Clean and clear skin is not all about a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you want to unveil your flawless beauty, keep acne and pimples away by pampering your skin with natural herbs. You can detoxify your skin easily at home by harnessing neem either in its purest form or blended with other natural ingredients. It is one of the cornerstones of ayurvedic remedies for acne and pimples, which eventually leads to beautiful, glowing skin. So, in this article, you will learn about the effectiveness of neem as an acne combatant and the ways to capitalize on the pharmaceutical virtues of the herb for the skin.
What is Neem?
Neem or Indian lilac (Azadirachta indica) is a natural herb, which, according to Ayurveda, is a ‘Sarva Roga Nivarini’ (cures all ailments and ills). Its miraculous properties have made it an indispensable part of traditional folk medicines. The power herb, containing as many as 130 bioactive compounds, has long been used as an instant home remedy for skin, hair, and health in almost every Indian household. Besides the leaves, other parts of the neem tree (flowers, fruits, seeds, bark, and roots) also have therapeutic uses against various skin, hair, and even teeth issues.
What is Neem Oil?
Extracted from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, neem oil (margosa oil) is an essential oil with a cloudy, yellow-brown color, a strong odor, and a bitter taste. The potential benefits of organic, cold-pressed neem oil range from curing digestive ulcers to treating fungal infections to alleviating dental problems. It is also very high in other compounds like antioxidants and fatty acids (palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid), which help support healthy skin and hair (1), (2). Hence, neem oil is widely used in commercial skincare and haircare products.
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the active ingredient azadirachtin found in the oil contributes to its natural pesticidal and insecticidal properties (3). The herb even has pesticidal and insecticidal properties, making it a common pest and insect repellant.
Various Skin Benefits of Neem
Neem, be it in the form of leaf powder or oil, is capable of curing the following skin woes in effect:
- Neem detoxifies the skin and adds a natural glow to it by purifying the blood. It may even reduce the toxicity of skin caused by radiation therapy (4).
- The antioxidants found in the herb are effective in evening out skin tone by reducing dark spots, redness, blemishes, and pigmentation.
- Neem promotes blood circulation in the skin cells naturally, which helps keep the skin healthy.
- It pulls all the impurities out of the skin pores while reducing their size and appearance significantly. This keeps issues like blackheads and whiteheads away.
- The antibacterial properties of neem and its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components help treat acne and its scars successfully.
- You can even lighten the marks and scars left behind by acne and pimples with simple neem extract or oil.
- Neem neutralizes free radicals in our body and boosts the immune system, rejuvenating the cells and repairing existing damage. This delays signs of aging like age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, skin thinning, water loss, etc.
- As the herb boosts collagen and elastin production in the body, the skin remains tight, plump, and youthful.
- When it comes to preventing the growth of bacteria strains and combating skin infections, the antibacterial and antifungal qualities of neem work wonderfully (5).
- Several skin conditions, including rashes, psoriasis, eczema, ringworm, warts, etc., can be treated with neem (6).
- Topical application of the herb may enhance and fasten wound healing by encouraging the growth of blood vessels and connective tissues in the body.
The antioxidant and antifungal properties of neem help in preventing hair loss and improving hair growth by boosting blood flow to the scalp and stimulating dormant hair follicles. It also treats the Malassezia fungus effectively, thus reducing the issue of the flaky scalp and removing dandruff.
Why Use Neem for Acne and Pimples?
Neem leaves combine antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, astringent, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties to create a holistic remedy against acne and pimples. Here is what makes the herb so effective against these two most common skin issues:
- Neem penetrates deep into the skin to clear out the impurities and excess oil, thus unclogging the pores and mattifying acne-prone skin.
- It contains salicylic acid, which prevents all kinds of breakouts and skin infections with its antibacterial qualities.
- The active elements work against several micro-organisms, including the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes, eventually killing it.
- Quercetin, the powerful component of neem leaves, reduces acne-induced problems like inflammation and redness by curbing the body’s inflammatory response.
- It soothes and cools down itchy skin, which averts the symptoms of acne and pimples from worsening.
- Azadirachtin and nimbolide found in the herb may fight against skin-damaging free radicals (7). This also helps in healing acne scars and blemishes by repairing skin cells, thereby improving skin texture.
- The extract of neem leaves has essential fatty acids, which contribute to its effective nourishing properties and leave the skin clean without making it dry.
- Neem treats acne and pimples without causing severe side effects.
The antioxidant property of neem leaves is believed to be a hundred times more powerful than broccoli, blueberry, and other antioxidant-rich superfoods.
7 DIY Acne and Pimple Treatments with Neem
You can make simple packs and masks in your kitchen to reap the many benefits of neem leaves for acne and pimples. Here are the most effective recipes to try:
1. Neem and Rosewater
Take 1 teaspoonful of neem powder, make a paste with rosewater, and apply to the infected areas of the skin. If you leave it on overnight, you will notice that your acne bumps have been reduced significantly. Repeating this 2-3 times a day will cure breakouts completely in a week.
