Dandruff is the second most common hair issue across the globe. It is a certain scalp condition, which is characterized by dryness, itchiness, loose white flakes, etc. From an unbalanced diet to a fungal infection, the reasons behind dandruff are many and so as its so-called ‘foolproof solutions’. While tons of dandruff-busting products are already flooding the market, it is always good to go natural for the health of the scalp as well as the hair. Neem is one such natural cure that can be used in a variety of ways to eliminate dandruff successfully. Know everything about the use of neem for dandruff here.
What is Neem?
Neem (Azadirachta indica), also known as Indian lilac or Dogon Yaro, is an incredibly beneficial tree with great importance in Ayurveda. Though native to the Indian subcontinent, neem grows in all tropical and sub-tropical regions (Africa, the Middle East, and Central America) across the world these days. Its wonderful medicinal properties make life better by improving health, skin, and hair both internally and externally. Almost every part of the large evergreen neem tree, including its leaves, bark, fruits, seeds, twig, and roots, is useful in one or another way (1). The fabulous healing potential of the herb is mostly attributed to its strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic effects. Hence, it has been widely used in traditional medicine since ancient times (2). Neem oil, which is extracted as a by-product from the fruits and seeds of neem through pressing, is also known to be a fantastic cure for a variety of skin and hair conditions.
In Sanskrit, neem tree is called ‘arishtha’ or ‘reliever of sickness’ for its unparalleled medicinal properties. It is known to contain more than 100 pharmacologically active substances (3). Neem has also been termed as ‘sarva roga nivarini’ in Vedas, which means ‘a tree that prevents all ailments’.
How Does Neem Benefit Hair?
Regular use of neem is extremely beneficial for our hair. There are several ways in which the herb helps us keep our locks healthy. Check them out below:
- The anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal qualities of neem play an important role in improving as well as maintaining the health of the scalp. It helps the scalp retain the necessary moisture, which prevents issues like dryness, itchiness, flakes, dandruff, etc.
- Neem not only keeps the scalp healthy and hydrated but also boosts the flow of blood in it. This reduces hair fall and increases the rate of hair growth too.
- If your hair is dry and frizzy, the antioxidant-rich neem is the right solution for you. It nourishes the scalp deeply, leaves hair well-conditioned, and eliminates frizz for a soft, smooth, and sleek appearance.
- Being very high in antioxidants, neem may avert the loss of hair in women due to low antioxidant levels. It has also been found to promote hair regrowth in women with pattern baldness. (4)
- The insecticidal properties of neem oil help in keeping head lice at bay by disrupting their feeding and reproduction. (5)
Why Use Neem For Dandruff?
Neem helps us get rid of dandruff, which, if left untreated, may lead to severe hair loss (6). According to experts, the most common cause of dandruff is Malassezia fungus and neem addresses it naturally with its powerful antifungal properties (7). In fact, both fresh and dried leaves of the tree have the active ingredient nimbidin, which clarifies the scalp and rids it of itchy and flaky dandruff by targeting its root causes. If dandruff results from underlying inflammation (dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.), the herb alleviates the symptoms like redness and irritation, thereby treating the issue effectively (8).
Basic Ways to Use Neem for Dandruff
The best and the easiest way to use neem for dandruff is chewing a few fresh, tender baby leaves every morning on an empty stomach. But it tastes horrible and hence, you may want to try other options. So, here are some basic ways to use neem for removing dandruff:
1. Neem Rinse
Take water in a large pan and add a handful of fresh neem leaves to it. Start boiling the mixture. Once the infusion turns greenish in color, remove the pan from the heat, discard the leaves, and allow the mixture to cool down. Use it as a final rinse for your hair after shampooing thoroughly. You may also soak neem leaves in hot water overnight and rinse your hair with the strained liquid in the morning.
2. Neem Paste
Make a smooth and fine paste by grinding some fresh neem leaves with a splash of hot water. Apply it to your scalp as well as hair. Make sure that each of your hair strands is covered with it from the root to the tip. Wait for 2 hours and then, rinse off with a mild shampoo.
