black seed oil benefits

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A couple of months ago, I discussed black seed oil benefits on the podcast and was taken aback by the response I received! So many listeners were eager to learn more about black cumin oil and whether it would be a good fit to help support their chronic skin condition.

If you’re dealing with rashed, itchy skin or even hair shedding, black cumin seed oil might just be the skincare ingredient to provide some relief.

Black seed oil has a long history of efficacy across various different cultures. Its active component, thymoquinone, has antimocrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal and antiparasitic properties! It is also loaded with essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that promote better skin health.

Black cumin seed oil is also typically well-tolerated, even amongst those with sensitive skin!

Which is one of the main reasons we put it into all our DermaQuell skin creams.

Since I got so many questions after I posted the first episode on this topic, I decided to bring in my friend and natural skincare expert Rachael Pontillo to discuss the star component of black seed oil (thymoquinone), how to use this oil safely, what to look for when choosing products, possible antimicrobial effects of black cumin seed oil, and much more!

Rachael Pontillo is a holistic skincare formulator, educator, and best-selling author as well as a functional nutrition practitioner, herbalist, and licensed aesthetician. She helped to formulate the DermaQuell skincare products so that the wonderful qualities of the specifically chosen natural ingredients could truly shine through.

She’s the president and co-founder of the Nutritional Aesthetics™ Alliance, the creator of the popular skincare and healthy lifestyle blog, Holistically Haute™, as well as the much-loved online course, Create Your Skincare.

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In This Episode:

  • Black seed oil benefits (and its active constituent thymoquinone)
  • Who should NOT use black cumin oil?
  • Medication interactions with black cumin seed oil
  • DON’T apply black seed oil in these areas
  • Black cumin seed oil + hair loss
  • How long before you see results with black seed oil?
  • Benefits of black cumin seed oil for your skin if you have vitiligo
  • How to choose the best black cumin seed oil for skin
  • Diluting black seed oil (so it doesn’t massively irritate your skin)
  • Why we added black seed oil to DermaQuell skin creams


“In general, there is very low toxicity risk with this ingredient [black cumin seed oil], both when taken internally as directed and when applied topically. And it's just beneficial for a lot of different conditions, and it's a very low risk of allergy in general.”

“It's pretty cool that thymoquinone has an antihistamine effect, which can help with the swelling and help calm reaction-prone skin too…If you were to look up studies, it has always been considered a good candidate for something to help with these common topical skin issues such as minor irritations, rashes, dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, even certain things that have a bacterial or a fungal component because the black cumin seed oil does have antimicrobial properties.”


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Healthy Skin Show ep. 335: Why I Love THESE Black Cumin Seed Oil Skin Benefits

Healthy Skin Show ep. 197: Why Hair Loss Can Be Complicated + Devastating w/ Dr. Hope Mitchell


343: How To Use Black Seed Oil (Benefits + Top Tips For Soothing Inflamed Skin + Scalp) w/ Rachael Pontillo {FULL TRANSCRIPT}

Jennifer Fugo (00:17.218)

Rachel, I am so excited to have you back on the show to talk about how do you use black seed oil and more. Thanks for being here.

Rachael Pontillo (00:22.858)

Yay, thank you for having me. We always have a great conversation.

Jennifer Fugo (00:27.098)

That is true, and I thought you were the perfect person to have this conversation with, especially because this is sort of like the black cumin seed oil part two, because we got so many questions from listeners and our YouTube audience about black cumin seed oil for skin that I thought you were probably the best person to set everybody straight because, well, for one, I do want to say that there is so much hype about natural oils and different supplements.

There's so much hype online about how they're almost magical, and that's not always the case. And so I wanted to help provide some grounding, and you have way more experience than me in this topical arena. So let's talk about this. In terms of black seed oil benefits, and actually I just am curious. Why is it that you personally like black cumin seed oil?

Rachael Pontillo (01:32.49)

Well, I like black cumin oil for a few different reasons. Now, I'm not gonna say that it's a cure-all or that it's a panacea, because as we just said, that's rarely the case since human beings are different. There's nothing on the planet that works the same way for everybody, period. But I will say that black cumin seed oil has a really long history of success and efficacy across multiple cultures and there are some potential benefits of black cumin seed oil for your skin. And that's really important when you see something working in one ancient culture, and then another ancient culture, and then it still has modern uses, and then it comes across the pond and it's starting to have efficacy even here in the Western world with some pharmacological uses with some clinical trials.

