Many people of all ages suffer from acne, which is an inflammatory skin condition marked by red, swollen lesions, pimples, and blackheads on the face, neck, chest and back. All-natural Neem Oil may help with controlling acne, but more on that later.
A study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center’s Dermatology Department found that approximately seventeen million people in the US suffer from acne, which is caused by a number of things such as:
- Prescription medications
- Hormone imbalance
- Poor hygiene
- Poor diet
An acne-prone skin may also be caused by involvement of a hereditary component. The condition is made worse by clogged pores, by a buildup of dead skin cells, makeup, oil, dirt and environmental toxins. When pores become clogged, bacteria thrives, and the result is an acne outbreak.
Acne remedies are a big money-maker for commercial cosmetic and personal care manufacturers. Unfortunately, these potions and notions are often very expensive and very ineffective.
The good news is that the best way to treat acne is entirely natural, quite affordable and beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
In this article, we will tell you how you can use Neem oil for acne treatment, and provide some useful advice to help you establish a healthy lifestyle to build up your immune system so that your body can fight off acne outbreaks naturally. Read on to learn more.
Neem Oil Helps Prevent & Treat Acne Lesions & Scars
Neem oil is a very popular, natural essential oil derived from the seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) or Indian Lilac. This hardy evergreen tree grows abundantly in warm regions and produces a wealth of substances used for a wide variety of health and personal care products. Of these, neem oil is the best known and most readily available in the United States and other western countries.
It is important to understand that no single product that will completely cure acne since a combination of several factors causes the condition.
Even the most expensive chemical solutions come with instructions urging the user to:
- Eat right
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Manage stress
- Practice good personal hygiene
These are all important aspects of successful acne treatment. When you practice these smart lifestyle habits and use neem oil and neem products regularly to cleanse and moisturize your dry skin and treat acne outbreaks, you will soon see positive improvements.
Remember that acne is an inflammatory condition. When acne-prone skin or sensitive skin types becomes irritated by a buildup of oils, dead skin cells, dirt, etc., bacterial growth results. Bacteria on the skin and blocking pores and hair follicles can cause an immune response which results in red, irritated skin and a buildup of pus and/or sebum around the bacteria. This problem can present as:
- Cystic Acne
If left untreated or improperly treated, these lesions can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement. It is imperative to take a holistic approach and deal with acne on a gentle, consistent basis.
What To Do?
For many people, an acne cure seems very elusive. It is not surprising that people turn to a wide variety of products ranging from over-the-counter topical products to prescription medications to overcome this condition. Herbal home remedies also abound, and most (if not all) can work quite well in conjunction with neem oil. Among them are:
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Oil Of Oregano
- Manuka Honey
- Argan Oil
- Tamanu Oil
It is interesting to note that of these substances, the oils can be used together or interchangeably.
The biggest difference between cosmetic Neem Oil and cosmetic Argan oil is availability and price. Argan oil is not as readily available since the Argan tree only grows only in a small area of Morocco.
Furthermore, production of the oil is very labor intensive and only takes place during a limited time of year.
Neem trees, on the other hand, grow across India and many parts of Asia. They can also grow in temperate areas of the US where they are being grown commercially for oil production now.
Oil of oregano has many of the same properties as neem oil and may be a bit more powerful regarding anti-bacterial abilities. It is readily available because oregano is an annual herb grown in abundance in a wide variety of settings around the world.
You may wish to have some on hand to help deal with severe outbreaks, but for everyday use neem oil is more affordable and just as effective.
When it comes to treating acne, neem oil brings these abilities to the table:
- Moisturizing properties help balance the skin’s production of sebum. Drying products can spur the skin to produce too much sebum, causing more acne outbreaks.
- Exfoliating properties: Organic neem seed oil draws out toxins and softens the skin making it easy to wash away dead skin cells. This quality helps keep pores clear.
- Anti-fungal properties help fight off any tendency to develop problems with Candida, ringworm or other fungal infections of the skin.
- Antibacterial properties have been proven effective in combating the bacteria that causes acne.
- Healing properties encourage rejuvenation, the growth of new skin and reduction of scarring.
- Antioxidant properties counteract damage caused by free radicals and promote healthy skin.
- Natural anti-inflammatory properties soothe pain and swelling and reduce redness.
Is Neem Oil Safe?
Neem oil is an entirely safe product for topical use and virtually free of any adverse side effects. When you use over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs, there is always some risk of adverse side effects.
You can safely use neem for acne, on a regular ongoing basis throughout your adult life. While some people do experience a degree of sensitivity to pure neem oil, this problem is easily countered by just diluting the oil with a carrier oil or other substance (e.g. aloe vera gel).
Tips For Treating Acne With Neem Oil
Here are a few ideas you can use and adapt to treat and prevent acne outbreaks.
