At any moment, a new trendy ingredient is in the spotlight of the beauty industry. Not too long ago, beauty lovers on TikTok were obsessed with glycolic acid for its ability to stop sweat and body odor. Then people started to recognize the benefits of rosemary oil for hair growth.
And now people apparently can’t stop talking about black seed oil (aka black cumin seed oil) – a type of oil extracted from the seeds of the plant. Nigella sativa, explains Shari Sperling MD, a New Jersey board-certified dermatologist. The seeds of the plant have been used topically as a natural remedy for various health conditions for years, especially in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, says Dr. Sperling. However, there seems to be an increase in the number of beauty brands using the ingredient in various products due to its supposed benefits for skin and hair.
Ahead, learn about the beauty benefits of black seed oil that might convince you to add it to your routine.
Beauty Benefits of Black Seed Oil
Offers antioxidant properties
Because it’s rich in antioxidants, black seed oil “can help scavenge free radicals and soothe the skin to keep it healthy,” says Robert Finney, MD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Entière Dermatology in New York. .
If you need a refresher, free radicals form when your skin is exposed to UV rays, x-rays, or air pollutants, and when left unchecked can cause dark spots, slow production of collagen and lead to premature signs of aging. Antioxidants help neutralize these free radicals, preventing them from doing such damage. “Due to the antioxidant benefits, [black seed oil] may [also] help fight the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, New York City Board Certified Dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology.
In addition to antioxidant properties, studies show that it may also offer antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This may make it useful for reducing acne, which can be caused by bacteria, says Dr. Sperling. A study published in the Journal of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery showed that when people used a topical lotion containing black seed oil on an area of acne-prone skin for two months, they saw a reduction in pimples. In another similar study published in Phytotherapy researchpeople who applied a gel with black seed oil twice a day experienced a significant reduction in acne compared to those who used a gel without the ingredient.
May soothe certain skin conditions
Some skin problems, such as psoriasis, are caused by inflammation. So it makes sense that research shows that black seed oil can help reduce symptoms of the condition, including red, itchy and patchy skin, when applied topically as a lotion containing other ingredients. Likewise, several studies have shown that it can help soothe eczema, another dermatological condition characterized by dry, itchy skin. In a 2012 study, an ointment with the ingredient was found to be more effective at soothing eczema symptoms compared to Eucerin ointment (a commonly used over-the-counter product for dry skin). The study authors go so far as to suggest that the effects of black seed oil ointment may even be comparable to those of betamethasone cream, a type of corticosteroid (an ingredient that reduces itching), for reduce the severity of hand eczema when applied topically.
May improve hair strength
Granted, studies on black seed oil for hair are still limited, but those that do exist suggest it can help fight hair loss and promote stronger hair, says Dr. Sperling. For example, in a small 2014 study, a hair oil containing black seed oil and other herbal ingredients reduced hair loss over the course of 90 days. The study researchers note that black seed oil contains proteins and fatty acids that may play a role in blood circulation, which may make the ingredient useful in promoting healthy hair growth.
The anti-inflammatory benefits of black seed oil can also help soothe inflammation and irritation in the scalp, contributing to healthier, stronger locks, adds Dr. Finney. “It can be applied to the hair to help condition the ends or to the scalp to help reduce any associated inflammation that may be impacting the scalp,” says Dr. Garshick.
How to Incorporate Black Seed Oil into Your Routine
“I would recommend looking for a well-formulated product that has black seed oil as an ingredient rather than just buying pure black seed oil and using it,” says Dr. Finney. Not only can this be irritating to some, but the pure oil can also create more breakouts and increase oiliness in people with acne-prone or oily skin – which is why “patients prone to acne rashes should avoid facial oils,” according to Dr. Finney.
That said, black seed products are generally well tolerated and can be used by all skin types, adds Dr. Sperling. Just be sure to “perform a patch test before use, especially if you have sensitive skin,” says Dr. Garshick, who notes that you can use black seed oil products once or twice a day. .
When it comes to hair application, the same rule applies: Look for a product containing black seed oil in its ingredient list and apply it to your hair or scalp as directed, says Dr. Finney. Using pure black seed oil instead could contribute to a flare-up of dandruff in those prone to the scalp condition, as dandruff is caused by excess sebum, Dr. Finney says.
At the end of the line ? If you just love experimenting with new ingredients in pursuit of better looking skin and hair, black seed oil might be worth looking up.
This story first appeared on www.shape.com.
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