That's where I start to pay attention because look, when it comes to clinical trials, they're not perfect. A lot of them are animal studies when it's done for pharmacology, that industry, because that's unfortunately just the gold standard right now. But we are starting to see some human trials, real-world trials and stuff like that in general. And when they confirm what the anecdotal and folk wisdom has been telling us for sometimes centuries, that's when I start to think, okay, maybe there's something to this.

And that is the case with black cumin seed oil. There are a lot of studies for health conditions here in the United States, in the Western world, as well as many, many years of anecdotes and folk stories about uses, both internally and topically. Now, obviously we're talking topically today, and there are a few different ways to use it. There's the powder of the black cumin seeds, the aqueous extract of the black cumin seeds, the oil, which is what we're talking about today. And I do just want to clarify, we're primarily talking about the cold pressed, fixed, or carrier oil, not the essential oil. You can get an essential oil of black cumin seed oil, but we are talking about the fixed or the carrier oil, which is the one that we have in the Quell Skincare products. And the reason for that is because we are able to get enough of the active constituent which is the thymoquinone (which contributes to antimicrobial effects of black cumin seed oil). It's the same constituent in thyme and in other antimicrobial kinds of kitchen herbs if you will. But that's really the superstar of this ingredient, and in the essential oil it's just super concentrated, and we don't necessarily need that.

But in terms of how black cumin oil has been studied and what we know about it, it's very safe. Like, yes, there's always gonna be somebody who's allergic to it. And there are some people that might have a reaction to it because that's just life, right? But in general, there is very low toxicity risk with this ingredient, both when taken internally as directed and when applied topically. And it's just beneficial for a lot of different conditions, and it's a very low risk of allergy in general. So whenever we have something that tends to help more people with more things, that's what we like to see.

Jennifer Fugo (05:03.746)

So with that said, is there anyone who should really not use black cumin seed oil topically versus those who could potentially benefit from using black cumin seed oil for skin?

Rachael Pontillo (05:16.638)

Yeah, so there are a couple of people, or populations of people I should say, that should at least have a conversation with their doctor before applying black cumin oil topically, even if it's an ingredient in another formulation and it's not a straight application of the oil. So if you are someone who has a clotting disorder of any kind, that is something that you should have a conversation with your doctor about because it can have blood thinning properties for some people. And along those same lines, if you are about to have surgery of any kind because the black seed oil might slow the blood clotting, that is definitely something that you should not be using within two weeks of when you're going to have surgery, and then you would want to consult with your doctor on when it would be appropriate to start using it again. Most likely when that wound has closed because black cumin oil does have wound healing qualities, which we'll talk about, but you definitely want to be far enough away from when that is an open wound because of those potential clotting issues.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you definitely also want to have a conversation with your doctor. Most of the information about pregnancy and breastfeeding that is available is on internal consumption rather than topical application, but we always want you to be on the safe side. So you just want to have that conversation. And if your doctor is not someone who has knowledge of black cumin seed oil, a midwife might be somebody to talk to, or a pharmacist who is like a compounding pharmacist, or a pharmacist that also has natural remedies and is not just a conventional pharmacist.

Jennifer Fugo (07:07.086)

Are there any medications as well?

Rachael Pontillo (07:22.806)

So again the risk is primarily with internal consumption. That's the data that we have and the risk is considered moderate with internal consumption. But because black seed oil does get absorbed into the skin, and even if we're using it at a small concentration, we don't have a way to determine how much of it's going to end up in the bloodstream. There's not like a formula that we can just plug in to figure that out. So if you are someone who is on medication for diabetes, blood clotting, blood pressure, seizures, liver disease, or if you're taking certain sedatives or even certain antidepressants, have a conversation with your doctor or your pharmacist before applying black cumin seed oil topically.

Jennifer Fugo (07:56.89)

One of the big, I guess, complaints or issues that people realized from listening to our part one on the black cumin seed oil was that, and you pointed this out, that if you apply it undiluted, it may not be a pleasant experience. That being said, there are some contraindications for topical use. We'll get into dilution later, so just hang in there with us. But maybe, could you share what would be some reasons or some individuals who might not want to use this, or maybe some areas as a good guideline of where not to apply black cumin seed oil for skin? Basically, how do you use black seed oil safely?

