The test item is Himalaya's purifying neem face wash, a soap-free, pH-balanced formulation containing neem and turmeric marketed to prevent or reduce acne.
In this study, the face wash was also shown to reduce sebum levels and maintaining adequate hydration.
The characteristics of acne are non-inflammatory lesions such as blackheads and whiteheads, and inflammatory lesions such as cysts.
Standard acne treatment includes topical and oral antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide, which work work by destroying microorganisms like P. acnes, S. epidermidis and S. aureus involved in inflammatory acne lesions.
However, they are associated with adverse effects such as itching, scaling, and prolonged use of antibiotics can result in antibiotic resistance, hence herbal products are sometimes used as an alternative method.
So, researchers from India conducted an open-label, single-arm, four-week clinical study assessing the efficacy and safety of Himalaya's purifying neem face wash on people with acne or prone to acne, publishing the findings on the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.
The study recruited 120 adults between 18 to 30 years old with either existing mild-to-moderate level of acne defined as cheek sebum level of ≥150 µg/cm2 (60%), or those with oily skin with no visible acne at enrollment but are prone to develop acne (40%).
All subjects undergo a washout period three days before the study began and were given Himalaya's purifying neem face wash to wash twice daily for 28 days.
Data was collected on day 1, 14 and 28 on the number of inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions, sebum levels, and skin hydration. A self-assessment questionnaire was administered on day 14 and 28 to understand subjects’ perception towards the face wash.
Of the 120 subjects, 108 (90%) completed the study.
About 45% of subjects saw a reduction in the number of inflammatory lesions at day 28, and 33% of reported no appearance of any inflammatory acne lesion.
About 72% of subjects also reported a reduction or no new appearance of non-inflammatory acne lesions at day 28.
The face wash contains neem and turmeric which both have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and can help fight against P. acnes and S. epidermidis to control acne.
There was a statistically significant reduction in skin sebum level on both cheeks of subjects at day 14 and 28.
Skin hydration was also significantly increased in both cheeks at day 14 and 28, suggesting that the test product did not cause dryness.
In people with acne, the skin barrier function is often diminished along with a reduction of the epidermal ceramide level which decrease hydration. Hydration is key in regulating skin barrier function and metabolism.
Researchers recommend: “Skin care products particularly face wash for acne patients should have a moisturising property to retain skin moisture, to prevent dehydration of the skin, and at the same time to keep the skin smooth.”
As a mild and soap-free formula, Himalaya's purifying neem face wash can remove pollutants, dirt, and other secretions of the facial skins but at the same time restore hydration and moisture balance. “This in turn can further prevent other common skin problems like skin oiliness, skin redness, pigmentation, and clogging of pores,” they said.
The questionnaire also revealed that subjects observed “moderate improvement” of acne condition at day 14 and “marked improvement” of acne condition on day 28.
More than 90% of subjects agreed they were satisfied with the product in terms of hygiene, skin smoothening, reduction of skin dryness, suitability to the skin and pleasant smell.
No serious adverse events were reported or recorded during this study.
As this study was a single-arm observational design, the product was not compared with other skin care products limiting the findings. In addition, the four-week study duration was relatively short, so the long-term safety and efficacy of the face wash could not be evaluated.
The study was funded by the Himalaya Drug Company.
Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
“Clinical study to assess efficacy and safety of Purifying Neem Face Wash in prevention and reduction of acne in healthy adults”
Authors: Hosahalli Rajaiah Yogesh, et al.