Melissa Juried Kriebel
The winter season requires one to take extra care of their skin as the rise in pollution and dryness leads to a slew of skin conditions among individuals. And, neem oil is one such natural ingredient that can help keep skin problems in winter at bay. Extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, this oil is rich in fatty acids, which promote healthy skin. The leaves of the neem tree also contain compounds like flavonoids and polyphenols that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. There are numerous benefits of applying neem oil to your skin.
According to Medical News Today, some of these health benefits include:
Anti-Ageing Effects: A 2017 study revealed that topical neem extract is effective in treating wrinkles, water loss in the skin, skin redness and skin thickening. The extract also boosted levels of a collagen-producing enzyme called procollagen and a protein called elastin. Collagen gives the skin structure and makes it look plump and full. Elastin, on the other hand, helps retain the skin’s shape and doesn’t let the skin loosen.
Fights Skin Infections: A 2019 study suggested that the antibacterial properties of cosmetic products containing neem compounds can help in reducing and preventing the growth of several strains of bacteria. This, in turn, helps in fighting skin infections and keeping the skin healthy.
Promotes Wound Healing: Three different studies carried out in 2010, 2013 and 2014 showed that neem oil not only helps in faster wound healing but also helps reduce skin toxicity caused by radiation therapy. The 2014 study involved 28 human participants who were receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, neem oil is also used to treat blackheads, discolouration, acne and dry skin. While it is safe for most, it may cause allergic reactions like contact dermatitis in some. Moreover, neem oil is to be used only externally.
Ingesting large amounts of neem oil can cause adverse effects, mainly in children. Vomiting, liver damage, metabolic acidosis and encephalopathy are some side effects of neem oil ingestion. Organic, cold-pressed neem oil is the most recommended, and it can be identified with a cloudy, yellow-brown colour and a strong odour.
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