasei, bacteria that can help treat dandruff (8). These bacteria help restore the scalp’s natural microbiome balance. Yogurt also cools an itchy scalp and nourishes your hair.

You Will Need

  • Few drops of neem oil
  • 1 cup of yogurt cup of curd


  1. Mix the neem oil and yogurt.
  2. Apply the paste to your scalp and hair.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on the scalp for 30 minutes.
  5. Wash with a mild shampoo.

7. Neem Oil With Carrier Oil

Concentrated neem oil can be tough on your scalp. Hence, always dilute it with a carrier oil like that of jojoba or coconut.

You Will Need

  • A few drops of neem oil
  • 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil


  1. Mix both the oils and apply the mixture to your scalp.
  2. Massage thoroughly.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap.
  4. Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse with a mild shampoo.

Can I Apply Neem Oil Directly To Hair?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that applying neem oil directly (without diluting) to the scalp may cause scalp irritation.


Apart from these simple ways, you can take the following steps to prevent dandruff using neem oil.

Tips For Using Neem Oil

  • Store neem oil in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight.
  • Do not refrigerate neem oil.
  • Do not place neem oil near boiling water.
  • Some people are sensitive to neem oil. Hence, do a patch test before applying it to your scalp.


The ingredients in neem oil may help treat dandruff. While moderate use is safe, excess use of the oil (or using it undiluted) may cause scalp irritation. More studies are warranted to further understand the benefits of neem oil in treating dandruff. You may start using the oil with a carrier oil twice or thrice a week. Do consult your doctor should you experience any undesirable effects.


Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

    1. Exploration of Nutraceutical Potential of Herbal Oil Formulated from Parasitic Plant
    2. Nimbidin suppresses functions of macrophages and neutrophils: relevance to its anti-inflammatory mechanisms
    3. Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine
    4. Ethnopharmacological Significance of Ecliptaalba(L.) Hassk. (Asteraceae)
    5. Stability and solubility improvement of Sompoi (Acacia concinnaLinn.) pod extract by topical microemulsion
    6. Fenugreek Leaf Extract and Its Gel Formulation Show Activity Against Malassezia furfur
    7. Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulata L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils
    8. The positive benefit of Lactobacillus paracasei NCC2461 ST11 in healthy volunteers with moderate to severe dandruff
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Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.