No, black cumin seed oil does not provide sun protection

By: Emmi Kivi
June 27 2023

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No, black cumin seed oil does not provide sun protection


The Verdict False

Research and medical experts recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen for sun protection. Black cumin seed oil does not possess sufficient properties.

Claim ID ce4dcd94


A TikTok video falsely claims that daily consumption of black cumin seed oil provides sun protection and is a healthier alternative to sunblock products. The video went viral with over 360,000 likes and 24,000 shares. 

Alternative medicine endorsers, product sellers, and private social media users primarily promote the health benefits of natural sun protection. Such claims should be approached cautiously, as they rarely present scientifically proven information. Similar claims on Facebook recommending plant oils as the sole sun protection product have been de-bunked by Lead Stories. Logically Facts has previously refuted claims that sunscreens are hazardous to health.

In Fact

Black cumin, derived from black seeds (Nigella sativa), contains thymoquinone, which some studies have shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory potential. However, according to Medical News Today, “many studies to date have used cells or animals as models, and there is limited research available on the effects of black seed oil in humans.” Studies do not indicate the sun protection properties of black seed oil.

Sun protection factor (SPF) is vital in shielding the skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancers caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. SPF indicates the level of sunscreen protection, with values ranging between 2–50+, the latter being the strongest form of protection. The FDA recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF values of 15 or higher. 

Scientific research does not support the use of black seed oil for sun protection. Research conducted by the International Journal of PharmTech Research observed the SPF level of Nigella sativa to be between 1 and 2. More broadly, a study on herbal oils shared by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that “the SPF values found for nonvolatile oils were between 2 and 8; and for volatile oils, in between 1 and 7.” The research does not study the potential of plant oils as a replacement for broad-spectrum sunscreen. The studies investigate their potential as an ingredient in future sun protection or pharmaceutical products. 

The FDA regulates sunblock and sunscreens to ensure they meet safety and effectiveness standards; products must undergo regular and specific tests before being sold. Similarly, sunscreen products sold in the EU market are regulated by EU Cosmetics Regulation legislation and undergo standardized testing to ensure their safety for consumers.

The Verdict

Research and medical experts recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen for sun protection, along with seeking shade, limiting sun exposure, and wearing protective clothing. Despite other potential health benefits, black cumin seed oil does not possess sufficient properties to protect from the sun and replace the use of sunblocks or sunscreens. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before