This stinky, dark coloured oil is a beauty bag essential if your skin is plagued with
- Acne, including adult acne
- Pigmentation – both too much or too little (vitiligo, melasma, hyperpigmentation)
Black Seed Oil for skin isn’t just another fleeting beauty fad, it’s backed by some pretty impressive research as well as several thousand years of use as a traditional medicine.
Modern research has demonstrated that Black Seed Oil can help to reduce bacteria that cause inflammation on the skin, allowing stressed and damaged skin to recover faster – making it useful for acne, rosacea and dermatitis as well as dry and sensitive skin.
Studies have also shown that it may be helpful for skin pigmentation, both too much (melasma/hyperpigmentation) or too little (vitiligo).
Black Seed Oil can also be used on rashes, insect bites and applied to dry, flaky scalps.
What is Black Seed Oil?
The botanical name of black seed is Nigella sativa. It's also known as Black Cumin and Kalonji. The oil is pressed from the small, dark and pungent smelling seeds. This oil is rich in phytochemicals (plant chemicals) including thymoquinone.
Black Seed Oil is a fixed oil rather than an essential oil. A fixed oil is sometimes also referred to as a carrier oil. Other extraction techniques for blackseed include steam distillation to produce an essential oil and ethanol tincture extract used by herbalists.
The oil can be taken internally or used upon the skin.
How was Black Seed Oil traditionally used for skin?
Black Seed Oil has been used for centuries for the treatment of many skin conditions including acne, burns and wound healing.
What does modern science have to say about Black Seed Oil for skin?
Black Seed Oil has been well studied for its skin benefits. These benefits include:
Black Seed Oil for vitiligo
Vitiligo is a chronic condition affecting the skin that causes loss of pigmentation, or whitening of the affected areas. It occurs when cells in the skin that produce skin pigment, called melanin, either stop working or die. It’s believed to be an auto immune condition of the skin that is triggered by an event such as severe sunburn, skin trauma, chemical exposure or severe stress.
Black Seed Oil has been shown to be effective at increasing pigmentation in areas of vitiligo in two small studies. Results were seen after 6 months of applying blackseed oil twice daily.
Curiously, one of the active ingredients in Black Seed Oil is actually melanin – the very same pigment that is lacking in vitiligo. Melanin is incredibly rare in the plant world and blackseed oil is one of the richest sources.
Black Seed Oil for pigmentation
Pigmentation is where you have darker areas of skin on your face or body. It’s made worse by exposure to the sun and anything that causes inflammation in the skin. Certain skin types are more susceptible. Pigmentation is also referred to as hyper-pigmentation and melasma. Pigmentation can be triggered by:
- Sunlight exposure – excess pigmentation caused by the sun is also known as photo damage. It is a sign of accelerated ageing of the skin.
- Hormones – pregnancy and the oral contraceptive pill are common triggers. Both progesterone and oestrogen regulate melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment in skin that makes skin darker.
- Inflammation – skin damage from acne, scratching, infection, wounds, surgery or chemical burns
There are no peer reviewed studies examining the effect of Black Seed Oil on pigmentation, however, there are lots of anecdotal stories of pigmentation reducing with regular application. Due to its anti-inflammatory and wound healing action, blackseed oil is probably more effective for pigmentation caused by inflammation and skin trauma such as post acne pigmentation and sun damage.
Black Seed Oil for acne
A study using a 10% preparation of black seed oil for the treatment of acne showed considerable improvement after two months compared to placebo which experienced no improvement in acne outbreaks. There were no side effects observed in the study.
Black Seed Oil may help with both teenage and adult acne thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action. It may also help to speed the healing of pimples and reduce the post acne pigmentation that can take a long time to clear even once the pimple has healed.
Black Seed Oil for eczema
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin. It’s more common in people with underlying allergies as well as dry skin with a disrupted skin microbiome. A frustrating feature of eczema is what is known as the itch-scratch cycle.
What is the itch-scratch cycle? Dry inflamed skin results in a damaged skin barrier, allowing common opportunistic microbes to establish a low-grade infection. This makes the affected skin itchy – so it’s scratched, which damages it further, allowing the infection to become more established and skin becomes even itchier in a classic negative feedback loop.
A 2021 study looked at the potential anti-eczema effects of Black Seed Oil to help prevent relapses in people with atopic dermatitis who are prone to developing eczema. They hypothesised that the antimicrobial properties of black seed may help to control opportunistic bacteria responsible for triggering the itching of eczema.
Another study comparing Black Seed Oil ointment with betamethasone (a prescription steroid cream) and Eucerin (a lanolin based emollient cream) for the treatment of hand eczema, applied twice daily over 4 weeks. The authors of the study concluded that the Black Seed Oil ointment was as effective as the steroid cream in enhancing quality of life and reducing the symptoms of the hand eczema.
Comparison of therapeutic effect of topical Nigella with Betamethasone and Eucerin in hand eczema - Yousefi - 2013 - Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology - Wiley Online Library
Black Seed Oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. In combination with ingredients such as beeswax and skin moisturising oils, blackseed oil is a great addition to a skin management plan for eczema.
Black Seed Oil for psoriasis
A small study in 30 people blackseed oil was effective for the treatment of palmoplantar psoriasis. Palmoplantar psoriasis is a rarer form of psoriasis that effects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Significant improvements were seen after 12 weeks. No significant side effects were observed during the trial.
