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Sunflower oil contains several compounds that have benefits for skin. They include:
- oleic acid
- vitamin E
- linoleic acid
Sunflower oil is a non-comedogenic carrier oil which is highly absorbent, and won’t clog pores. It’s non-irritating for most people, and can be used on all types of skin, including dry, normal, oily, and acne-prone.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect skin from free radicals and from adverse effects of the sun, such as premature aging and wrinkles. Using a skincare product formulated with sunflower oil is a good way to obtain vitamin E’s benefits for skin.
Eating foods prepared with sunflower oil is another way, although there are other plant oils, such as olive oil, that may be more beneficial nutritionally.
Linoleic acid helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, supporting its ability to retain moisture. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect when used topically. This makes it beneficial for dry skin and for conditions, such as eczema.
A small study with 19 volunteers, which contrasted the benefits of topically applied sunflower oil to olive oil, found that sunflower oil was more effective at improving skin hydration and maintaining the integrity of the skin’s outer layer.
The linoleic acid in sunflower oil makes it effective for protecting skin against bacteria and germs. A study done in 2008 on premature infants in Bangladesh found that topical application of sunflower oil significantly reduced infant mortality caused by hospital-acquired infections, such as sepsis.
A small animal study also found that topical use of sunflower oil was beneficial for healing wounds faster. This may be due to its oleic acid content, which can be beneficial for wound care.
An animal study done in 2004 found that sesame oil and its component, sesamol, had chemopreventive properties in mice with skin cancer, but also indicated that more study is needed to ascertain their full potential.
How to use it
There are many ways you can use sunflower oil on your skin. These include the application of creams and lotions that contain sunflower oil as an ingredient.
You can also use organic, cold-pressed sunflower oil on your face and body for moisturizing or for massage:
- Pour a small amount of sunflower oil directly into your palm.
- Massage gently into skin until it is completely absorbed.
- If you use sunflower oil on your face, try to avoid getting it into your eyes, as it may cause temporarily blurred vision.
- Since sunflower oil is a carrier oil, you can mix a small amount of any essential oil you choose into it, for added skin benefits or for an enhanced scent.
If you are planning on using sunflower oil for your skin, it may make sense to opt for an organic, cold-pressed variety. Other extraction processes may introduce additives to the resulting oil to change or diminish its benefits.
Shop for sunflower oil skincare products.
What are drawbacks of sunflower oil?
Sunflower oil is non-irritating, and typically safe for most skin types.
- Test first if you have seed or nut allergies. If you are allergic to sunflower seeds, you may be able to consume highly refined versions of sunflower oil. If you have any seed or nut allergies, talk to your doctor; it may make sense to have a scratch test done by an allergist, prior to using sunflower oil on your skin.
- May not be good for those with ragweed allergies. Some people with ragweed allergies also have a sensitivity or allergy to sunflower oil.
Where sunflower oil comes from
Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower plant. There are many varieties of sunflowers. Most sunflower oil comes from the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
Sunflowers are native to North and South America, and have been used as a food and ornamental source for centuries.
Sunflower oil is usually obtained via cold-press extraction. It’s also acquired in mass quantities through a variety of seed pressing and crude oil refining techniques. Sunflower oil ranks as the fourth largest oil crop in worldwide industrial production today.
Sunflower oil is also referred to as sunflower seed oil. It can range in color from clear to amber yellow.
Today, sunflower oil is used worldwide for cooking, and can be found in many commercially prepared and processed foods. It is also used in paint and as an ingredient in skin care products.
Sunflower oil is a non-comedogenic carrier oil that’s good for any skin type. Organic, cold-pressed oil may be the best kind to use for skin.