Black seed oil is an herbal product that has been used for millennia. The oil comes from black cumin seeds and has traditionally been used to support inflammation, stomach issues, the immune system, and heart conditions.
While the oil can be taken internally, topical application is known to support a wide array of skin conditions. Black seed oil is also used as a daily skin care treatment to encourage optimal skin health.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of black seed oil for skin, how it works on the skin, and what type of black seed oil is best for topical use.
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How Black Seed Oil Works Topically:
Black seed (Nigella sativa) contains many compounds that support the skin, like fatty acids, terpenes, and minerals. The main active constituent, thymoquinone, is responsible for most of black seed oil’s benefits for skin.
Thymoquinone’s antimicrobial activity eradicates bacteria, viruses, and fungi on the skin’s surface, and its anti-inflammatory properties work with the immune system to reduce inflammation. Black seed is also thought to benefit herpes simplex viruses.
Benefits of Black Seed Oil for Skin:
Black seed or black cumin oil has the ability to support skin health in numerous ways. Below are some of the most impactful ways black seed oil affects skin.
1. Supports Facial Skin & Lines
Black seed oil is well known for its ability to benefit facial skin. The active constituents, specifically fatty acids and thymoquinone, encourage optimal skin barrier function and collagen production for a smooth, firm appearance.
Over time, facial lines or wrinkles form due to reduced collagen and elastin production, repetitive facial movements, thinning skin layers, and exposure to environmental factors like UV rays and pollution. Facial lines may become more prevalent for skin types that are dehydrated or dry because of moisture loss or inadequate oil production.
In a recent study looking at a black cumin extract called Thymocid®, researchers found that the extract stopped enzyme activity known to cause wrinkles. The extract also had an anti-inflammatory effect, suggesting it may reduce skin redness and uneven skin tones.
An animal study discovered that Nigella sativa (black cumin) oil absorbs into deep skin layers. Researchers also observed that its fatty acid content, specifically linoleic acid (50.2%), supported the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
2. May Reduce Eczema
The thymoquinone content in black seed oil is known for its anti-inflammatory activity, which may help soothe skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis. This anti-inflammatory activity has also been shown to have health benefits for dogs.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes an itchy rash on the skin’s surface. This condition occurs due to skin barrier dysfunction and an overreactive inflammatory response. The frequently disrupted skin barrier also increases the likelihood of infections.
A clinical trial observing patients with eczema discovered that black seed oil was significantly effective in soothing redness and dryness compared to other topical treatments. Researchers concluded these results were due to black seed oil’s ability to regulate the immune response and minimize inflammation.
In an animal study involving atopic dermatitis (AD), topical application of thymoquinone resulted in reduced redness and swelling. Researchers found that the thymoquinone inhibited the inflammatory response which minimized AD symptoms.
3. May Minimize Acne
Black seed oil has historically been used for its antimicrobial properties. When applied topically, these properties may help minimize acne, which is the result of bacteria invading a damaged skin barrier.
Acne vulgaris, commonly called acne, is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that causes the skin to breakout mainly on the face but sometimes on the upper arms, trunk, and back. This condition is commonly observed in but not limited to adolescents and young adults and can cause scarring and hyperpigmentation if severe.
In a clinical trial involving patients with common acne, applying black cumin oil to the skin reduced the overall amount of acne by 63.49% after 2 months of application. Researchers believe black cumin’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties were responsible for these results.
A review observing Nigella sativa and thymoquinone found that black seed oil supports wound healing, suggesting it may be helpful for those with acne issues. This activity is due to black seed oil’s ability to increase collagen and tissue formation.
4. May Be Anti-Aging & Protective
Due to its antioxidant properties, black seed oil may be a great option to protect the skin and encourage graceful aging.
External stressors like UV rays, pollution, weather, and allergens can cause oxidative stress in the skin leading to skin barrier disruption, inflammation, wrinkles, and other skin health issues. Additionally, it can cause an imbalance in the skin’s microbiome, which is responsible for preventing infection and breakouts.
In an animal study, researchers found black seed oil reversed the aging effects of aging through its antioxidant properties. The black seed oil minimized oxidative stress, suggesting it may be helpful for protecting the skin when applied topically.
In a lab study, thymoquinone reduced the effects of UV-ray injury on skin cells. These actions were the result of thymoquinone regulating the inflammatory response and reducing the effects caused by oxidative stress.
Is Black Seed Oil Safe to Apply Topically?
Yes, black seed oil is safe to topically apply to the face and body.
It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Although it’s described as “well-tolerated,” some may experience an allergic reaction when applied to the skin.
This allergic reaction, called contact dermatitis, is rare; however, conducting a skin patch test is helpful to avoid any adverse side effects. Simply apply the oil to a small patch of skin and wait 15 minutes. If no reaction occurs, it’s safe to use the black seed oil topically.
Click here to learn more about the safety and potential side effects of black seed oil.
How to Use Black Seed Oil for Skin Health:
Massage 2-3 drops of black seed oil into your skin daily.
Black cumin oil has a strong smell, so adding it to a carrier oil, like jojoba or apricot kernel oil, is a great way to lessen these effects.
To receive the greatest black seed oil benefits, it’s important to source cold-pressed, organic, and unrefined products.
Cold-pressed oil means there was no heat added to the extraction process. Adding heat to extract the oil from the seeds can eliminate certain constituents and reduce the overall health benefits of the oil.
Organic, unrefined oil is also essential as pesticides and chemicals added during the process can cause long-term issues.
You can find our highly rated black seed oil supplements here.
While black seed oil is used internally, using black seed oil for skin may support various conditions and overall health. Numerous scientific reviews suggest that applying black seed oil topically may encourage collagen production, reduce inflammation, and promote a firm complexion.
It’s important to consult a professional health care practitioner before implementing black seed oil into a daily regimen. Sourcing reputable brands will ensure you receive a quality product that supports your skin health.
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