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Neem oil soap recipe: a Natural Soap for Eczema

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A neem oil soap recipe that combats dryness, itchiness, and inflammation making it the perfect soap for eczema. Makes six bars of all-natural soap

When people ask which soap I’d recommend for eczema my first advice is always the same — use less soap. It can strip your skin of natural oils that help flare-ups to heal and can contribute to dryness, redness, and further skin issues. We all need to use soap at some time though. That’s why my second bit of advice is to choose a soap that’s gentle, unscented, and most of all leaves your skin feeling nourished. This soap recipe will do just that.

It’s very low on stripping oils and creates a bar of soap that is more conditioning than it is cleansing. It also includes a superfat of nourishing avocado oil and neem oil. Both are rich oils that can leave your skin feeling soft and conditioned, but neem is special in that it’s used specifically as a treatment for eczema.

A neem oil soap recipe that combats dryness, itchiness, and inflammation making it the perfect soap for eczema. Makes six bars of all natural soap. #eczema #soaprecipe #soapmaking #eczemasoap #handmadesoap
A simple and rich soap perfect for hydrating and nourishing skin

This rich oil is effective in soothing the symptoms of eczema which is why I use it in this recipe for Healing Balm for Eczema & Psoriasis. When used as the superfatting oil in soap, it helps leave a protective barrier on your skin. Its natural compounds can also help treat the irritation and dryness caused by eczema.

What is Neem oil?

Little known in the west, neem oil is used in India as a remedy for many health issues. It’s extracted from the neem tree which grows throughout the Indian sub-continent as a native species. Since being discovered by science, neem trees are now grown in other parts of Asia, Australia, and Africa.

Neem trees, Azadirachta indica, have large canopies and are drought resistant which is one reason that they’re grown. Shade is in high demand in arid climates. They’re very useful in other ways though, and people around the world have used neem for various reasons including as a natural herbicide, to treating health issues. Their long pinnate leaves are used neat on the skin to treat eczema and psoriasis among other things. However, their olive-like fruit is where the oil comes from. It’s thick and earthy colored and has a sharp and distinctive scent.

Neem oil has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat skin complaints, internal health issues, dental care, and even as an insecticide. The last use makes neem oil an important natural gardening product.

Neem oil tends to come as a solid oil that needs melting. It can also come in a liquid form.

How Neem oil helps Eczema

Oils extracted from both the leaves and the seeds of the neem tree help soothe the symptoms of eczema. They’re rich in compounds such as Nimbidin, Nimbin, and Quercetin that work as natural anti-inflammatories and anti-histamines. This helps reduce redness, swelling, and itching.

Often presented as a thick green or brown oil, neem is also great for moisturizing. When used as part of a skincare recipe its lipids help tone and lock moisture into dry skin. You should only use a small amount of neem in a recipe though — this neem oil soap recipe contains just 5% neem. Larger percentages can not only smell unpleasant but can cause skin irritation in some people. The exact opposite of what you want in soap for eczema.

Neem oil soap lather

Neem Oil Soap Recipe

This neem oil soap recipe makes about six bars. Although neem is the most important oil in the recipe, the others are also there to help protect and nourish the skin. It has a relatively low cleansing power, meaning that it won’t strip your skin like others. It will also have a creamy lather that feels slick and smooth. No essential oil is used in this recipe as it can contribute to skin irritation in sensitive people. Soap information: 33% lye-concentration, 5% superfat

Lye solution
56g (1.96 oz) Sodium hydroxide (also called lye or NaOH)
113g (3.98 oz) Distilled water

Solid oils
89g (3.14 oz) Coconut oil (refined)
61g (2.14 oz) Shea butter

Liquid oils
194g (6.86 oz) Olive oil (pomace)
20g (0.71 oz) Castor oil

Oils to add after Trace
20g (0.71 oz) Neem oil
20g (0.71 oz) Avocado oil

Special Equipment needed

The soap lather will leave a fine layer of creamy moisture on your skin

Natural Soap Making for Beginners

If you’re new to making handmade soap, you might also want to check out my four-part series on natural soap making. It gives a good introduction on what to expect from ingredients, equipment, recipes, and how to combine everything together to make soap. Also, I recommend reading this recipe all the way through before attempting to make it. There are a lot of steps and things to prepare for making this neem oil soap recipe.