Rachael Pontillo (08:40.842)

So the reaction that you might be referring to is it can be a “hot oil” if it is undiluted, and that's absolutely the case if it's an essential oil or a CO2 extract. It will physically cause a burning sensation on the skin because of that concentration of the thymoquinone and the thymol, which are two of the constituents. So because of that, obviously we will talk about dilution, not everybody has to dilute the carrier oil, but many people just choose to because it can also have a rather strong smell. Some people don't mind the smell. It's more kind of like an herbaceous smell, similar along the lines ofthyme and oregano, that type of scent, but it can be strong and it can have that physical hot sensation on the skin.

So oftentimes, if there's an actual reaction, it's not necessarily because the person's reacting to the black cumin seed oil itself. It could be because either the oil has gone rancid or it might have been extracted in a way that there's contaminants or adulterants in it. So that's often more the case because the oil itself is generally pretty well tolerated, but in general, you don't want to apply it around the eyes, around the nostrils, any mucous membranes, anywhere where there's sensitivity, shall we say, in terms of those types of things. So keep it away from any areas like that and you should be fine.

But also, while we'll talk about the wound healing properties, if you have an open wound, you don't want to be applying it on an open wound. That is not going to feel good. And the essential oil, like I said, will cause more irritation than the carrier oil because it is so much more concentrated. And again, that's why in the Quell products, we do use the carrier oil instead.

Jennifer Fugo (10:45.446)

I wanted to ask you something about what you said, the CO2 extract. If someone goes to the store or they're looking online, because I just don't know the answer to this, will it normally say on the bottle how they extracted the oil? Is that something that should be on there and where would you look for that?

Rachael Pontillo (11:09.406)

Yeah, that's a really good question. And the answer is that you will usually be able to find the answer, but you'll have to look for it. So typically if it's a cold-pressed oil, it will say cold-pressed, just like when you're shopping for olive oil or avocado oil, it'll usually say cold-pressed, or expeller-pressed, or something like that. Cold-pressed is what you're looking for in the carrier oil.

And if it's an essential oil, it will be in a much smaller container. So a carrier oil is going to be in a larger container, I would say at least like an 8-ounce bottle or a 16-ounce bottle. Whereas your CO2 extracts and your essential oils are going to be in a much smaller container, probably less than an ounce in size. And they typically would say on the back, Nigella sativa, which is the Latin botanical, and then it will usually say essential oil, or steam distilled, or CO2 extracted. But that's typically how you tell the difference. Larger container, probably the carrier oil, and it will say how it's been pressed. And if it doesn't, don't buy it or ask the company how it's been pressed. Because that's something you do want to know.

Jennifer Fugo (12:23.631)

And the container should be opaque or a dark color, correct?

Rachael Pontillo (12:28.858)

Yeah, that would be ideal. A dark color metal like a stainless steel or glass if possible. Glass would be preferred, not plastic if possible. And if it's not in a dark container, you're going to want to refrigerate that after you open it because it can turn rancid from light exposure. And even if it is in a dark bottle, I still recommend refrigerating it after you open it.

Jennifer Fugo (12:55.502)

Those are great tips. This is why I have you here to answer these things because people ask me about this and I'm like, this is not my area of expertise. I know other aspects of this. That's why you were so helpful in knowing how to incorporate the black seed oil into Quell. So I'm grateful for that. Now, I do want to shift gears to talk a little bit about the hair growth thing. So when I was searching, specifically on YouTube, for black seed oil benefits, I saw all of these videos are like, black seed oil, miracle for hair growth. Honestly, if I didn't know better, and I am a little bit skeptical, probably like you are, when I see things that sound too good to be true. I'm like, tell me more, just because one person's experience might be positive does not necessarily mean that applies to everyone else. So what are your thoughts on hair growth? And do you think that black cumin seed oil could be helpful, or at least as helpful as they're claiming online?

