Rosacea is a skin condition affecting nearly 415 million people worldwide. Initially benign, it can progress to very severe forms. In addition to treatments prescribed by dermatologists, it is possible to turn to natural ingredients, such as black seed oil. What are the effects of this vegetable oil on rosacea?
What is rosacea?
Rosacea manifests as a widespread and diffuse redness on the face , primarily on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin, due to the high vascularisation of these areas. This condition is characterised by a significant dilation of the facial blood vessels, making them more visible, especially on fair skin. These symptoms are often accompanied by increased skin sensitivity, hot flushes, as well as burning and tingling sensations.
The exact causes of this dermatological disorder are not yet fully understood. However, ongoing research suggests that several factors may be responsible for rosacea flare-ups. These include genetic predisposition, parasitic colonisation, exposure to heat, sunlight, stress, as well as the consumption of spicy foods. Apart from the genetic component, these various elements have the ability to activate receptors present in the skin and play a role in nociception and/or inflammation. It has been particularly observed that exposure to one or more of these factors contributes to promoting hot flushes, redness and sensations of irritation experienced by people with rosacea.
It is crucial to consult a dermatologist at the first signs of symptoms. Mild rosacea can quickly lead to complications, particularly affecting the eyes.
Does black seed oil have effects on rosacea?
Theblack seed oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the oleaginous seeds of black cumin. Also known as black cumin oil, it presents as a liquid with an orange hue and a slightly thick texture. It is believed that the black seed oil is of quality when it is of organic origin and obtained by first cold pressing. Regarding its composition, the black seed oil mainly contains fatty acids that give it hydrating and nourishing benefits for the skin. It also contains thymoquinone, a molecule appreciated by people suffering from a skin disease such as psoriasis, eczema, acne or rosacea, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Nigella oil can alleviate the redness caused by rosacea.
Several factors contribute to the redness observed in individuals suffering from rosacea, such as the dilation of blood vessels and the release of inflammatory agents by the Demodex. While black seed oil cannot counteract the first element, it is capable of reducing the levels of interleukins-2, 6 and 1β (IL-2, IL-6 and IL-1β), these are pro-inflammatory cytokines. Thymoquinone also inhibits the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme catalysing the transformation of arachidonic acid into prostaglandin H2. Prostaglandins are compounds that increase inflammation.
Furthermore, a recent study conducted on rats with oedema showed that the topical application of a balm containing 10% black seed oil significantly reduced inflammation within a few hours. The number of leukocytes, cells of the immune system, notably decreased by nearly 45%, as did the level of TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, by approximately 50%.
Please note : the studies referenced were not directly conducted on individuals affected by rosacea. Therefore, it is appropriate to remain cautious about the effects of black seed oil on this condition.
Black seed oil to combat parasitic colonisation?
Black seed oil may also have an effect on Demodex, the parasites involved in rosacea. The underlying mechanisms are not yet known, but it appears that thymoquinone may indeed have anti-parasitic effects and could act in the event of an infestation by Demodex. However, it is important to emphasise that this property of black seed oil is currently under study and that further research is still required.
KIM B. & al. Black Cumin ( Nigella sativa L.): A Comprehensive Review on Phytochemistry, Health Benefits, Molecular Pharmacology, and Safety. Nutrients (2021).
ZWOZDZIAK B. & al. Demodicosis in Different Age Groups and Alternative Treatment Options—A Review. Journal of clinical medicine (2023).