1. Ingredients
2. Equipment & Safety
3. Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own
4. The Soap Making Process: Make, Mold, and Cure

Neem oil soap for eczema
Neem oil soap for eczema

1. Preparing the lye solution

The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare your workspace and organize your ingredients. Everything should be pre-measured and your should be prepared to safely make soap. That means wearing close-toed shoes, long sleeves, rubber gloves, and eye protection.

The water should be measured into a heat-proof jug. Next, pour the Sodium hydroxide crystals into the water in an airy and well-ventilated place. Outside is best but an open window will do. There will be heat and steam so be careful not to breathe it in. Set the lye solution aside in a shallow basin to cool.

2. Melt the solid oils

The solid oils should be measured in a stainless steel pan. As soon as your lye solution is made, turn the hob on to its lowest setting and let the oils melt together. The oils to be added after Trace include neem oil which you might have in a solid form. Have this in a heatproof container and either keep it on hand to microwave or begin melting it using the double boiler method.

3. Take temperatures

Don’t leave the oils unattended on the stove, whatever you do. You don’t want them hot, just barely melted. When they’re at this stage, pour the liquid oils (but not the neem or avocado) into the pan of melted oil. Stir and take its temperature. You want the oils a few degrees of 125°F (52°C). Take the temperature of the lye solution now too. You want it within 10 degrees of the oils.

4. Mix the soap

When the temperatures are right, pour the lye solution into the pan of oils through a sieve/strainer. This will catch any Sodium hydroxide that might not have dissolved. Now comes blending.

Dip the stick blender into the pan at an angle to reduce air in the head. Use it turned off as a spoon at first and stir the mix together gently. Bring the stick blender to the middle of the pan and hold it stationary against the bottom. Turn the stick blender on for a few seconds then turn it off and use it to stir again. With such a small batch I recommend not moving it around while it’s on since it can spit up soap batter. Just hold it still while pulsing, and use it to stir when it’s off.

The soap batter will begin coming to ‘Trace’ fairly quickly — in a matter of a couple of minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when little trails of soap linger on the surface when it’s dribbled on.

A neem oil soap recipe that combats dryness, itchiness, and inflammation making it the perfect soap for eczema. Makes six bars of all natural soap. #eczema #soaprecipe #soapmaking #eczemasoap #handmadesoap

5. Add the Neem & Avocado oils

Next pour in the melted neem and avocado oils and stir them in well. All the other oils up to this point have reacted with the sodium hydroxide and are turning into soap. These extra oils will have a better chance of free-floating in your bars if they’re added afterward. Together they make up 10% of the oils used, so some of both will saponify. However, your final bars will have a 5% superfat that should comprise both neem oil and avocado oil.

While the batter is still fairly liquidy (it does firm up quickly), pour it into your mold. This silicone soap mold fits the recipe perfectly.

6. Hardening & curing your soap for eczema

Set the soap inside an unheated oven, or inside a small cardboard box for 48 hours. After this time you can take the bars out of the mold and cure them. The soap will be safe to touch at this point but the water content needs to evaporate out. Space out the bars on a piece of grease-proof paper in a dry, dim, and airy place. Leave them there for a month before using them. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here

Shelf-life & making Eczema Cream

As for shelf-life, soap is good until the closest best by date of the individual ingredients. If the olive oil expires next month, then your soap is only good until then too. Make sure you use high quality and in-date ingredients when soap making and creating other beauty products. If you’re looking to make a neem oil based eczema cream, I have a great recipe you can use over here.

Learn how to make neem oil based Healing Cream for Eczema and Psoriasis
Learn how to make neem oil-based Healing Cream for Eczema and Psoriasis

66 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Have you tried this recipe with Hot Process? Wouldn’t that work better to keep Neem unsaponified?
    Thanks so much. Love your recipes.

  2. I have made this soap recipe for my sister and grandma who both suffer from severe psoriasis. After the first use, their itch was gone and after a week of using the soap every day, even the thick and red crusts calmed down (they even stopped using their prescribed crèmes and salves). So I want to thank you verry much for sharing this recipe because it brought a lot of relief for my family members after all these years!

  3. Excellent post and wonderful blog, this sort of interesting posts I really like, keep it up…

  4. Love your recipe for the neem soap. I was wondering if I was to add essential oils for added benefit what amount by ounces would I add without changing the benefit of the original recipe? Thank you

    1. Hi Carrie, if you were making this soap for eczema or other skin conditions then I would recommend avoiding essential oils or fragrance. Both can be triggers for skin inflammation and would be counterproductive to the soap’s purpose.

