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Beauty's Secret Ingredient: Neem

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Ever turn a product around to read the back label and stumble upon an ingredient you've never heard of? We've all been there. Luckily our newest resident beauty guru has that part covered for us all. Kristyana Pham, founder & director of natural beauty products firm, kindsight, is your go-to gal for the scoop behind what goes into all things skincare and makeup. So we decided to pick her brain and really learn about an ingredient we stubled upon: Neem. Read on to learn about this super plant and get schooled on all the facts by Pham.

So Kristyana, what exactly is Neem?
Neem, in how many ways do I love thee? Many! Neem is a tree found mainly in India and a lovely cousin of mahogany. Since the beginning of time, its seed, bark and leaves have been used for a wide range of medicinal uses. Although it is well known in certain parts of the world, it is still a relatively unknown here in the US. The beauty of this super power herb is that it has so many features and benefits, that it is challenging to pinpoint the main ones. So, we'll just go over the topical uses here.

Sounds like a super ingredient. What makes Neem great for a beauty regimen?

Hands down, it is one of the best things you can put on your skin. Got red, itchy, flaky skin? Neem is the answer for any troublesome skin condition, including acne. It is also known to be an astringent, thus clearing and tightening up the pores. (Side tip: Neem is known to be a safe and effective insect repellent. No more mosquito bites!)

Amazing. So Neem is pretty universal then. Can it be used for hair care as well?

Neem is absolutely universal. Beyond skin care and body care, it can also be used to treat dandruff. And since it is an insect repellent, Neem can also get rid of lice. Hair care products with Neem are great natural alternatives to the conventional anti-dandruff shampoos that can be chock-full of chemically laden ingredients. Furthermore, Neem has been used for centuries for oral care. As an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial, it is great for the teeth and gums and can reduce plaque and gingivitis.

Wow, this stuff must really work! How often should we use Neem?  What products do you recommend for healthy concentrations of Neem?

You can use Neem for general maintenance or as a treatment on an as-needed basis.  Products from TheraNeem, Alaffia, and Himalaya Herbal Healthcare all contain therapeutic doses of Neem. For hair, I recommend TheraNeem Gentle Therape Shampoo and Conditioner.  The formula helps to enhance and support the health and vitality of the hair and scalp, infused with organic Neem oil & Neem leaf extract, chamomile, arnica, pine, basil and cherry bark. TheraNeem and Alaffia both carry Neem oil as well.

Any potential side effects?

There are no known side effects when used on the skin. Of course, as with anything else, test it on your hand if you have any concerns or are prone to sensitivity.

Tips of tricks to use Neem effectively?

I associate Neem with the color red. Any time I see pink inflammation, red dots or marks on my skin, I just Neem it. Warning: Straight Neem oil smells like a combination of peanut butter and garlic. So, unless your significant other has low olfactory function, you may want to use it at night when you're by your lonesome.

LOL gotcha. Thanks Pham! Look out for more beauty ingredient 101 sit-downs with Kristyana coming soon!

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