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Taking Care Of Your Skin Problems With Neem

Jul 15, 2008
In India, the opposite of sugar- bitter- is prescribed to counteract excess sugar in the body. Neem is an herb of choice for skin diseases because of its bitter principles and has proven to be highly effective in treating disorders like psoriasis, acne, eczema, itching and dandruff. Neem has been used for treating all sorts of skin problems for thousands of years and is considered to be equal or even superior to aloe in it's properties. There are several skin conditions that can be treated with neem-

Vitiligo- The exact cause of vitiligo isn't known. Doctors and scientists have theories about what causes the disorder. It may be due to an immune system disorder. Heredity may be a factor because there's an increased incidence of vitiligo in some families. Some people have reported a single event, such as sunburn or emotional distress, to trigger the condition. However, none of these theories have been proved to be a definite cause of the disorder. Cortisteroid therapy is the most popular treatment for vitiligo, and may help return color to the skin. Given the immune stimulating properties of neem oil and its effects on other skin problems, it is quite possible that neem oil applied to the affected area in conjunction with oral doses of neem leaf or bark could aid in the reversal of the discoloration caused by vitiligo as well.

Psoriasis- Even though there is no known cure for psoriasis, neem can be effectively used to treat the symptoms of this disease. Taking neem leaf orally, along with topical treatment of neem extracts and neem seed oil, seem to be at least as effective as more well known treatments such as coal tar and cortisone applications. To treat the symptoms of psoriasis with neem, washing the skin with a neem soap (shampoo if the area is sensitive) to remove dead cells and to kill bacteria is a good first step. To soothe the skin you can add neem leaf extract to the tub before turning on the hot water and soak in the neem filled water. After patting dry, apply a neem-based cream or lotion to the troubled areas. To enhance the effectiveness, oral doses of neem leaf work internally to produce quicker results than topical creams alone.

Eczema- The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes which are characterized by several different symptoms. Again, cortisteroids are the usual treatment, and though they cannot cure eczema, they are highly effective in controlling or suppressing symptoms in most cases. Neem can also be used as a natural alternative, or in in conjunction with other treatments. To relieve the intense itching and reddening of eczema, wash the affected skin with a neem soap or a shampoo to gently cleanse and kill the infectious bacteria. For a general therapeutic soak, add commercial bath salts and neem leaf or extracts to the bath water. For specific areas of the body, wash with neem soap or shampoo, then apply a neem-based cream to the area. For difficult cases, take neem leaf orally until the symptoms disappear.

Wrinkles- Wrinkling in skin is caused by habitual facial expressions, aging, sun damage, smoking, poor hydration, and various other factors. Treatments and products (including anti-aging creams) promising to reduce, remove, or prevent age-related wrinkles are big business in many industrialized countries. Despite great demand, most such products and treatments have not been proven to give lasting or major positive effects. Surgical proceedures such as stretching the skin via a face lift will remove some wrinkles. Though not a cure, creams or lotions containing neem oil can be used to help prevent wrinkles by providing a natural skin protectant and moisturizer to the skin. Antibacterial compounds in neem protect the skin while immune stimulating compounds help deeper layers of the skin fight any pathogens below the surface. These neem compounds help healthy skin retain its suppleness. To prevent and treat wrinkles after washing and drying the skin, rub a few drops of neem based cream on areas that are particularly prone to drying and wrinkles. To supplement the beneficial effects of neem oil, apply a face pack made from neem bark and leaves. As the face pack dries, the soothing compounds of neem are absorbed into the skin. This helps to reduce wrinkles and will make the skin feel smoother and appear younger. It is an astringent mixture that tightens the skin and is particularly useful for hypersensitive people.

Acne- This is a skin disease caused by changes in the pilosebaceous units (skin structures consisting of a hair follicle and its associated sebaceous gland). Severe acne is inflammatory, but acne can also manifest in non-inflammatory forms. There are many products available for the treatment of acne, many of which are without any scientifically-proven effects. Generally speaking, many treatments that promise big improvements within two weeks are likely to be largely disappointing. Neem has proven to be an effective treatment for acne, due in part to it's highly antibacterial properties. To help prevent and heal acne, first wash with neem soap, then use a neem face pack to soothe and tighten the skin. Finally, apply a neem-based lotion or cream to moisturize and condition the skin. Neem leaf taken internally daily counteracts excess sugar in the body and helps reduce acne.

Dry Skin- Fortunately, most dry skin results from environmental factors that can be wholly or partially controlled. These include exposure to hot or cold weather with low humidity levels, long-term use of air conditioning or central heating, and excessive bathing. Chronic or severe dry skin problems may require a dermatologist's evaluation. But first you can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers, bathing less and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. To treat dry skin using neem, wash with neem soap, then apply a neem lotion as a moisturizer. For severe dry skin, after washing, apply neem cream and re-apply several times daily until the skin has recovered from its natural imbalance.

Dandruff- There have been many strategies for the control of dandruff. Simply increasing shampooing will remove flakes. However, elimination of the fungus that causes the flaking in the first place results in dramatic improvement. Regular shampooing with an anti-fungal product can reduce recurrence. There are several common anti-dandruff shampoos available with different active ingredients. Zinc pyrithione, probably the most popular, is the active ingredient in Head & Shoulders, Johnson and Johnson ZP-11, Clinic All Clear, Pantene Pro V, and Sikkai Powder. Ketoconazole is found in Nizoral, and Selenium sulfide in Selsun Blue. As with other forms of dermatitis, neem is proving to be very effective for controlling dandfuff as well. To treat dandruff with neem, apply a neem-based cream to the scalp shortly before bathing. This will loosen the scaly flakes and soften the scalp. Using a neem shampoo, usually with extract of neem leaf, will remove the loosened flakes and kill any pathogen that may attack the scalp. After the bath, apply a very small amount of neem cream to the scalp and towel dry the hair to remove any excess. Taking neem leaf orally after an especially fatty or sugary meal will also help balance the body, which can help prevent dandruff.

Itchy Scalp- An itchy scalp can be caused by a number of things, from allergies and dandruff to mites. Here again, the more popular treatments contain Zinc pyrithione, Ketoconazole and Selenium sulfide (found in anti-dandruff shampoos). To help with the itching using neem, wash the scalp with a neem shampoo and apply a small amount of neem lotion to the scalp afterwards.

Neem has many uses, and although it is one of the most ancient and most widely used herbs on earth, intense scientific investigations of the properties of neem are only now being undertaken. These studies are quickly verifying the efficacy of its traditional uses and are finding even more uses for neem. This illustrates that traditional wisdom can guide the efforts of modern science in discovering remedies for human ailments.
About the Author
Manny Leger is your average health nut, and loves showing others how to live better lives through diet and exercise. He also offers neem based personal care products at his family owned and run web site, www.NeemKing.org
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