Neem Oil is extracted from the leaves and seeds of the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica). The Neem Tree is native in the Indian subcontinent, however it has been introduced to many other tropical regions. Neem Oil is a natural insecticide and is widely used as a pest control agent in organic horticulture. Neem Oil also has an important role in Ayurvedic medicine and topical Neem Oil formulations are commonly used to treat a variety of skin infections, including acne. Neem Oil is gaining popularity as a topical anti-acne treatment in modern Naturopathic medicine.
The best studied compound in Neem Oil is Azadirachtin, which is often used as an insecticide or fungicide (however in humans it is biologically safe). Many other compounds have also been isolated from Neem Oil, some of which exhibit anti-microbial properties in laboratory testing. There has also been a scientific study that found Neem Oil can potentially reduce the inflammation caused by Propionibacterium acnes (the bacterium commonly associated with acne).
There are many different ways that Neem Oil can be used, from oral supplements to topical face washes. Many people have reported that topical Neem Oil face washes helped to improve their acne symptoms. However, Neem Oil has not been rigorously investigated as an acne treatment in clinical trials. More research needs to be done to reach a conclusion on how to best use Neem Oil to treat acne, and what potential limitations Neem Oil might have. Despite these unknowns, some people may find Neem Oil to be effective for treating their acne and it may be worth a try.
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Neem Oil @ Wikipedia
Formulation and characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles loaded Neem oil for topical treatment of acne. Vijayan, etal. 2013.
Topical herbal therapies an alternative and complementary choice to combat acne. Kapoor, et al. 2011.
Analysis of components of Neem (Azadirachta indica) oil by diverse chromatographic techniques. Gossé, et al. 2005.
Neem — an omnipotent plant: a retrospection. Brahmachari, et al. 2004.
Antimicrobial potential of Azadirachta indica against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. Asif. 2012.
Azadirachta indica (neem): a plant of multiple biological and pharmacological activities. Atawodi, et al. 2009.
Neem in human and plant disease therapy. Singh, et al. 2002.
Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to contemporary medicinal uses to humankind. Kumar, et al. 2013.
Effect of neem oil on some pathogenic bacteria. Jahan, et al. 2007.