You know what’s common between the times when I am stressed, binge eat, gobble up a mango, get my period, or when I try a skincare product that doesn’t suit me? Acne! Zits, rather gigantic pimples, usually make their dramatic appearance on my face during these occasions.
It almost seems like the probability of this unwelcomed appearance increases tenfolds when I have an important meeting/party to attend! But you know what’s even worse? The fact that even after the acne leaves my face and life for good, it tends to leave scars behind as an ugly reminder of its visit.
Surely, concealers work as a blessing in disguise to get rid of these sour memories. But you can’t always depend on a makeup product, right? Besides, everyone wants to have naturally clear skin.
Hence, hunting down ways to get rid of these stubborn scars became my only aim. From exfoliation with homemade scrubs to using a chemical skin-peeling treatment, I’ve basically done it all. While the chemical peel did give me a moment of happiness, it was washed away with the appearance of the very next zit that also didn’t fail to leave its mark.
The natural remedies had been effective—but quite slow.
Enter: Neem oil!
I chanced upon a bottle of neem oil at a local chemist and decided to give it a try. Initially, I intended to use it only to reduce the intensity and size of a zit that appeared on the tip of my nose.
However, the kanjoos Indian in me decided to apply the extra oil left on my fingers on the areas of my face that had acne scars. I swear, this was minus any expectation of any spot-lightening results. But, after almost a month of avoiding wastage and applying neem oil on the scars, I noticed how they began to lighten up!
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Nope, it wasn’t just the good karma paying off
If you think that the spot-healing effect of neem oil was simply a result of my good intentions to avoid its wastage, you’re obviously too philosophical and wrong.
According to Dr Priyanka Reddy who is a dermatologist, trichologist, and founder of DNA Skin Clinic, Bangaluru, the main component of neem oil—nimbidin—is responsible for it.
Several studies including the one published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, have mentioned how the anti-inflammatory properties of this wonder-ingredient of neem oil can help treat skin problems such as acne and bacterial infections. But the skin-healing power of this ingredient is what really worked to my advantage and helped my terrible case of acne scars.
That’s not all.
“Other ingredients present in neem include omega fatty acids and vitamin E which can also reduce the appearance of acne scars. The triglycerides along with vitamin E help in keeping the skin moisturised and accelerate skin healing, thereby fading the scars away,” Dr. Reddy explained.
She further added that neem oil can penetrate deep into the skin to repair it. Hence, it can reduce the appearance of scars as well as spots by stimulating collagen production and improving your skin’s elasticity.
So, how can you use neem oil to your advantage?
“While neem oil is generally safe to use, it is extremely potent and may cause adverse reactions to sensitive skin. So, it is best to do a patch test on your arm before you start using it on your face. If there are no signs of an allergic reaction within 24 hours, then it is safe to use on the other areas of the body as well,” says Dr. Reddy.
“It can be used in an undiluted form to treat acne and acne scars. Just use a cotton swab to apply neem oil directly to the pimples and scars and leave it on overnight,” Dr. Reddy suggests.
“But if you are using it for the larger areas of your face or body, then it is best to mix it with equal parts of a carrier oil such as coconut oil,” she adds and warns against the use of neem oil for acne if you have oily skin.
Well, I have rather dry skin, so it worked. But you can always try applying neem leaves’ paste instead of the oil in that case, say what?