Rachael Pontillo (14:06.398)

Okay, so it depends. And I know everybody hates that answer, but it's true. There are a couple of studies that show that black cumin seed oil combats hair loss rather than growing more hair. And that's due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are in that thymoquinone constituent, okay? The one study, I think it was a 2015 study, did show specifically an increase in hair density and hair thickness after three months of use, but this was specifically in patients with a scalp disorder called telogen effluvium, which is associated with hair thinning and hair shedding that does have an inflammatory component. So if you're not someone who has inflammation in your scalp, you have a head of healthy hair and you just want to grow more of it, it's probably not gonna help you in that regard because it is protecting from shedding and hair loss by calming that inflammatory response that's in the receptors in the scalp. That's the mechanism of action.

Jennifer Fugo (15:13.974)

And so that means you're not actually applying it to the hair itself, it's more to the scalp.

Rachael Pontillo (15:19.895)

Correct. And it's also important to point out that this particular study was not with the carrier oil. It was with the essential oil at 0.5% concentration in another carrier. So that is a safe dilution for the essential oil or the CO2 extract, but the carrier oil does not have even that much strength of the thymoquinone in it. So I would say, it's not going to hurt, but I wouldn't be expecting any miracles.

Jennifer Fugo (15:55.33)

So if you do decide to give this a shot, what it sounds like you're saying is that it might help possibly with helping you quell some of the hair loss, but it may not actually improve hair regrowth per se.

Rachael Pontillo (16:18.526)

Yeah, so, alright, I obviously have a lot of hair. I have long hair. I don't have a scalp condition. I don't have inflammation in my scalp. If I decided, you know, I wanna go full-on Rapunzel up in here and let's just grow this, it would not help me because I don't have that inflammation that its mechanism of action would be working to prevent my hair from falling out, if that makes sense. So it's protecting against shedding and falling out when there's an inflammatory condition in the scalp rather than causing new hair to grow. It's increasing density by preventing fallout.

Jennifer Fugo (16:57.506)

Yeah. And I also want to just add to this, that study you mentioned, which we'll put into the show notes, this was over a three month period. So for anyone who promises that you do this for a week, or two weeks, or a month, and swears that you're going to have this magical experience, and I would almost argue too, and maybe you can share a little bit about your thoughts on how fast it could even help the skin itself, the hair takes a lot longer. It's a sort of a slower experience to shift. So if you're expecting a fast change from applying black cumin seed oil to your scalp, sorry to say that's probably not gonna happen. It's gonna be a slow, slow process. And when it does come to the skin, Rachel, do you see the same thing as well, that people's expectations tend to be like, oh my gosh, I applied black seed oil one time and it just magically was better. Is that realistic?

Rachael Pontillo (18:01.058)

So interestingly with the skin, there have been a couple of studies that shows that it can work faster if it is on kind of the wound-healing side of skin. So if we're talking specifically about people who might have like an angry rash or extremely disrupted skin barrier, that actually might be a case where you might see improvement after a week or so. I think the one study showed the most benefit after I think it was 12 days or something, where we were seeing increased collagen bundles in the upper layer of the dermis, and then after that we saw full epidermal regeneration after I think it was 12 days. But that's, again, there has to be that type of wound healing need there. It's not going to come in and, you know, make you have perfect skin after 12 days.

And of course, this was actually a rat study. So I don't place a ton of value on animal studies when it comes to translating that to a human being who is living in everyday life and not stuck in a cage under terrible forced conditions. So I don't think that we can say, based on that, that if you apply this every day to your angry skin, that you're gonna see results after 12 days. Maybe, but maybe not, because you can't translate that one experience of a lab rat into a human experience. So there's some data, but it's limited is what I would say about that.

So I think it's really important for anyone who is struggling with a skin issue that is of this nature, very irritated, very angry, a lot of inflammation and disrupted barrier. It took your skin a lot of time to get to that point, and it takes your skin a lot of time to recover from that. So this is something that can absolutely help in those efforts, but it's not going to be a miracle. It's not gonna be one thing that's gonna fix everything. And I know, I mean, obviously, as your listeners have heard listening to Healthy Skin Show, it's an effort that involves food, supplements, lifestyle, sometimes testing, mindset, stress management, all of these different factors that support the body's ability to heal essentially. But this is one component topically that can absolutely support.

Jennifer Fugo (20:44.854)

Yeah, and I love how you put that. It can help support topically, but we have to manage our expectations of how fast it can actually make an improvement. Because the things that are magical are pharmaceutical, usually.

