It has been said that black cumin seed oil was first used by the Assyrians of ancient Egypt, where it was used in beauty routines by renowned royal figures like Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Though having been sourced for centuries, the ingredient is returning into the wellness scene through a number of new products and treatments. For example, Zaman Skincare recently launched its Sleeping Beauty Serum, which boasts a combination of cumin seed and vitamin C to increase the skin’s softness, the appearance of luminance, and regeneration of the skin. Vinay Aggarwal, M.D. and co-founder of Self Care LA, utilizes black cumin seed products after laser treatments at his medical spa, like Clear and Brilliant, to nourish tender skin and prevent inflammation. What is it though that has helped the ingredient stand the test of time, particularly in an oil-saturated skincare industry?
According to Aneela Zaman, founder of Zaman Skincare, all skin types can benefit from black cumin seed oil. The tiny seeds, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, are cold pressed to extract their natural oils. When applied to the skin or ingested via capsule, the oil provides nourishing moisture that is easily absorbed into the skin. Thymoquinone, a chemical compound found in Nigella sativa, the plant which black cumin seed comes from, acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory for the skin, which make black cumin seed products safe for even the most sensitive skin. Cumin is considered to be highly safe and generally non-toxic, even in larger doses.
The oil is known for its “Three A” properties: antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging. It’s been proven to help reduce skin redness and nourish the skin with vitamins and minerals, particularly aiding the healing process of the skin after a treatment. “Most laser treatments use heat, which can cause slight irritation and redness to the skin,” says Zaman. “Black cumin seed oil is rich in antioxidants—it nourishes the skin and helps prevent inflammation. It’s firming and regenerative properties are known to lessen the chance of scars developing from wounds.”
According to Zaman, there are six helpful vitamins and minerals found in black cumin seeds that benefit the skin in a number of ways, including:
- Calcium: Calcium works with the epidermis to produce sebum, a natural skin-coating substance that helps the skin retain moisture. Think of calcium as skin's protector-in-chief. Its job is to hydrate, protect, and renew skin.
- Folic Acid: Otherwise known as vitamin B9, plays a vital role in helping to maintain the skin’s natural beauty. It possesses concentrations of antioxidants that work to reduce levels of oxidative stress in the skin as well as neutralize harmful free-radicals that are present in the environment. Folic acid skincare properties may also provide increased hydration by bolstering skin-barrier function. This can improve moisture-retention and alleviate skin dryness.
- Niacin: Benefits the skin by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, plus helps reduce redness, bumps, and irritation while smoothing pesky fine lines and wrinkles.
- Vitamin A: Helps to speed up healing, prevent breakouts, and support the skin's immune system. It promotes natural moisturizing, which means it helps to hydrate the skin effectively, giving it a radiant glow. It also assists in promoting and maintaining a healthy dermis and epidermis—the top two layers of your skin.
- Vitamin B3: One of the best forms of the B vitamins for your skin, also known as Niacin, Vitamin B3 can help to improve the condition of the skin, helping to treat rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, hyper pigmentation, sun-damaged, aging, and dry skin.
- Vitamin D: Contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. It optimizes the skin's immune system and helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging.
But what exactly are the skin symptoms that black cumin seed oil can benefit? Zaman recommends incorporating the ingredient into your skincare arsenal for the following reasons:
- It helps to fight acne. Skin that overproduces oil is more susceptible to acne breakouts since excess oil collects in pores. The essential fatty acids in black cumin seed oil help to flush out this oil. It does this by creating healthy skin cells that work to dissolve fat deposits in pores.
- It minimizes the signs of aging. With its moisture-retaining qualities and antioxidant properties, black cumin seed oil keeps skin elastic and fights damaging free radicals that cause wrinkles and fine lines.
- It tames redness and soothes irritation. Black cumin seed oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. This is especially helpful for those experiencing irritation from psoriasis or eczema as Black cumin seed oil reduces inflammation and boosts healthy immune function. It also is a strong astringent that can fight topical infections.
- It fades dark spots. Together, Vitamin A, amino acids, and fatty acids found in black cumin seed oil work together to regenerate skin cells. Over time, black cumin seed oil will fade age spots and even some scars.