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Neem, also known as Indian lilac, has been used in Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, and Unani medicines since ancient times. Scientifically called Azadirachta indica, neem is loaded with medicinal properties and all parts of the neem tree including leaves, flowers, fruits, bark, seeds and roots are used for the treatment of various diseases  . This article will explain the benefits of neem oil for eczema.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is the oil extracted from the neem seeds. The oil is used in a variety of beauty products like hair products, cosmetics, skin creams and body lotions. Neem oil has a bitter taste and a harsh odour, but it's high in fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, triglycerides, limonoids, and calcium.
All these nutrients help in protecting the skin from environmental damage and fight free radical damage in the skin  . As a result, cold-pressed neem oil is widely used to treat eczema and other skin ailments such as dry skin, wrinkles, acne, warts and moles, psoriasis, etc  .
Benefits Of Neem Oil For Eczema
Eczema is a common skin condition that causes inflamed, red, itchy, scaly and dry skin. Genetic and environmental factors are believed to cause eczema. Eczema can make a person uncomfortable as the itchiness is unbearable and doing so will make the condition worse. Let's discuss why neem oil is beneficial in the treatment of eczema.
1. Has antibacterial properties
Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is the most common bacteria that cause eczema and neem oil extract is very useful in treating this bacterial skin infection because it possesses antibacterial and antiseptic properties  . A lot of eczema sufferers are prone to other skin infections as well due to the cracked and dull skin. Applying neem oil will help restore skin health and act as a protective barrier in preventing further skin infection.
2. Hydrates the skin
The essential fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids)  and vitamin E in neem oil keep the skin moisturised and hydrated in eczema-prone areas. The oil penetrates deep into the skin layers and aid in healing small cracks caused by severe dryness. The fatty acids and vitamin E are easily absorbed into the skin without leaving the skin oily. Once absorbed, they lock in the skin moisture, soothe cracked dry and irritated skin and protect the skin.
3. Reduces inflammation
Neem oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as nimbin and nimbidin that help in reducing swelling and redness. Quercetin, a compound present in neem leaf oil, also supports the body in treating inflammation which is a common symptom of eczema  .
4. Relieves pain
Neem oil is analgesic in nature, which means it is a natural pain killer. When applied on the dry skin, it relieves pain caused by swelling, itching and cracked skin. According to a study, neem oil can provide significant pain relief after 3-4 days of application  .
5. Has antihistamine properties
Environmental factors like pollen, allergens, irritants and hot and cold temperatures can trigger the onset of eczema. Neem oil is known to have antihistamine properties which stop the allergic reactions in the body.
How To Use Neem Oil For Eczema
Always purchase organic, 100% pure cold-pressed neem oil. Pure neem oil will be yellowish in colour and has mustard, garlic or sulfur-like odour. Before applying neem oil on the affected dry skin, do a patch test on your arm. Within 24 hours if you don't have any kind of side effects such as redness or swelling, then it's safe to use it on eczema infected skin.
Method of use:
- Always mix neem oil with equal parts of a carrier oil like coconut, grapeseed or jojoba oil.
- Take a cotton ball and soak it into the oil. Lightly dab the affected area with it.
- Leave it on overnight before washing it off.
- Use it daily for best results.
If eczema is spread throughout the body, you can add a few drops of neem oil to your bath water.
How To Make Cold-infused Neem Oil At Home
- Fill half of a clean jar with neem seeds or leaves and pour coconut oil over the top to fill the remaining half of the jar.
- Stir the mixture gently with a spoon to coat the leaves and seeds with oil.
- Place a wax paper on top of the jar and then cover it with a lid.
- Store it in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks.
- After 6 weeks, strain the leaves and seeds from the oil using a cheesecloth.
- Pour the oil in another clean jar and use it.
Risks And Side Effects Of Using Neem Oil For Eczema
Check with your doctor before applying neem oil as it may have unknown interactions and side effects. Also, based on the person's age, health and other conditions, the appropriate dosage of neem oil is required.
-  Subapriya, R., & Nagini, S. (2005). Medicinal properties of neem leaves: a review.Current Medicinal Chemistry-Anti-Cancer Agents,5(2), 149-156.
-  Alzohairy M. A. (2016). Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2016, 7382506.
-  Tabassum, N., & Hamdani, M. (2014). Plants used to treat skin diseases.Pharmacognosy reviews,8(15), 52-60.
-  Quelemes, P. V., Perfeito, M. L., Guimarães, M. A., dos Santos, R. C., Lima, D. F., Nascimento, C., ... & de Moraes, J. (2015). Effect of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) leaf extract on resistant Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and Schistosoma mansoni worms.Journal of ethnopharmacology,175, 287-294.
-  Kaushik, N., & Vir, S. (2000). Variations in fatty acid composition of neem seeds collected from the Rajasthan state of India.
-  Okpanyi, S. N., & Ezeukwu, G. C. (1981). Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities of Azadirachta indica.Planta medica,41(01), 34-39.
-  Biswas, K., Chattopadhyay, I., Banerjee, R. K., & Bandyopadhyay, U. (2002). Biological activities and medicinal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica).CURRENT SCIENCE-BANGALORE-,82(11), 1336-1345.