Black seed oil, also called black cumin oil, is pressed from the seeds of a flowering plant. In a botany class, you'd hear this plant called Nigella sativa. There's not a lot of research on this substance for healing skin problems, but it's considered safe to use. You might want to ask your health care provider first just to be on the safe side.
As a possible remedy for various health conditions, black seed oil usually is taken orally. Some herbalists recommend black seed oil for treating symptoms of asthma, colds and flu, and for lowering blood pressure. Research indicates that it protects the liver and even has anti-cancer effects, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Some chemical properties of black seed oil prompt herbalists to recommend the oil for topical use. Black seed oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties — effects that are helpful for healing acne. The oil contains linoleic acid, and one study — published in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Dermatology" in 1998 — found that linoleic acid reduces the size of pimples in people with mild acne. Black seed oil also is used by people with the inflammatory skin condition eczema. Black seed oil contains antioxidants, which are known for their anti-aging effects. Because of its vitamin and mineral content, black seed oil is thought to be nourishing for the skin and to stimulate hair growth when applied to the scalp.
If you'd like to try black seed oil for getting rid of pimples or relieving eczema symptoms, simply pour a little into your palm and dab a few drops onto affected areas. You also might use black seed oil as a nourishing skin moisturizer, as skin absorbs it well and the oil won't leave any greasy residue. Store it in the refrigerator or in a cool dark place. You can buy black seed oil at stores that sell essential oils and also at online retailers. Commercially produced black seed creams and soaps are available as well.
You probably won't have any side effects from using black seed oil on your skin. Only two cases of contact dermatitis — a fancy name for a rash or skin irritation caused by touching something your skin reacts to — have been reported by black seed oil users, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. These individuals were using black seed oil to treat eczema.