Rachael Pontillo (21:05.806)

But you know, Jen, I'm gonna interrupt you quickly there because not to be TMI, but I've had a rash that I've been dealing with for a while that the dermatologist was even like, this is gonna take three weeks. That's not a miracle to me.

Jennifer Fugo (21:21.012)

That's true.

Rachael Pontillo (21:34.51)

That's not “put on this medication and then you're gonna be fine.” So if people can be patient for pharmaceuticals that have side effects, I think we can be patient for something that doesn't have side effects that might take a little longer, but with consistent use, it will help. So that's kind of my thought on that, just because I have recent experience having a conversation with a dermatologist about a topical prescription cream.

Jennifer Fugo (21:39.062)

I love that. 100%. You have got me there. That is so true. Not everything is like, you flip a switch and it's better.

Rachael Pontillo (21:56.974)

I wish.

Jennifer Fugo (22:17.382)

I wish, right? I wish. I want to just make sure that when people hear this, they understand that you're not going to apply black seed oil once or use a product in it one time and see some really magical improvement in collagen levels. And as you pointed out, yes, animal studies, or we'll see different test tube studies and whatnot, we have to be cautious of drawing comparisons of how efficacious, how fast things happen in a human being and if it'll even work the same way because we are not animals, we are not test tubes. There's a lot that goes into being a human being. That's one reason we wanted you to know some of the studies out there, like you said, are on animals. So we can make a guess, we can see how it might work, but not every natural product has all of these human clinical trials on them just yet. Hopefully eventually.

Rachael Pontillo (22:59.326)

Absolutely, because the pharmaceutical industry just doesn't have a reason to do that yet. They're just not doing that yet. So it can be frustrating because we are trained to look for studies, right? Because that's how the drug industry has trained us. But that's just not how the history of botanicals has been. You know, 500 years ago, they weren't doing clinical trials to see, well, does this work?

Jennifer Fugo (23:25.835)


Rachael Pontillo (23:26.422)

They try it and does it work? Yes, okay, there's our evidence. And does it not work? Okay, well, what happened? Or maybe we need to change the dosage or something like that. They did so experientially and then they documented it, but that's not the same as what we've come to expect in the pharmaceutical world.

Jennifer Fugo (23:44.758)

Yeah. And so to hold some space for the listeners who have vitiligo, I had mentioned in episode one how it's possible, there's some interesting research on the use of black cumin seed oil for vitiligo. Anything that you can share on this?

Rachael Pontillo (24:02.888)

Yeah, and this is something that again, it's not gonna be a quick fix and it might not work for everyone, but if you are struggling with vitiligo, it's absolutely something to try and add to your tool chest of your different topical efforts. And the research on this, I actually found to be really interesting. So, it turns out that the thymoquinone itself has the ability, once it's absorbed into the deeper layers of the epidermis, now, just a little anatomy for you. The melanin pigment that is in the epidermis, that's in the kind of deepest layer of the epidermis, right above the juncture between the epidermis and the dermis. So it is something that can be affected topically, whereas something in the dermis, such as collagen, is really not gonna be affected with topical measures unless there's severe inflammation or a wound there.

But in the epidermis, if it can get to the deeper layers, which it typically can if you have a disrupted barrier, which that's just true, and vitiligo there is disruption there, what it does is it has the ability to spread or disperse the melanin pigment cells within the skin, and that has been shown to decrease the lesion of those hypopigmented areas in vitiligo. And how that works is that the thymoquinone, in addition to some of the other compounds in the Nigella sativa oil, that's our black cumin seed oil, it triggers a neurotransmitter that has activity within certain pigment cells. And by triggering it, it causes that dispersion. So it's a pretty cool mechanism of action. And again, something that you would need to do consistently and it might not work for everyone, but definitely something worth trying.

Jennifer Fugo (26:00.738)

And again, I think we should underscore the fact it's probably gonna take some time. It's not like, you don't use it once and go, oh my gosh, I'm fixed. That's not what's gonna happen. In terms of, so let's talk about, we've already kind of mentioned a few things about quality in terms of buying it on your own. So if I was to go to the store or online and buy just straight black cumin seed oil, what do I need to know in terms of quality to buy something that's not, like you said, already rancid, or not real, or not the right thing? What do we need to know?

