Acne is a common skin condition, affecting millions of people. Aside from the many over-the-counter and prescription medications and procedures available to get rid of acne pimples and scars, there are many natural at home treatment remedies that are claimed to heal acne, one of which is neem. So, is neem good for acne scars, pimples and blemishes? Read on to find out more on the efficacy of neem for acne.
What Is Neem?
It is native to Southeast Asia but is today found in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and Americas.
Known for its medicinal properties, neem has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as septic sores, scrofula, jaundice, malaria, high blood pressure, eczema, shingles, and of much interest to this article, acne.
Herbal remedies are made using neem leaves, fruit, bark, and seeds (oil).
Significance of Neem for Acne Scars, Pimples and Marks TreatmentThere is no magical cure for acne that is guaranteed to completely eradicate acne and prevent future pimples and scars breakouts, or to work every time for everyone. Neem too is not. Used correctly and consistently, however, neem will help to treat acne pimples and scars that already exist.
To more effectively put the use of neem for acne pimples and scars into context, let us consider first of all what acne really is. Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that occur when excess skin oils coupled with dead skin cells and bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) block the hair follicles leading to breakouts in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and in more severe cases, cysts and nodules (cystic, nodular, or nodularcystic acne).
The condition affects as much as 17 million people, teenagers and adults alike in the United States alone according to the Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Dermatology.
While many people resolve to the use of over the counter and prescription medications and skin care products to treat acne, others make use of herbal home remedies ranging from aloe vera and Manuka honey to Argan oil and neem to alleviate pimples breakouts.
Now coming back to use of neem for acne pimples and scars, neem leaves, oil, bark, and fruits have significant medicinal properties that help to fight the inflammation, redness (red marks) and scar tissue formation associated with acne breakouts. Among the most significant healing benefits of neem for acne prone skin are:
- Antibacterial properties: According to the Neem Foundation, neem leaves and oil contain significant antibacterial properties which can help to kill and control the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne inflammation and redness. The antibacterial properties are provided by the Quercetin (a bioflavanoid) and Nimbidin (a triterpene) in neem as Medicinal Herb Info says.
- Natural astringent: As the Acne Foundation says, neem tree is a natural astringent meaning that it helps to keep the skin taut. With regular application, it can thus help to reduce inflammation and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
- Antioxidant: The Quercetin in neem tree is claimed to have antioxidant properties that help to fight free radicals in the skin. Although this doesn’t directly address acne causes and symptoms, it is a contributing factor to healthy skin overall and will ultimately play a part in treatment of acne.
- Natural moisturizer: According to the Neem Foundation, neem oil is a great natural skin moisturizer. Although oily skin and acne tend to go hand in hand, dry skin can make acne even worse by increasing sebum production in the skin. This then means that neem can help to heal acne pimples by maintaining optimum skin hydration.
As for how to use neem for acne scars and marks treatment at home, here are some options to consider:
Neem Oil for Acne Cysts, Pimples, and ScarsAccording to Medicinal Herb Info website, neem oil (obtained from neem seeds) not only contains a great variety of active bioflavonoids, key among them being Quercetin and Nimbidin (than main antibacterial compounds) but also numerous essential fatty acids such as stearic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid. Neem oil helps in treatment of even the most severe of acne breakouts, i.e. cystic and nodular acne.
To more effectively treat acne pimples and scars with neem oil, consider mixing it with jojoba oil (or hemp seed oil) as explained below:
- Mix 5 drops or so each of neem oil and jojoba oil.
- Soak a cotton ball with the oil mixture, then dab t gently on the face paying close attention to the areas affected by scars, pimples, and redness.
- Leave it on for 25 minutes then rinse your skin with water.
- Repeat the remedy once or twice daily until you get the desired results.
Caution about using neem oil for acneAlthough it is safe to topically use the oil extracted from neem for acne treatment, it is in fact a great natural remedy for acne breakouts, it should be kept away from children as its ingestion can cause vomiting and drowsiness. Drugs.com website also cautions pregnant and breastfeeding women against using any neem product be it neem oil, neem leaves, name it.
Neem Leaves Powder for Acne PimplesFor pimples treatment, the Medicinal Herbs Info website suggests crushing fresh neem leaves into powder and then making a paste out of it. Here is how to go about it in a nutshell:
- Dry some fresh neem leaves in the sun.
- With the help of mortar and pestle, crush the leaves into fine powder.
- Mixing the powder with enough water to form a paste.
- Apply the paste to acne breakouts and scars.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with water
- Repeat this DIY home remedy regularly for best results.
Fresh Neem Paste for Acne Scars/PimplesSome skin care experts suggest using fresh neem leaves directly as outlined below:
- Chop fresh neem leaves, then pour them in a clean mortar.
- Crush the leaves with a pestle.
- As you continue crushing the leaves add enough water to make a fine paste.
- With the help of a cotton ball, dab this paste onto the areas of the face inflicted with acne scars or pimples and massage gently in circular motions.
- Leave the paste on the face for thirty minutes before washing it off with water.
- Do this once or twice daily until the skin gets clear.
- Crush some neem leaves in mortar with the help of a pestle.
- Dip a washcloth in warm water, wring out the excess water, and then place it on your face to open up the skin pores.
