4. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in the seeds of a neem tree. Yellow in color and said to smell of garlic, it doesn’t sound like anything you’d particularly want to slather yourself in. However, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2000 years and is commonly used today in natural skin care products, pesticides, and even pet shampoo. Neem oil contains a compound called azadrachtin which is the most active component, and the one responsible for repelling insects. It’s this compound that also gives the oil such a wide range of capabilities.
Neem oil can quickly penetrate outer layers of the skin, and is extremely effective in healing cracked or dry skin. Rich in triglycerides, vitamin E, calcium and essential fatty acids, it stimulates the production of collagen which helps smooth wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and other signs of aging. And unlike petroleum-based moisturizers, it restores the skins natural elasticity. Neem oil is also a natural remedy for other skin conditions like eczema because the presence of the anti-inflammation compounds nimbidin and nimbin, help to relieve redness and swelling.
A little-known compound called quercetin is found in neem oil, which supports the body’s natural ability to respond to inflammation by inhibiting the release of histamines and other irritants. This makes it a prime essential oil for use against acne and other skin inflammations. Neem oil is antibacterial and non-comedogenic, which means that using it on your skin won’t block or clog the pores. Applying it to the skin rids the surface of all dirt and bacteria, while providing a soothing, relieving effect. It’s also said to lighten scars and heal infections caused by types of fungi or parasite.
When purchasing neem oil, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. A lot of commercial beauty products these days will contain neem oil, but it can be a refined product with additional chemicals which lessen the positive effects. And though it’s a pesticide, rest assured it’s safe to use on humans, animals, birds and earthworms.