Rachael Pontillo (26:40.586)

I do recommend that unless you are a trained aromatherapist, that you go with the carrier oil. That's really just gonna keep you safe and not put you at any risk for having too much of those active compounds on your skin or however you're using it. So that is going to be cold-pressed. You wanna look for the words cold-pressed, not solvent-extracted because solvent extraction can cause contaminants like hexane, which are very toxic, which can be responsible then for allergic or irritant skin reactions. So you definitely wanna look for those words, cold-pressed black cumin seed oil, okay? Organic when possible is always a good rule of thumb. And then in terms of sourcing, the highest quality with the most therapeutic value tends to come from Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, or India. So in the country of origin on the bottle, it will state where it was sourced from, okay? And then as I mentioned, after you open it, you're going to wanna keep that in the refrigerator just to prevent rancidity due to light exposure.

Jennifer Fugo (27:52.666)

Perfect. Now, if we have that bottle and we want to use it topically, what are some tips on how to dilute black cumin seed oil appropriately and how often and how much should we use?

Rachael Pontillo (28:09.234)

Okay, so I'm gonna speak mostly about the carrier oil since that's what we're mostly talking about today. Now, in theory, technically, there's no one saying that you can't use it at full strength, but as we've talked about prior, that might not be a pleasant experience for everyone depending on how sensitive you are, and obviously depends on where you're applying it. So we do recommend diluting it. Obviously we have it diluted as an ingredient in the Quell formulations, right? So I would say go with your comfort. If you're creating like, I don't know, a massage oil or a scalp oil with it, you might wanna mix it with something else like jojoba or moringa, which is another oil that we have in some of the Quell products. Apricot kernel is another one that's good for sensitive skin. Just to cut that a little bit and make it a little bit less potent, I would say.

And I would say go by how it feels on your skin, go by the smell as well. If the smell is really putting you off, that is kind of telling you that it's overloading your senses right now. So dilute it until the smell is not bothering you. And of course, obviously you want it to be comfortable when you apply it. If you are using, if you have come across a CO2 extract and you're like, oh, I wanna play with that, that is a lot more concentrated than the carrier oil. Typically the recommendation for that is no more than 10% of your concentration. So that means if you're mixing that with something like a jojoba oil, you would want 90% jojoba oil, 10% of that CO2 extract.

And then for the essential oil, 0.5% concentration, it's a really tiny amount. That would really just be a couple of drops and you would want that, again in a carrier, don't apply that directly to the skin because it will not be a pleasant experience. And then when you have a strong essential oil like that with a compound that is as potent as those thymol and the thymoquinone, you don't want to risk oversensitizing your skin from kind of overexposure to those constituents. So dilution keeps you safe and it does not really cut the efficacy because it is a very efficacious active compound as we've been able to see with those low dilutions in the studies.

Jennifer Fugo (30:47.598)

I'm wondering too if some of the people who've commented back saying, hey, I really reacted to this product. I'm almost wondering as you're talking about this, if maybe they purchased the CO2 extract and applied the wrong thing to their skin undiluted, because you see something online and you go, oh, they're all the same.

Rachael Pontillo (31:02.399)

No, it's true. And you know, even if you were to Google black cumin seed oil, you're gonna get search results of all different types. So you really do have to read those product descriptions and read the bottle if you're shopping in a store to know exactly what you're getting. But keep in mind, CO2 extractions and steam distillations of essential oils, those types of extracts are very expensive. They're always gonna be in much smaller bottles. So you can assume that if it's in a larger bottle, like the size of what you would buy, like a sesame oil or an olive oil at the store, that's gonna be your fixed or carrier oil. Just make sure you look for cold-pressed.

Jennifer Fugo (31:53.051)

Yeah, this is one reason why I will be honest, when you start getting into the dilution rates, I'm like, I don't have the bandwidth to, I will mess it up. Or I'll be so afraid that I messed it up that I just won't use it, which I know.

Rachael Pontillo (32:06.206)

I mean, honestly, it takes math and I, you know, there's no easy formula that like, this amount of drops equals this percentage because the drops don't always come out the same. You have to actually weigh it. It's formulation to do those dilutions correctly. So that's why I think in this case the carrier oil, or if you're able to find one that's already pre-diluted for you, that's a better bet.