- Apply a thick layer of the neem paste.
- Allow it to work into the skin for 30 minutes then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat regularly for best results.
Neem and Turmeric for AcneRich in curcumin, turmeric has significant antiseptic properties that are beneficial to acne breakouts.
Read more about: Turmeric for acne
Here is how to prepare and use a turmeric-neem face mask for acne treatment:
- To finely-crushed fresh neem leaves, add an equal amount of turmeric powder.
- Mix the ingredient thoroughly to obtain a finely blended paste
- Apply the paste to your face as a mask with the help of a cotton ball.
- Allow the mask to work into your facial skin for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with a gentle facial wash or cleanser.
- Repeat this home treatment frequently until the scars and pimples heal and fade away.
Neem and Yoghurt Face MaskYoghurt is known for its skin exfoliation, moisturizing, and lightening action and makes for a great acne treatment remedy when combined with neem leaves.
- Dry some fresh neem leaves for a couple days in the sun.
- Crush the leaves to obtain a fine powder.
- Mix equal proportions of the neem powder and gram flour.
- Pour in enough yoghurt to make a paste that is easy to work with. Do NOT add water.
- Apply the paste all over your face while massaging your skin gently in circular motions.
- Allow the mask enough time to dry, then rinse it off with water.
- Repeat the process every now and then until your facial skin clears.
Neem and Multani Mitti Face Pack for AcneOtherwise referred to as Multani soil, Multani mitti has powerful oil absorbing and skin cleansing action and makes for a great addition to the power of neem for acne treatment. To make an acne mask with neem leaves and Multani mitti, here are the steps to follow:
- Cut neem leaves into small pieces
- Crush them with mortar and pestle till you get fine paste
- Add an equal proportion of Multani mitti
- Pour in enough water to make a fine paste that can be easily applied to the face
- Apply the pack to your face with the help of a cotton ball
- Massage the treatment area gently in circular motions for 10-15 minutes
- Finally wash the area with lukewarm water
- Use the pack regularly to clear acne blemishes and spots.
Neem and Sandalwood PackSandalwood is known for its antibacterial properties and when applied to the skin it will not only help to kill acne bacteria but also leave your skin freshly scented and dry.
- Mix equal amounts of neem and sandalwood powder.
- Add rosewater or plain water to the mixture to make a paste.
- Apply the paste to your face.
- Wash the paste off with warm water after 20 minutes.
- Repeat this home remedy regularly for best results.
Neem, Honey, and Yoghurt Face Mask for AcneHere is another great face mask for removal of acne pimples and blemishes that I came across on Beauty Glimpse. This adds in the antibacterial and skin hydrating properties of honey and the skin moisturizing, cleansing and exfoliating properties of yoghurt to the efficacy of neem acne treatment.
- Add a handful of neem leaves to a pot of boiling water.
- Allow the leaves some time to get soft, then crush them into a pulp.
- Pour in some honey followed by a little yoghurt, then mix them thoroughly until well blended.
- Apply the pack to your face as a mask, then leave it alone until it dries off.
- Finish by washing the pack off with water.
- Apply regularly for best results.
Neem and Tulsi for AcneOtherwise known as basil, tulsi is a medicinal herb that is renowned for its antibacterial properties. When the paste or juice obtained from tulsi leaves is applied topically to the skin, it helps to fight the acne causing bacteria and thus help with healing of pimples, and skin redness. You can use tulsi alongside neem in treating of acne lesions and scars as explained below:
- Take a handful of tulsi and neem leaves and crush them into a pulp.
- Add some water to make a paste with medium consistency.
- Apply the pack gently onto your face while massaging your skin in circular motions.
- Wash it off after15 minutes or so.
- Repeat regularly to clear acne blemishes and spots and leave your skin looking radiantly healthy.
Drinking NeemIn addition to the above mentioned face packs, masks and pastes, you can also take neem internally. As the Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health says, it is safe to drink 1 to 2 tablespoons of neem juice thrice a day to treat acne or otherwise.
Where to Buy Neem for Acne TreatmentYou can buy neem in the form of capsules, tea bags, and fresh leaves. You can also look for products that contain neem as an active ingredients ranging from soaps and lotions to creams. Neem is also available in supplements form.
As for where to buy these neem products, your best bet is your local health food store. You can also check with online shopping sites such as amazon. Here are some of the best neem products:
- Oleavine All Natural neem oil. Available on amazon, Oleavine is arguably the best neem oil for acne going by the reviews available on the internet.
- Cammile Q Neem Oil is also good for acne treatment.
- Vi-Tae Get Lathered Up! Organic Neem Oil Soap easily takes the day as the best neem soap for acne.
- Theraneem Organix Neem Cream
- Himalaya Herbals Neem Face Pack
- Nature’s Way Neem Leaves Capsules
- Himalaya Neem Herbal Supplement (Caplets)
- Blue Shield Complementary and Alternative Health: Neem
- Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Dermatology: Acne
- Drugs.com: Neem
- Medicinal Herbs Info: Neem
- Munoz-Valenzuela, S. et al (Purdue University): Neem Tree Morphology and Oil Content
- Neem Foundation: Neem Cures
- University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC: Acne