Black Cumin Seed for Acne
This oil is definitely one of my top 5 oils for clearing acne-prone skin. Here are the reasons why:
First of all, as with all oils it is absolutely crucial that you are using an oil of the highest quality, that is as fresh as possible. We use a nigella sativa supercritical extract. This is by far the best method for maintaining the integrity of the oil’s nutrients. Expeller pressing uses heat which is destructive to certain temp-senstive nutrients such as enzymes and vitamin C, and even cold pressing creates enough friction and heat that can damage the more delicate phytochemicals.
It is also important that this oil is stored correctly, in glass, away from heat, temperature fluctuations, and UV radiation. We store our black cumin seed CO2 in a glass container in a special climate controlled cooler similar to a wine fridge. Not only does the supercritical extraction have the highest purity and density of nutrients, but it is also the most stable, and is less prone to oxidation and rancidity than its pressed counterparts.
Nevertheless, we add an appropriate antioxidant to help preserve its integrity. We use rosemary oleoresin, not vitamin E as most other companies do. The reason we do not use vitamin E (tocopherol) is because it is often derived from non-gmo plants, soy (a prevalent allergen) being the most common.
Why Black Cumin is Special
BCSO has a very distinct pungent, peppery scent that may take some getting used too, and even at small concentrations makes itself known to the nose. Beware of any black cumin that doesn’t smell strongly, since this means it has been refined and has lost much of its vitality and usefulness. It is worth acclimating to the scent however, when you see what a force this special oil is against acne.
As you may or may not know, the bacteria that exacerbates acne in the skin is called p.acnes (Propionibacterium acnes). As we learn more and more about this bacterium, we are finding there are many different strains. Depending on your personal p.acnes population, you may be prone to mild to severe acne, other skin conditions or no conditions.
We are finding that it is difficult to destroy p.acnes – for one, because there are at least 3 types, and many different strains, and for two, because the bacteria protect themselves with biofilms.
Most topical antibiotics that claim to kill acne bacteria are usually only effective against type 1 p.acnes. This is the case with tea tree oil for example. This explains why some antibacterial topicals are effective for some people and not for others. It is probably because the people that see results with them have mostly type 1 p.acnes colonies, while the others might have more of the immune bacteria, type 2 and 3.
Black cumin seed oil is one of the rarer substances that is effective against both type 1 and type 2 p.acnes. So that is one reason why it is special.
Another reason is that it has a high amount of a very anti-inflammatory compound called thymoquinone. Any time you are trying to heal acne and acne lesions, it is integral to have strong anti-inflammatories at your disposal. But acne only activates certain specific inflammatory mechanisms in the skin, so the more precisely you can target those with the anti-inflammatories you are applying to your skin, the more success you will see.
Black cumin seed is interesting because it is one of the few substances that is effective against MULTIPLE acne-specific inflammatory pathways. These include Interleukin 8 and Interleukin 1a (Il-8 and Il-1a). Interleukins are what is known as “signal molecules.” They are proteins secreted by cells in the body to mediate communication between cells and cause things like cell growth or immune responses (such as inflammation) to occur.
Nutritional powerhouse, zinc provider
Lastly, BCSO contains a vast amount of nutrients that nourish the skin cells. The skin is the LAST organ in the body to receive any nutrients we take internally, so it is absolutely a good idea to supplement topically with skincare, not just internally with supplements. This way you can be sure the skin is getting the nutrition you are intending it to have. Black cumin is high in zinc, which has been shown in studies to decrease acne if taken internally or applied topically. Some experts are calling Zinc the #1 supplement to add if you are acne-prone, and BCSO is a great way to do so topically.
Black cumin contains an incredible amount of over 100 vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin and has excellent antioxidant activity. Since it’s high in linoleic oil, it can help to make acne-prone sebum LESS comedogenic.
Lastly, if you suspect your acne is being caused by food allergies or sensitivities, then BCSO might be especially interesting to you, considering it has demonstrated natural anti-histamine and anti-allergenic properties.
So while most acne-safe oils are at best balancing and preventative, black cumin seed is actually actively curative. Even though it smells strong (although the smell actually grows on you – I find it incredibly complex and medicinal), you can see why we couldn’t skip this powerhouse ingredient in our acne management arsenol.
Potentci Lifting Milk and Aurum Luminosity Elixir both include this fabulous gem, along with equally fabulous and potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial botanicals and minerals.
To learn more about the best ingredients for healing acne, the latest research in fighting acne, and more ways to get healthy skin holistically and non-toxically, subscribe to our emails below.
Thanks for reading!