Another study took an inside out approach to Black Seed Oil treatment for psoriasis. 60 people with plaque or palmoplantar psoriasis were divided into three groups. One group was treated using a 10% Black Seed Oil ointment applied to their skin only, the 2nd group was treated with black seed capsules twice daily, and the 3rd group received both ointment and capsules. The study was conducted over 14 months and no side effects were observed.
The results should be exciting to anyone with psoriasis. Psoriasis is notoriously difficult to treat and many of the prescription treatments come with side effects.
- 65% of the ointment only group experienced total remission of their psoriasis. 31% experienced a relapse in their psoriasis after stopping the ointment for 4 weeks.
- The oral capsule group experienced a total remission in 50% of participants with a 50% relapse after 4 weeks of stopping the capsules.
- The group treated with both capsules and black seed ointment saw total remission in 85% of participants and only an 18% relapse after 4 weeks of stopping treatment!
This study is a wonderful example that supports the Nubeean Noosa Inside Out approach to skincare.
Black Seed Oil for cold sores
With its moisturising and protective action, Black Seed Oil makes the perfect candidate for keeping lips healthy and free from cracks and dryness when used regularly. It may also be helpful if you’re prone to developing cold sores when ever you’re run down, overly stressed or get too much sun – all common triggers for cold sore outbreaks.
Black Seed Oil has demonstrated activity against the Herpes simplex 1 virus responsible for cold sores.
Black Seed Oil for rashes & insect bites
Black Seed Oil has demonstrated anti histamine effects and may be helpful for taking some of the sting and itchy out of rashes and insect bites when applied to the affected skin.
Black Seed Oil thymoquinone and other active ingredients
Thymoquinone, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant is the most well-known active ingredient in blackseed oil, other active ingredients include:
- Melanin – the same pigment found in our skin
- A range of non-saturated fatty acids
- Bet-sitosterol – studied for its ability to help with atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- Sterol esters – possessing skin smoothing and skin repair properties
Like all plant-medicines, the combination of chemical ingredients that make up Black Seed Oil all work together synergistically.
Common Black Seed Oil Q&A
Where does Black Seed Oil come from
Black Seed Oil has been used as both a food and medicine in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India and Pakistan for centuries. In the Middle East it’s called habat el saouda, in India, Pakistan and SE Asia it’s referred to as kalonji, and in English it’s most widely known as black seed, black cumin or Nigella.
How is Black Seed Oil made
The oil is pressed from the small, dark and pungent smelling seeds. The preferred extraction method is cold pressing as heat and solvents can oxidise and damage some of the active chemicals present in the seed that contribute to its beneficial effects.
Can Black Seed Oil be used on the face?
Black Seed Oil can be safely and effectively used on the face for acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. It's also safe to use on the lips.
Will Black Seed Oil clog pores
Black Seed Oil is considered non comedogenic which means that it won’t block pores and cause pimples or acne outbreaks when used on the face.
What does Black Seed Oil smell like?
This oil has a strong and powerful medicinal type of smell. It’s not an unpleasant smell, just not the sort of scent associated with your typical synthetically fragranced beauty products. It’s raw, real and authentic. Don’t let this put you off the wonderful skin benefits of black seed oil – it’s well worth the pong and once you start seeing and experiencing the benefits to your skin with regular use, you’ll think it smells like roses!
Organic Blackseed & Rosehip Oil are the perfect combination for problem skin. They work together to create a more balanced skin environment, reducing heat & redness while improving the skin microbiome.
50% Organic Black Seed (Nigella) oil
Together they are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory - quenching and soothing red, stressed, reactive and inflamed skin. They help to put out the fire that is always smoldering in stressed out and sensitive skin prone to rosacea, eczema and breakouts.
Our Rosehip & Blackseed Oil Balancing Balm is made from organic oils blended with beeswax sourced from the Noosa Hinterland. It has a high blackseed oil component of 50%. It’s a convenient and easy way to take advantage of the benefits of blackseed oil for skin.
Apply as often as needed to irritated and inflamed skin. Use daily on areas of pigmentation and rosacea.
We use and recommend Rosehip & Blackseed Oil Balancing Balm for:
- Acne & pimples
- Cuts & scratches
- Inflamed skin
- Pigmentation (too much or too little)
- Lip balm
"The Rosehip & Blackseed Oil Balm is amazing as a lip balm" - Brigid
Organic Black Seed Oil blended with Olive Squalane and Kunzea makes a wonderful "medicated" oil cleanser and treatment for problem skin. Kunzea essential oil comes from Tasmania, Australia and is a relative of Teatree. It has similar anti-microbial properties to Teatree. Kunzea is moisturising and helps to relieve dry, flaky and irritated skin. In aromatherapy, Kunzea is used to relieve stress, anxiety, nervous tension and mental exhaustion.
- Acne, including fungal acne
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Peri-oral dermatitis
It can also be used as a leave on treatment & moisturising oil and makes a great oil treatment for dry, scaly or itchy scalps.
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I have melesma. I haven’t information about black seed oil that pertains to melasma as your site has given me. I want to thank you so much and I will look into buying your products.
Thank you for this information!