1. Use organic neem oil full strength or combined with another essential oil to spot treat individual lesions. Just a drop or two of neem oil on its own or mixed with equal parts of oil of oregano, tea tree oil or Argan oil can help overcome bacterial infection and promote healing.
Apply at night before bedtime for best results. You can also apply the oil to lesions once or twice during the day, as needed. If these pure oils cause irritation, they may be too strong for your skin. In this case, try diluting them with a carrier oil.
2. Dilute Neem oil with a carrier oil such as:
Generally speaking, six drops of neem oil to one teaspoon of carrier oil is about the right ratio. Adjust this as you wish to suit your needs. You can apply this combination directly to lesions and acne scars or use it as an all-over moisturizer.
3. Create a light, daytime moisturizer for your skin with pure aloe vera gel and neem oil. Again, about a teaspoon of a carrier oil (aloe) to 6 drops of neem oil makes a good mixture. Adjust as needed for more or less moisturizing.
NOTE: When applying your nighttime moisture treatment, massage your skin gently for a couple of minutes. The massage will help stimulate healthy blood circulation, which is vital for removing toxins from the skin and promoting healing.
4. Wash gently with neem oil soap. Look for a mild, neem soap to help cleanse your skin effectively and support your other neem treatments. It may be tempting to scrub your skin but resist this temptation.
Scrubbing will only irritate your condition and make matters worse. Instead, massage gently with neem soap and warm water. Finish up with a cool water rinse. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel and apply your moisturizer.
5. Keep a regular schedule. Be sure to establish a regular skin care routine and stick to it. Wash your face gently, yet thoroughly every night before bedtime.
In the morning, you may wish to wash your face thoroughly again, or just splash with warm water, followed by cool water and daytime moisturizer. Use your best judgment and follow your preferences.
Following a regular, consistent routine for an extended period is important if you want to attain and maintain positive results.
When you use natural products to improve your health and appearance, you will not get immediate results; however, patience and persistence will pay off in the long run. You will not just improve your appearance. You will also improve your overall good health.
6. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. The buildup of toxins in the body can cause or exacerbate acne. Strive to eat a whole foods diet that consists mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality, lean protein sources and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and junk food.
7. Stay well hydrated with pure, filtered water. Drink lots and lots of pure filtered water to help flush toxins from your system and keep your whole body operating at optimum levels. Say “NO!” too soft drinks and bottled water.
Soft drinks are nothing but concoctions of chemicals and artificial flavors and colors. Bottled water is just water from somewhere else put in a plastic bottle from which it leaches carcinogens while it goes flat. Invest in a home water filtration system or a simple filtration pitcher. Filter your own, fresh tap water and drink plenty of it.
8. Exercise regularly. Increase your blood circulation and help your body process and eliminate toxins by getting at least 20 minutes of light to moderate exercise every day.
It is also smart to exercise vigorously for about half an hour 3 or 4 times a week. Exercise helps reduce stress and improves your ability to get good sleep.
9. Sleep regularly and well. Your body needs 6-8 hours of high-quality sleep every 24 hours. Getting proper sleep helps rejuvenate and heal your body, mind and spirit.
10. Manage stress. Give yourself a spa day once a week (or at least once a month) to pamper yourself with skin and hair care treatments. Give yourself a couple of hours to apply a masque, give your hair a hot oil treatment, take a nice, relaxing bath and just unwind.
Don’t think of it as just an indulgence. Remember that wise lifestyle habits will help you get your acne under control. Stress management is a vital part of living a healthy way of life.
Acne Treatment Recipes:
Neem Oil, Honey, Turmeric & Yogurt Masque For Your Face
Turmeric is an Indian herb that has many fabulous medicinal uses. Affordable and readily available on your grocer’s spice shelf, Turmeric is very effective in fighting acne because it has strong antiseptic properties.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, which breaks down dead skin cells and helps exfoliate the skin. Honey is filled with nourishment and goodness. Added moisture and all of other wonderful benefits of neem oil get included to the mix.
Follow this recipe to make a simple masque that you can use weekly to help slough off dead skin cells and rejuvenate your skin.
Combine equal parts (about a teaspoon each) plain yogurt, honey, and turmeric. Add neem oil at a rate of about 6 drops per teaspoon of other ingredients. Mix it in a bit at a time to get the right consistency. You want a slightly wet paste that you can smooth over your skin easily without excessive dripping. Adjust the ingredients as needed to get a workable consistency.
Once you’re satisfied with the texture of your mixture, wash your face gently with warm water and apply the masque. You’ll want to leave it in place for about half an hour, so take advantage of the fact that you can’t go anywhere or do anything with a bright orange face!
Lie back and relax. Listen to some music. Put a couple of cucumber slices over your eyelids.