2. Neem and Honey
Take a handful of fresh neem leaves and grind them with water to make a thick, smooth paste. Next, pour 1 tablespoon of organic honey into this paste and mix thoroughly. Now, apply this mixture to the troubled areas of your face, wait for 30 minutes and then, wash it off with cold water. This remedy works excellent for oily and acne-prone skin as it regulates sebum production in the skin and rejuvenates it simultaneously.
3. Neem and Lemon
Take 2 teaspoons of neem powder and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a bowl. Blend them well and apply the paste all over your face. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then rinse off with cold water. The astringent properties of lemon prevent the oversecretion of the sebaceous glands in the skin, while the antibacterial properties of neem keep acne-causing bacteria away.
4. Neem and Aloe Vera
Make a smooth paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of fresh aloe vera gel with 1 teaspoon of neem powder. Massage it into your skin for a good 5 minutes. Leave it on for the next 10 minutes, and then rinse off with water. Neem in this pack will keep acne at bay, and aloe vera will take the overall care of the skin, thereby making it clean, blemish-free, and radiant.
5. Neem, Multani Mitti, and Rosewater
Dry a few neem leaves in the sun until they become crisp. Grind them into a fine powder. Add the required amount of Multani mitti to one teaspoon of this neem powder and make a thick paste using rosewater. Apply it to the face, leave it on for about 20 minutes, and then rinse off with water. This will reduce breakouts and enhance the complexion noticeably and keep the skin cool and supple.
6. Neem, Besan, and Yogurt
Add one teaspoon of Fullers Earth to two teaspoons of neem powder. Mix them well and make a smooth paste using yogurt. Apply this paste evenly to the skin and leave it on for 20 minutes. Once dry, wash it off with water. This makes the skin acne-free and smooth while moisturizing it thoroughly and relieving dryness. It also gives a natural radiance to the skin over time. However, repeat it at least twice a week to see the best results.
7. Neem, Gram Flour, Turmeric, and Rosewater
Take a spoonful of neem powder and mix gram flour and turmeric to it half teaspoon each. Make a smooth paste by adding the required amount of rosewater to it. Massage your face with this mixture for 5 minutes by following small, circular motions. Then, leave it on the face for 15-20 minutes. This will purify your oily skin by regulating sebum production, healing existing acne, and keeping further breakouts away.
Include neem in your bath every day for the overall protection of your skin. Either boil neem leaves in water and add them to your bathing water or just allow a few neem leaves to soak in your bathing water for a few minutes.
Risks and Side Effects of Neem
The topical application of neem has no side effects. However, the potency of neem oil may not be suitable for everyone. Hence, make sure that you conduct a patch test before including it in your acne treatment. In addition, as it is an essential oil, you must dilute it with some non-comedogenic carrier oil, such as coconut oil, almond oil, etc., before applying it to your skin.
Neem is one of the cornerstones of ayurvedic remedies for acne and pimples. It contains as many as 130 bioactive compounds that have therapeutic effects against various skin, hair, and even teeth issues. Neem oil is also widely used in commercial skincare and haircare products. The herb detoxifies the skin and keeps it healthy while reducing blemishes, preventing breakouts, fading out scars, and combating the signs of aging. Neem leaves combine antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, astringent, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties to create a holistic remedy against acne and pimples. You can make simple face packs and masks in your kitchen by combining neem with other natural ingredients like rosewater, honey, lemon, aloe vera, fullers earth, gram flour, yogurt, turmeric, etc. However, make sure that you conduct a patch test before including neem oil in your acne treatment to be on the safe side.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can I Apply a Neem Face Pack Every Day?
No, neem face packs or masks should not be used more than 2-3 times a week.
Does Neem Face Pack Cause Allergies?
Generally, neem does not cause any serious allergies. Instead, being rich in anti-inflammatory agents, it is used for treating moderate to severe skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc.
Can Neem Face Pack be Used for Skin Infections?
Sure, neem face packs are very effective in treating skin infections due to their strong medicinal properties.
Can I Apply Neem Oil Overnight?
It is recommended that you do not leave neem oil overnight on your skin as it may lead to irritation and itching.
- “Variations in Fatty Acid Composition of Neem Seeds Collected from the Rajasthan State of India,” PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Essential Fatty Acids and the Skin,” PubMed.NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Azadirachtin (121701) Clarified Hydrophobic Extract of Neem Oil (025007) Fact Sheet”, EPA.gov
- “Hypericum perforatum and Neem Oil for the Management of Acute Skin Toxicity in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Undergoing Radiation or Chemo-Radiation: A Single-Arm Prospective Observational Study,” RO-Journal.BioMedCentral.com
- “Inhibitory Effects of Azadirachta indica Secondary Metabolites Formulated Cosmetics on Some Infectious Pathogens and Oxidative Stress Radicals,” NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to Contemporary Medicinal Uses to Humankind,” NCBI.nlm.nih.gov
- “Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment,” Hindawi.com