Jennifer Fugo (32:31.618)

Yeah, and so for me, because I have learned from you, this is like the Goldilocks principle, right? You don't want too much, you don't want too little. You want just the right amount so that it has all of the properties that we want from it without some of the cons, the negative aspects of things, which is why I put in your hands my vision for the DermaQuell products, and I was like, I trust you.

So tell us if you could just share for a moment, you know, we incorporated in the black cumin seed oil into all three creams. What was the thought process, as you're the person that helped with this formulation? What was the thought process behind adding it?

Rachael Pontillo (33:18.262)

Yeah. So for anyone who has sensitive, irritated, rashed, angry skin, we're always gonna wanna put out that fire as much as possible. So we want something that has strong anti-inflammatory properties and that thymoquinone, it fits that bill. It has anti-inflammatory benefit as well as antioxidants, so it's going to combat any irritation brought in by free radicals, which does happen. But what's also really important is because some of these skin issues can have a little bit of an autoimmune component to it. And some of it also can be triggered by allergies or some sort of a histamine reaction. So this ingredient also addresses those issues.

So back to our little, you know, skin anatomy lesson. Within the epidermal layers of the skin, which is where topicals have their benefit, there are certain immune cells that help to protect our overall immune system. The skin itself has its own immune system, essentially. There are basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, mast cells. These all have immune function within, it's called the stratum granulosum layer, of the epidermis. So, we want to support those cells by working to keep free radicals away from them and let them do their jobs. So that's one benefit there.

But also it's pretty cool that thymoquinone has an antihistamine effect, which can help with the swelling and help calm reaction-prone skin too. So for those reasons, I thought it was just a really smart product to have, or smart ingredient to have, I should say, in the DermaQuell products, and obviously pair with that the fact that it has been shown to be generally very well tolerated, non-toxic, just has so much research showing its wound healing support. And it's also just, there's literature. If you were to look up studies, it has always been considered a good candidate for something to help with these common topical skin issues such as minor irritations, rashes, dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, even certain things that have a bacterial or a fungal component because there are antimicrobial effects of black cumin seed oil. So that was just a lot of reasons to include it and really there's no reason not to. So we have it in there at a very nice, efficacious level for you without being too overpowering.

Jennifer Fugo (36:10.358)

Yeah, and there's no smelliness. I will say, there's no weird, like you were saying.

Rachael Pontillo (36:16.99)

I just don't always want to slather myself with, you know, something that smells like it should be in my salad.

Jennifer Fugo (36:19.337)

Yeah. I love herbs, but I don't want to walk into a room and everyone's like, oh, the chicken is here. You roast the chicken with these herbs. No, I don't want that.

Rachael Pontillo (36:32.694)

Yes. So there is no scent, the Quell products, DermaQuell is very, very mild, natural smelling, but it's definitely not anything that's going to be like somebody was just cooking.

Jennifer Fugo (36:51.394)

Well, Rachel, first of all, I just want to thank you so much for being here and sharing all of this information about black seed oil benefits and helping to answer everybody's questions. I also want to make sure that everybody knows that we do have a sample kit available, which I'll link up in the show notes. Because like you, I bought a lot of stuff when I was going through rashes. And my gosh, I spent so much money on these big bottles of things that just made things worse or I just didn't feel good about, and so we really wanted to make it possible for you to test them out to make sure that they actually feel good on your skin and work for you. And so we'll link all that up in the show notes. And then if anyone wants to connect with you, how can they reach you?

Rachael Pontillo (37:32.606)

I think at this point, the best place to reach me is on Instagram, @RachelPontillo or @NutritionalAesthetics, either/or, I have some great content there if you want to learn more about this kind of stuff.

Jennifer Fugo (37:46.266)

Perfect. Well, thank you so much for joining us. And as always, I'm sure you'll be back. And I really always deeply appreciate you being here because of the deep amount of knowledge and wisdom that you bring to this entire conversation, that's also very balanced and lacks the shock value. I'm not into the shock value. I want to understand how it could be helpful, know the pros, the cons, so that way I can make an informed decision. So I just really deeply appreciate you for that.

Rachael Pontillo (38:15.231)

My pleasure. Thank you so much.

black seed oil benefits