If you’re into chemical-free skincare, you probably already own a stash of essential oils and extracts — coconut, argan, avocado, rose. But here’s one you may not have heard of: black seed oil.
This ancient ingredient is starting to show up in beauty serums formulated to harness its most appealing natural benefits — anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-aging properties. Here’s how to use it for brightening, blemish-clearing, and more.
Botanically known as Nigella sativa, the black seed has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years. Also known as black cumin seed oil or kalonji oil, black seed oil contains over 100 vitamins and minerals and is said to offer a range of health benefits.
The demand for natural, effective skincare has never been higher. Consumers today want to know exactly what’s in their products so they can avoid harsh chemicals in favor of natural, organic ingredients.
Enter: black seed oil, a natural skincare aid that fights acne, clogged pores, and skin irritation. Black seed oil is low on the comedogenic scale, so it won't clog pores -- making it ideal for all skin types, including those prone to acne.
Thanks to its naturally high counts of vitamins and fatty acids, black seed oil can also help fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. When used everyday, it can even fade dark spots and discoloration from sun damage, hormones, and aging.
Eczema — a skin condition that typically manifests as dry, itchy patches of skin — is often treated with steroid creams.
However, while topical steroids (like hydrocortisone cream) can be effective, some people experience side effects like stinging or burning, skin discoloration, and thinning skin on the treatment area. When used long term, steroid creams can cause bruising, spider veins, and stretch marks.
Black seed oil benefits those with eczema by offering a natural and highly effective alternative treatment. In fact, one study found that black seed oil was just as effective as the skin cream Betamethasone in improving quality of life and decreasing the severity of hand eczema.
Compared to conventional treatments, black seed oil does not negatively affect the skin, and there are no risks associated with long-term topical use. However, it can cause an allergic rash in some people, so it is important to test on a small patch of skin first to ensure it does not trigger a reaction.
When searching for skincare products, check the ingredient list for black seed oil along with other soothing ingredients like shea butter, oatmeal, honey and rose water. You’ll want to choose a blend formulated to help prevent redness and irritation with safe ingredients.
Apply the cream or lotion directly to the affected area to soothe sore, itchy skin.
You can also use the oil by itself or combined with other oils your skin responds well to.
As with any new treatment option, always talk to your doctor or dermatologist before using black seed oil for eczema.