3. Neem Powder
Dry two handfuls of fresh neem leave under the sun for 2-3 days. Crush the dried leaves into a fine powder and make a paste out of it by adding some lukewarm water. Apply it thoroughly to your scalp and hair, give it a standing time of 1 hour and then, wash it off with a gentle shampoo.
Homemade Neem Oil for Dandruff
The homemade neem oil can be an excellent solution for your dandruff problem. It can be prepared at home very easily and affordably. Moreover, you can use it in several ways to keep dandruff away. Here are the details:
Preparation of Oil:
- Pour 2 cups of pure coconut oil into a pan and add a handful of fresh neem leaves to it.
- Bring the entire thing to a boil and.
- Squeeze the juice of a lemon into it.
- Also, add 1 tablespoon of castor oil.
- Boil for 5 more minutes.
- Strain the liquid. Voila!
Methods of Use:
Following are three different methods of application you can try to eliminate dandruff:
- Warm up the oil a little and massage it into your scalp for 15-20 minutes. Wash your hair after an hour with tepid water. Practice it at least twice every week.
- Blend 1 tablespoon of pure olive oil with 1 tablespoon of neem oil and apply all over your scalp. Rinse off with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.
- Prepare a mixture by mixing neem oil, tea tree essential oil, and rosemary essential oil in equal quantities. Apply it to your scalp, and shampoo after 1-2 hours.
Commercial neem oil with synthetic fragrances should be avoided at all costs. If you still buy it from the market, opt for the cold-pressed, unrefined version that is yellowish-brown in color and turns solid during colder months.
DIY Neem Packs and Masks for Dandruff
Now, here are some simple neem hair packs and masks that will not only give you relief from dandruff but also make your hair smooth and lustrous:
1. Neem and Honey Pack
Boil some fresh neem leaves, grind them into a fine paste, and add some pure raw honey to it. Apply the paste all over your scalp and hair.
2. Neem and Fenugreek Mask
Soak some fenugreek seeds overnight. Add some fresh neem leaves to them and make a smooth paste. Apply it to your scalp and let it sit for an hour. You can also add some curd to this mask.
3. Neem and Aloe Vera Mask
Soften a handful of neem leaves by soaking them in water for 10 minutes. Make a paste and add fresh aloe vera gel to it. Your mask is ready.
4. Neem and Multani Mitti Pack
Grind some neem leaves by adding a little water to them. Add Multani mitti and wait until it becomes soft. Mix them to form a smooth paste. Apply the hair pack twice every week.
Skin Benefits of Neem
Apart from hair, the benefits of neem for skin are also manifold. Here is a quick glimpse of what the topical application of the herb does to our skin:
- High levels of antioxidants in neem keep the skin supple and youthful by delaying the appearance of signs of aging.
- Regular use of neem banishes all sorts of pigmentation and blemishes while bringing out the natural glow of the skin.
- The antibacterial properties of neem make it a surefire solution for busting acne and preventing further breakouts.
- It works as a natural cure for allergies, infections, and various skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc.
Health Benefits of Neem
Consumption of neem benefits our internal health, which is again reflected by our external appearance. Following are the goodness of neem for health:
- Neem has excellent antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. The bioactive compound nimbidin in it is highly effective against bacteria like S. mutans, E. faecalis, S. aureus, and many more. (9)
- Studies have revealed the hypoglycemic effects of neem, which may benefit diabetics by lowering blood sugar levels. It may also prevent the onset of diabetes and reduce the oxidative stress caused by it. (10)
- The herb aids in the treatments of ulcers and other gastric hyperacidity as nimbidin in it helps digestion by increasing the amount of gastric mucus in the body. (11)
- A Nigerian study concludes that the extract of neem leaf has potent antimalarial properties, which may help treat as well as prevent the disease successfully. (12)
- Neem is known to be one of the best natural blood purifiers. It detoxifies the body from within by cleansing the body thoroughly. It also enhances blood circulation throughout the body and regulates the levels of the hormones in it.
- It has been found that neem leaves lower cholesterol levels in the bloodstream significantly while keeping blood pressure under control. (13), (14)
- Being an anti-inflammatory as well as a pain-suppressing agent, neem may help relieve muscle aches and joint pains to a large extent.
