Virgin cold-pressed neem oil is the skin care secret, the key to the flawless, dewy skin of Indian beauties.
Neem oil is the cocoa butter or shea butter of the east, an excellent moisturizer, high in Vitamin E, rich in emollients and fatty acids, soothing dry, cracked or otherwise stressed and damaged skin. Unlike petroleum based moisturizers, neem oil actually restores the skin's natural elasticity.
Now combine that with the medicinal properties we know from herbs like aloe vera and tea tree: antibacterial properties combat zits, anti-inflammatory properties reduce the swelling and redness of conditions like acne, the general support for your immune system promotes a healthy skin and an even skin tone... Can you understand why so many feel neem is a miracle plant?
Neem oil is perfect for dry skin, but oily skin can benefit, too. The biggest problem of oily skin are clogged up pores that become infected and turn into whiteheads (or big red lumps if the infection is deeper).
Good neem oil products promote healthy skin. Because of neem's antibacterial properties harmful bacteria don't stand a chance. No infectious bacteria, no zits.
However, you do need to make sure that you select high quality products, and that you don't strip all the natural oils in the cleaning step. That would make your skin produce more oil, which I am sure is not what you want.
Don't be fooled by the advertising industry. Not every skin product that has a bit of neem oil in it is good for your skin.
Many skin care and cosmetic products are full of harmful petrochemicals, solvents, preservatives and other nasties that your skin absorbs. Adding a bit of neem oil doesn't make them natural.
Read the label! A good neem product will use only natural ingredients. Also have a good look around the manufacturer's website. A company that takes pride in the quality of their products will tell you exactly what's in them, where their neem oil comes from, how it was processed (organic? cold pressed? anhydrous extract?).
Neem is a natural product and batches vary. A good manufacturer will make sure all batches are tested for their concentration of active ingredients. (Look for an Azadirachtin content >1500 ppm in their pure neem oil. That's a sign that their raw product is of high quality.)
Pay attention to the amount of neem oil in your skin cream or lotion. There are extra strength formulations available, and also formulations that are strong but gentle, specifically designed for dry and damaged skin (as for example in eczema or psoriasis).
The same is true for neem soap. Different soaps contain different amounts of neem oil. The more neem, the stronger the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Again, a few drops of neem oil in an otherwise cheap and inferior, maybe even toxic, product will not perform miracles...
Not only the neem oil is used in skin care, the neem leaf is just as effective. Neem lotions and creams may contain neem leaf extract rather than oil. Neem leaf is just as effective in skin care. In Ayurvedic tradition it's actually the leaf that is used when treating skin disorders.
Different skin types need different products, so look for a neem cream that is as light or as rich as your skin requires. While neem oil alone will do a lot of good, it never comes just by itself. Make sure the other ingredients are the right ones for your skin.
Do you already use a really good lotion or cream, one that is just right for your skin? In that case you could also buy some 100% pure organic neem oil and add it to your high quality product as needed. Voila, your own homemade neem oil skin lotion.