    1. Treating acne is best done by removing the bacteria that cause it (soap helps) but also treating your skin kindly. A lot of acne products are harsh and cause skin inflammation on their own. Gentle cleansing, especially with mild unscented soap, and unscented oil-free moisturiser is a good start. Other habits that help include avoiding touching your face, drinking LOADS of water every day, and using skincare herbs that are known to help with acne, such as thyme.

  5. I am going to make this soap recipe for a friend’s brother, who has eczema. The neem oil that I have is a blend (with olive oil). Will the ratios stay the same if I use this for the recipe? Also, would it be ok to throw a little oatmeal into the batch at trace? Thank you–I look forward to making this soap!

    1. Hi Bonnie, you need to use pure neem oil (not blended) for this recipe. I’d also avoid adding oatmeal — it abrasive in the final soap and will not be comfortable for people with skin issues like eczema.

  6. Hello, I made your 3 oil soap recipe and it came out well. It was the first soap I ever made and thanks to your lovely website it was a success. I want to try this neem oil soap now. My question is, can I add some neem powder to this soap as well ? If I do add, do I add it at trace or directly to the oils ? Its just for the good qualities of neem, I don’t mind the color or fragrance, as I have used commercial neem soaps before and do not mind the smell.
    Thank you so much for this website and all the work you put in it !

    1. Hi Lotta and thanks for the feedback :) There’s 5% neem oil in this recipe and it’s all I’m permitted to put in soap that I sell to the public (as per my cosmetic safety report). Adding more powder would increase that percentage and perhaps be too strong for some people’s skin. Try making the recipe as it is and see how you like it?

  7. Thank you very much for this recipe! Eczema being run in my family genes, this is truly a solution for the hardship we’re going through! Can olive oil be used instead of olive pomace oil? Will there be any change if I add olive oil? Thank you in advance!

      1. Hi Lovely greens… this is an amazing recipe and i prepared my second batch. . But my only concern is that the soaps are very soft and they dont last longer… can you suggest anything to make the soap harder and last long.

        Thankyou

        1. This soap recipe creates good solid bars. If your own batches are soft, then it’s likely that you’ve not waited for them to fully cure or they’ve been made incorrectly. It happens — human error in measuring oils, lye, etc, or in using incorrect ingredients. Try again :)

  8. Hi, thanks for your recipes. They are so well explained. I was looking for a recipe to make a shampoo bar for my horse and this is just the idea I had in mind, except for the avocado oil that is toxic for horses. Can you give me any advise for substituting the avocado oil? Would it work if I just leave it out? I was also thinking of using part oat milk and part water instead of just water and some essencial oils to help against bugs, although neem oil is also good for that. I know this recipe was not supposed to be used on animals but there’s so little information about horse soap.

  9. Hi, I was wondering if I’m using an 8lb loaf mold what are my calculations. And how hard are the bars? What would you guess to be the cost for this recipe?

    1. Carrie — pop the recipe into the online SoapCalc and you can use it to recalculate for however large a recipe you need. You can also see the soap’s qualities on there, including hardness. As for cost, it’s completely dependant on where you purchase the ingredients. The bars shouldn’t be any more than $1 to make when you calculate the price of the ingredients used.

  10. Bonjour j aime bien votre recette cela fait pas bien longtemps que je fait du savon mais j adore et j aime faire différents savons. Une chose que Je ne comprends pas dans la recette dans la casserole d’huile fondue vos huiles doivent être 125 ° F (52 ° C) et la solution de lessive à moins de 10 degrés des huiles . Je croyais qu il fallait que les huiles et la lessive soit toujours à la même température. pouvez vous m expliquer pourquoi et quand cela change. Merci pour vos belles recettes.

    1. The oils and lye-solution do not have to be the exact temperature. I tend to suggest aiming for within ten degrees of one another. The idea is that when combined, the mix should not fall below the average melting temperature of the oils. You don’t want the oils solidifying even a little before trying to saponify the soap.

  11. Hi!

    Thanks for the recipe!
    Im trying to make a soap for a friend with eczema.

    Is it possible to use neem powder instead of neem oil?
    How can I incorporate the neem powder?

    Thank you!

  12. Hi there,
    I ran into this website several weeks ago, and have already tried several soap recipes. They are all really amazing, I especially love the combination of essential oils you use (my boys cannnot get enough of cedar wood plus lemongrass)…

    But the very special thanks belongs to you for the neem oil recipe. I’ve tried it because a friend of mine has been suffering from ekzema on her hands for several years, nothing has helped. 4 days ago – she started using my/your neem oil soap, and immediately – she can see results. Her hands are smooth, no wounds, no itching. She washes her hands very often, as they have a dog inside the house. Now, she has just asked me to make one more batch of neem oil soap. Thank you, once again.

