Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Gopika Suresh (Journalist) on 23rd Nov 2020

Is neem effective for acne? Ingredients that have antimicrobial effects 

What does neem do?

What does neem do?  

Winters are here, and they certainly bring havoc to the skin, especially to acne-prone skin. Several of us are tired of using chemical-based products to treat acne and pray for a natural ingredient to work its magic. Here is some good news for you! Since time immemorial, neem has been regarded as a wonder herb for its health benefits. Neem is an excellent antibacterial solution for both acne and scars. If you wish to know more about neem in-depth and how it can help with acne, read our post.  

Facts about neem for treating acne 

For some of you, the bitter taste of neem has possibly traumatized your taste buds! However, the matter is that neem is one of the world's safest, surest and fastest methods to end acne breakouts and the marks that appear after it.

Nevertheless, you must not jump right into it. Just like any other product or ingredient, you must be aware of a few things before testing them out on your skin.  

So, here are a few facts about neem or acne treatment: 

Neem can be used as an acne treatment for all kinds of skin 

There is a misconception that only people with oily skin can suffer from pimples. However, one must realize that even dry skin is equally prone to getting acne breakouts. Either way, neem is a useful wonder herb to put an end to acne caused due to secretion of excessive oils.

One primary concern that leads to pimples forming on the skin is trapped oil in pores. This is mostly apt for oily skin, which produces a tremendous amount of oil almost every hour.

Such oil production can lead to outbreaks, which are very difficult to tame. Neem can regulate the oil generating mechanism to keep the pores of your skin sebum and oil-free.

In fact, you would be surprised to know that neem oil could control the production of oil for up to five hours after its application.  

Neem For Teenage Acne 

Several dermatologists state that it is almost impossible to treat teenage acne and marks without using cosmetic treatments. However, these are expensive and can pose long-term risks too. Neem is a unique solution to treat adolescent acne as it heals the skin that may have suffered from several problems since puberty.

Along with killing the acne, it treats concerns like dryness or oiliness of the skin, red rashes caused due to inflammation, and big, painful acne lumps. So, with gradual use, neem has anti-inflammatory properties not just to reduce acne, marks, and redness, but pain too.  

Neem for reducing the appearance of acne marks 

An essential part of treating acne is treating the marks that persist for a long time. Often, even after the outbreak, the spots haunt the individual. As mentioned above, neem can reduce your acne marks' appearance and leave no trace of your painful breakout.  

Neem can reduce inflammatory acne.

Speaking from a scientific background, acne occurs when there is too much oil or sebum clogged produced by the sebaceous glands. These are found at the ends of the pores and block them. Acne symptoms begin to appear when the skin's debris made of dead skin cells stick to the pores and form a bacteria called P. acnes.

Neem, which has anti-inflammatory properties, slows down the bodily response to the bacteria that causes acne. Inflammatory acne occurs when the body takes note of the bacteria and sends white blood cells to attack it. The same would happen if you were to get a cold or a cut. This is an effort made by the body to heal the area.

However, by lowering this response, acne can be controlled and maybe even avoided by the regular use of neem in your skincare routine.  

Neem oil to control acne

According to dermatologists, neem oil has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that combat acne. Although there isn't too much research done in the area, they agree that it can act as an excellent ingredient to treat your skin.  

Neem oil fights off free radicals 

A study held in 2016 states that neem oil contains azadirachtin and nimbolide. These two components fight off free radicals from the skin to improve its health. These can be very beneficial for those suffering from acne scars or hyperpigmentation and can reduce their appearance.  

How to buy good quality neem oil?

Minimalist advice:

Like any other oil treatment, neem oil is relatively easy to apply. Look for bottles that say "cold-pressed" and "organic," as those may be of a higher quality. Moreover, look for neem oil products meant for the face specifically as these are usually diluted for the gentle and sensitive facial skin.  

How to apply neem oil correctly?

Minimalist advice:

To start with, use a cotton swab or ball to apply neem oil. As you would work with any other skincare product, make sure to begin with a clean canvas or clean face. So, it is best to apply products in the most effective order. You may work with the general rule of thumb, which says to go from the thinnest to the thickest formulas. In the middle of your skincare routine, you may use products that are specifically designed to battle your skin concerns.  

Neem oil is mostly found in face washes, moisturizers, serums, and masks. So, follow a specific order according to the products that you will be using. Make sure to read the instructions as well to get the best results.

Word of caution while using neem  

Although neem is a natural ingredient, it is crucial to stay safe. The first rule to remember while making use of it is not to over-apply neem. This can over-dry the skin causing more acne issues. If you suffer from skin conditions like xeroderma, do not apply neem topically without a doctor's consent. Such situations can cause the skin to get abnormally dry. Although neem is an excellent ingredient for dryness too, it is only safe to use medical treatments while treating conditions like these. 

Side effects of using neem oil and how you can avoid them 

Dermatologists often warn users that using neem oil on acne may cause burning, itching, and redness. Ironically, these are the issues it should treat ideally. So, if you notice any adverse reactions on your skin after using neem oil, you could dilute it with a mild facial oil that is non-comedogenic, like almond oil. Before using neem oil for the first time, make sure to do a small patch test on your arm. Leave the oil for twenty-four hours. If you notice no redness, swelling, or inflammation, you can apply it to your face.  


All in all, neem is an excellent ingredient for those who are looking to bring an end to their long and painful battle with acne with the help of natural products rather than turning to cosmetics. However, it is essential to note that, like any other product, it works its magic slowly. You can not expect to use it the night before and wake up the next morning with clear skin.