- Neem not only prevents the proliferation of cancer but also destroys the carcinogenic cells. It also improves the immune response of the body by modulating the immune cells with a protein called glycoprotein. (15)
Side Effects of Neem
The topical application of neem is generally considered safe. However, too much consumption of neem may turn your immune system overactive, thus causing autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Hence, people with any kind of autoimmune disease should avoid this herb. Children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers should also skip it to avoid adverse effects.
Read Also – Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff & Oily Hair
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is native to the Indian subcontinent and has great importance in Ayurveda. It’s wonderful medicinal properties is mostly attributed to its strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic effects, which improve health, skin, and hair both internally and externally. Almost every part of the large evergreen neem tree, including its leaves, bark, fruits, seeds, twig, and roots, is useful in one or the other way. Regular use of neem keeps our locks healthy by keeping the scalp nourished, reducing hair fall, increasing hair growth, conditioning the hair, promoting hair regrowth, and killing lice. Neem is especially beneficial in treating dandruff by targeting its root causes. Using neem rinse, neem paste, and neem powder are some basic ways to eliminate dandruff. Homemade neem oil is another simple and friendly way to keep dandruff away. You can also use DIY neem packs and masks by combining the herb with ingredients like honey, fenugreek seeds, aloe vera gel, Multani mitti, etc. Apart from hair, the benefits of neem for skin and health are also manifold. However, children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and people with autoimmune diseases should skip its consumption to avoid adverse effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Can I Permanently Get Rid of Dandruff Naturally?
Keep your body as well as scalp well-moisturized. Wash your hair frequently to keep the scalp clean and buildup-free. Figure out the root cause of dandruff to treat it the right way. And, try home remedies like neem oil regularly.
Does Drinking Water Reduce Dandruff?
Drinking lots of water does not let the scalp become dry and damaged. This prevents issues like flaking, itching, irritation, etc., thereby leading to dandruff and scalp infections.
Can I Apply Neem Oil Overnight on Hair?
Leaving neem oil on your hair overnight may give you scalp irritation. Rather, dilute your neem oil with water, apply it to your scalp once every day, and wash it off after 1-2 hours.
Can I Leave Neem Oil on My Face Overnight?
The facial skin is very delicate and you should never leave neem oil on it overnight. Mixing neem oil with sweet almond oil in equal quantities and leaving it on the face for half an hour after a good massage is enough to get the desired results.
Is Milk Bad for Dandruff?
Full-fat milk and other dairy products are known to worsen dandruff. So, try to avoid these if you have a naturally flaky scalp.
- “Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to Contemporary Medicinal Uses to Humankind“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Neem“, Encyclopedia.com
- “Hair Loss in Women: Our Guide to Causes & Natural Treatments“, MindBodyGreen.com
- “Efficacy of a Single Treatment of Head Lice with a Neem Seed Extract: An In Vivo and In Vitro Study on Nits and Motile Stages“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Dandruff: The Most Commercially Exploited Skin Disease“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Antibacterial Effect of Azadirachta indica (Neem) or Curcuma longa (Turmeric) against Enterococcus faecalis Compared with That of 5% Sodium Hypochlorite or 2% Chlorhexidine In Vitro“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Nimbidin Suppresses Functions of Macrophages and Neutrophils: Relevance to Its Antiinflammatory Mechanisms“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Antimicrobial Activity of Azadirachta indica, Mimusops elengi, Tinospora cardifolia, Ocimum sanctum, and 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate on Common Endodontic Pathogens: An In Vitro Study“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “A Study of Hypoglycaemic Effects of Azadirachta indica (Neem) in Normal and Alloxan Diabetic Rabbits“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “The Use of Neem for Controlling Gastric Hyperacidity and Ulcer“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “An Antimalarial Neem Leaf Extract has Both Schizonticidal and Gametocytocidal activities“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Anti-Cholesterolaemic Activity of a Fraction of Azadirachta indica Leaf Extract on Rats“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Pharmacological Effects of Azadirachta indica (Neem) Leaf Extract on the ECG and Blood Pressure of Rat“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Neem Components as Potential Agents for Cancer Prevention and Treatment“, NCBI.nlm.nih.gov