When the time is up, wash your face thoroughly and apply your night or daytime moisturizer as appropriate. Note that you may want to take a shower and wash your face after using this masque because Turmeric can stain your skin a bit. Giving your face a good thorough wash and rinse under running water will help counteract that.
French Clay Masque With Neem & Essential Oils
If you have very oily skin, you may wish to use a French clay masque occasionally. French clay can be purchased at health food stores or online. Follow package instructions to mix the clay powder with enough water to form a stiff paste. Stir in neem oil and other essential oils as desired at a rate of 6 drops of oil (total) per teaspoon of clay mixture. Some good oil choices include:
- Neem oil
- Argan oil
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Oil of lavender
- Oil of Oregano
Generally speaking, it is unwise to combine more than two types of essential oil unless you are quite knowledgeable about the use of these oils, so plan on using only neem oil or use neem oil combined with only one of the other types of oil. Understand that the total amount of oil should add up to 6 drops of oil per teaspoon of clay.
Apply the masque to your face and allow it to dry for 15 or 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water followed by cool water and proper moisturizing. The masque is very drying, so you should not use it more than once a week.
In fact, once a month should suffice. Do not apply the masque to the fragile skin around your eyes. Instead, apply a moisturizing treatment to this area.
Light Treatments For Back, Neck & Shoulders
Cucumber & Neem Oil:
This is a very simple, cooling masque that may be especially helpful if you have spent quite a bit of time in the sun. To make this masque, just peel a cucumber and put it in your blender. Puree it and then add neem oil at a rate of 6 drops (more or less) per teaspoon of liquid.
Note that pureeing a whole cucumber will make quite a lot of masque, so you may want to save this recipe for use on your back, chest, neck, and shoulders.
As with the turmeric masque, apply the finished product and take it easy for half an hour to give the ingredients time to work. When the time is up, wash the mask off gently and follow up with appropriate moisturizer.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray:
- Combine neem oil, grape seed oil, and apple cider vinegar.
- 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- 1/2 teaspoon neem oil
Decant this mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your back, shoulders, neck or other areas affected by acne. Leave the mixture in place for a few minutes (until it dries) and then wash off.
This spray mixture makes an excellent, pre-shower treatment. Don’t mix up large batches as it will not stay fresh more than a couple of days.
Add Neem Oil To Your Bath Oil
For a soothing, all-over treatment, add a tablespoon or so of carrier oil with neem oil to your bath. Take a nice, relaxing soak for at least fifteen or twenty minutes. When finished, pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
Take some time to relax in a terry cloth robe to allow the oils to soak into your skin. Note that for this treatment; you may wish to shower first and wash with a neem oil soap. Finish up with your moisturizing bath.
Alternately, you can use Epsom salts as a carrier for neem oil and other essential oils for the bath. One or two cups of Epsom salts mixed with about a teaspoon of neem and other essential oils per cup of salts is the right ratio. For skin conditioning and aromatherapy try:
- 2 cups of epsom salts
- 1 tsp oil of lavender
- 1 tsp neem oil
Mix the oils into the salts and pour the mixture under running water to dissolve and disperse thoroughly.
This combination makes a very relaxing, therapeutic bath that is beneficial in many ways. Neem oil soaks deeply into your skin to moisturize and fight off free radicals, bacteria, and fungus. Lavender is deeply relaxing and anti-fungal.
Epsom salts deliver a healthy dose of relaxing magnesium. Note that you should take a warm shower to rinse off following this treatment, but don’t wash with soap as this will remove the benefits imparted by your soak.
Some Things You Should Know
1. Just as with any other herbal or natural treatment, you should be certain you are not allergic or sensitive to neem oil before slathering it all over your face, neck and back! Apply a dot of pure neem oil to the soft skin of your inner arm and leave it in place for 24 hours. If no sensitivity develops, you can proceed with confidence.
2. Neem oil is perfectly safe for external use; however, it is not considered safe for ingestion. Neem leaves and neem powder are safe for ingestion and can be helpful in boosting the immune system. You can get powdered neem leaves in capsule form for this purpose.
3. Be aware that you should not use any neem product if you are trying to conceive or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
4. Neem oil and neem products are not safe for use by children and can cause serious health complications.
5. Neem oil can be irritating. Take precautions to avoid getting it in your eyes or your nostrils.
A Consistent, Holistic Approach Is Key To Conquering Acne
It is important to understand that acne is not just a skin problem. It is a lifestyle problem. Treating it only topically with any product will have only limited results. To truly eradicate acne, you must take a whole body approach that addresses every aspect of your health and well-being.
Neem oil is an excellent addition to any healthy lifestyle pursuit. Follow the tips presented here to create a healthy, acne resistant lifestyle. Steady, consistent use will add up to steady, consistent improvement. You should begin to see results within a week to ten days If you don’t see results, consult your health care professional.