The Purely Primal Skincare Blog

{Fix your skin. Naturally!}

This post was first published in 2013. It has been updated and reposted.

Today’s topic: Neem oil

If you look up “Old School” in the dictionary, you’ll see two words:

Will Ferrel?

Nope. Neem Oil.

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. But it should be. Because Neem oil – actually, the entire Neem plant – has been valued for its healing and protective powers for millenia. Its written history dates back more than five thousand years!

That’s four thousand, nine hundred seventy-one years OLDER than I am, y’all!

Native to India, the Neem plant has been known as the “Village Pharmacy” and a “Heal All,” and with good reason. Various parts of the Neem plant work as potent and scientifically proven antiseptics, anti-bacterials, anti-fungals, and even insect repellents. Where Neem is health-promoting in humans, it’s harmful to pests.

Neem chew sticks are known for their role in oral health. Neem soaps are often used for eczema, psoriasis and dandruff.

But today, I want to talk about Neem oil – the oil from Neem tree nuts.

Why? Because it’s Neem oil that has been valued for its soothing and healing affect on wounds, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, and even lice. And it’s Neem oil that I’ve seen as extremely effective in its natural state as a holistic skin care treatment!

Neem oil is so unique, in fact, that its constituents have been suggested as potential mediators of abnormal cell growth (1), which is associated with cancer. These unique constituents are extremely difficult to replicate in a lab, making this plant oil even more interesting, and even more precious. Neem appears to affect skin profoundly at the cellular level.

Oh, and one more thing. Neem smells. A lot.

Those special anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-septic components are what makes Neem amazing – but they’re also inherently bitter, which is reflected in Neem’s smell. It’s strong, and takes some getting used to – but Neem has such a far-reaching impact on such a wide variety of skin complaints that, for most, it’s truly worth it.

You can certainly dilute Neem with other oils; in fact, my preferred seller uses a solution of 15% olive oil to 85% Neem to enable the oil to flow.

Suggested use: topical only, applied directly (at full concentration or desired dilution) to areas of irritation or blemish when needed. A drop of Neem is excellent as a natural acne spot treatment, and I am also impressed with its ability to soothe psoriasis and eczema.

Soaps, creams and treatments using Neem as an ingredient can be effective, but be sure the other ingredients are “clean” – make sure they’re clear of my Ingredients to Avoid list.

Where to get it: from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon; or a trusted seller of your choice.



1. Azadirachtin Interacts with Retinoic Acid Receptors and Inhibits Retinoic Acid-mediated Biological Responses
2. Neem – Medicinal and Aromatic Plants