    What has caught my attention is that -unlike the others soapmakers- you add the precious oils only after the trace, which makes the soap really nice, creamy and moisturising. However, you do not use that technique in all recipes – is there a reason? Are there any oils, that cannot be added after the trace?
    Hope, you’ll find this message, wish you all the best

    1. It’s to make the superfatting simpler for beginners — most people on my site are new to soap making and reducing the procedure by one step helps, I think. Very happy to hear that my recipe, and your making it, has helped your friend :)

  13. Do you think I could substitute Babassu Oil for the Shea Butter? Just trying to save a little money and already have the Babassu on hand. Would I be giving up too much or would it behave similarly? Thanks!

    1. If you’re planning on changing any soap making recipe, pop the original into the online SoapCalc. Have a look at the readings, and then change ingredients and see what the values turn out to be. Your lye amount will change if you change the oils so that’s one of the most important things to look at.

  14. I tried plugging your recipe into Soap Calc and came up with a different lye and water amount. what is your lye:water ratio? And what would be your supefat/discount??

    1. I don’t use the SoapCalc suggested ratios for water since it usually too much and leads to soda ash. I ‘water discount’ so my water is generally at 1.8x the lye. As for lye, the amount used reflects the amount of superfat. I can tell from your questions that you’re a relative beginner — check out my Natural Soap Making for Beginners series over here to help answer any questions you might have: https://lovelygreens.com/natural-soapmaking-for-beginners/

  15. Hi! I just bought all the ingredients to try this recipe out. Can you add lavender essential oil to this recipe? and, would doubling the recipe work? My mold fits almost 3 pounds.

  16. This soap looks like it will help my eczema. But I don’t see myself actually making it, so do you have a recipe for something similar that stays a liquid?

  17. Hi, love your blog! This soap was the first for me. My neem oil and olive oil are green. When it hit trace it was yellow/brown. In the mold it was even darker. When I melted my solit oils it was only 28 degrees celcius. I had to heat the oils a littlebit more to come about 48 degrees like my lye was at that time. Could that be the color explaining? Many greets from Belgium :-)

    1. It’s the type of olive oil you’re using — I suspect you’re using extra virgin olive oil. Don’t worry about the colour :) 33-50C is a good range for small batch soap making

  18. Hello from Texas 👋 This was my first time making soap and now I’m hooked. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions. Love reading your blog and cant wait to soap some more!

    1. Hi Jo, I’ve not tried that yet but yes it could be done. If I were thinking of trying it out, I’d start by adding a teaspoon of neem oil per pound of m&p. As said before though — I’ve not tried it yet personally.

  19. 5%Hi Tanya,
    this is Manju from India… your site is such a delight to read… we made our first batch of soap in june with coconut oil, sesame oil, aloe vera, fullers earth (curing right now) … much later, stumbled over here. how wonderfully you’ve blended information & simple writing … so pleasant & sincere appreciation for the seva. Of-course our first batch measurments were in cups with lots of hand stirring… now we plan to invest in a stick blender & buy some essential oils… already purchased silicon moulds, digi thermometer & a digi scale…doing lot of reading up here (making soaps only for personal use only)
    we would like to request a neem soap recipe from you with these ingredients added…. need your help on the max % allowed. ( Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Neem Oil, Fullers Earth, powdered green gram(Vigna radiata), chickpea flour). Olive oil is imported into india & quite expensive. so not planning to use them soon
    another question do we always need to warm the oils… here in india… all oils are available in liquid form
    do we still need to warm them ?
    sorry on the long post… & please let us have your thoughts
    best wishes & stay happy

  20. Hi,
    Can you use pure olive oil instead of pomace? Would I need to change the amount of lye?

    Thanks,
    Andrea

  21. Hi! My man & I really liked your strawberry planter video on YouTube so I looked up your website and happily found your neem soap. What’s the superfat percentage & water to oils percentage in this recipe?

    1. Hi Valerie — for this and any other soap recipe, you can type the amounts into the online SoapCalc and it will give you all the info you need. Thanks for liking the planter video and happy soaping :)

  22. I love reading your blog-soapmaking. Your pictures are lovely and your writing is soothing and sweet. It is really nice reading and seeing pictures from someone far away.😊💕

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