I was hired on the same day as my co-founder, Bryan Wilkinson, back in 2017. Sitting in that conference room with HR, we were mentally sizing each other up, figuring out what we’d have to do to climb the ladder over the other. Nowadays we laugh at how it was just a week before we ended up becoming close friends – essentially becoming “the duo” in our team. We’d feed on each other’s energy to get us through the day and get work done, but there was one bit that Bryan shared early on that changed my lifestyle. The ketogenic diet.
I’ve definitely known about the ketogenic diet beforehand. A lifelong friend of mine had recently followed it and lost a crazy amount of weight. It wasn’t until Bryan raved about the mental benefits of keto that I turned my diet around and went gung-ho on keto. Doing keto is amazing. The clarity and focus I get during the day means that I get things done like a boss, and that’s especially true the deeper I get into keto. However, there was one caveat that lurked near the start of my diet change. Within a few weeks, I ended up getting some weird looking rash on my sides. Honestly, I thought nothing of it since I knew I had pretty sensitive skin and rashes weren’t all too uncommon. They just came and went. This time, it came but never left. In fact, what started as just benign bumps turned into one of the worst burning and itching sensations I’ve ever felt in my life.
I honestly had no idea what it was. From potential chemical exposure at my job to the seltzer water I started drinking, I wracked my brain trying to figure out what the heck was happening. At this point I was feeling fantastic with the keto diet, and my obsession with it prevented me from ever considering anything going wrong with keto. One night, however, I became a bit skeptical and Googled “rash while on keto.” I came across a website, https://theketorash.com/, and read through the symptoms and causes. That’s when I knew.
This news was a real bummer. How was I supposed to keep the benefits of keto while not going crazy over the rash? My first reaction was eating more carbs, and eventually experimenting to get a minimum amount of carbs I could eat to fend off the rash while staying in some level of ketosis. But that really wasn’t the ideal – I made carbs the enemy and didn’t want them. I actually dealt with the rash on and off for months until I found my answer. A random reddit post (found by my girlfriend, Bri) led me to Black Seed Oil.
Bri went ahead and found some black seed oil at a local Whole Foods and brought it home. I gave it a whiff, and MAN was it strong. I gave it a taste, and every meal that day had this pungent oil flavor tainting it. Despite this, I figured I’d give it a try. If it didn’t work, it’d just be a quick shower to rinse off the oil and go back to carbs.
Boy was I in for a treat.
The next morning, I noticed that the redness and puffiness of the rash was actually diminishing. I slapped on some more before going to work, hoping it’d keep treating the keto rash. Although the symptoms weren’t gone, I definitely noticed changes over the coming days. This stuff was somehow working.
Being a trained scientist, I wasn’t going to fall for any snake oil. Sure, “natural remedies” can and have helped people with plenty of ailments, but trusting some random reddit post wasn’t going to cut it. Bryan and I did some research and we found some crazy reports, some of which are mentioned in our Research section. We found the compound that does all the hard work, “thymoquinone.” Some more reading led to me being absolutely convinced that this could be a potential keto rash cure. Obviously more accredited experiments need to be done, but I wasn’t the first to agree on the benefits of this oil, and I certainly won’t be the last.
From there, we knew that we had something great in our hands. The rest is history.