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Neem Oil: Why We Won’t Use It

Here at Little Love Organics, we take pride in using clean, safe, and healthy ingredients to soothe your little ones. We leave out harsh or potentially toxic and hazardous materials from all of our products.

 

What is Neem Oil?

Neem oil is from the seeds of the Neem Tree. Originally it was found in India, though it has been spread around the world. Traditionally used in homeopathic Eastern medicine, neem oil poses a risk to children if ingested. Although, of course, your little ones won’t be snacking on their sensitive skin soother or their diaper balm, (we hope!) we don’t want to take any risks, so we make sure that your baby’s eczema is not treated by neem oil.

 

What is Neem Oil Used For?

Neem Oil, also called Margosa Oil, has been used for time immemorial in traditional Indian and South Eastern medicine. Today, it is used in a range of products, from shampoo to lotions to pesticides. Many lotions (which often claim to treat eczema) and cosmetics also use neem oil, but like our parents always told us: better safe than sorry! If the combination of uses (shampoos and pesticides!) sound concerning to you, it does to us too. In fact we describe in depth on our Common Questions and Answers about Eczema in Babies and Children,children and infants have a higher rate of absorption of skin products when compared to adults because of a less developed epidermal layer (Duan et. al.), putting them at greater risk for toxins found in a variety of products. Though there are various medicinal qualities (it’s antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory), they are primarily restricted to adult usage. Ingestion by children can be very dangerous.

 

Is neem oil toxic?

In both children and in adults, neem oil can cause vomiting, drowsiness, seizures, coma and death, if used unsafely (Bhaskar et. al.). If adults consume trace amounts of neem oil, they are likely going to be unaffected, but as you can imagine, small amounts of toxins go a long way when they’re ingested by children. Therefore, neem oil causes much more liver damage and encephalopathy (damage to the brain) in children than it does in adults. Some of the further readings at the end of this article include studies of damage done to children by over-ingesting neem oil.

 

What products do you use instead?

Instead of using neem oil for eczema treatment, we use a variety of other products. We have a full list of ingredients outlined here! Through a combination of baby safe oils, plants, and extracts, rest assured that your toddler’s sensitive skin is in good hands.

 

Sources & Further Reading

Bhaskar, M.V, et al. "MR Imaging Findings of Neem Oil Poisoning." American Journal of Neuroradiology, vol. 31 (7), no. E60 - E 61, Aug. 2010, doi:.org/10.3174/ajnr.A2146.

Duan, Yuanyuan, et al. “A Randomized Pilot Clinical Assessment of Three Skincare Regimens On Skin Conditions In Infants.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, vol. 12, Taylor & Francis Ltd., Jan. 2019, pp. 895–909, doi:10.2147/CCID.S204216.

Ernst, Edzard. “Serious Adverse Effects of Unconventional Therapies for Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Recent Evidence.” European Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 162, no. 2, Springer-Verlag, Feb. 2003, pp. 72–80, doi:10.1007/s00431-002-1113-7.

Kumar, Suresh, and Neeraj Kumar. “Neem Oil Poisoning as a Cause of Toxic Encephalopathy in an Infant.” The Indian Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 81, no. 9, Springer India, Sept. 2014, pp. 955–955, doi:10.1007/s12098-013-1327-x.

Mishra, Ajay, et al. “Neem Oil Poisoning: Case Report of an Adult with Toxic Encephalopathy.” Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine: Peer-Reviewed, Official Publication of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, vol. 17, no. 5, Sept. 2013, pp. 321–22, doi:10.4103/0972-5229.120330.

Sundaravalli, N., et al. “Neem Oil Poisoning.” The Indian Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 49, no. 3, Springer India, May 1982, pp. 357–59, doi:10.1007/BF02834422.