We usually consider sunflower oil in a supportive role when it comes to skin care. Not surprising because it is widely used as a base oil for massages and as a carrier for essential oils. But this nutty oil can be a star in its own right! Its omega 6 linoleic acid and vitamin E content has a host of benefits lined up for your skin.1 Here’s a look at all that sunflower oil can do:
1. Keeps Skin Moisturized
Do you struggle with dry, rough skin? Sunflower oil can have a soothing effect. It improves hydration by forming a protective emollient on your skin, stopping moisture from escaping. One study compared the effect of applying sunflower oil and olive on the skin for a period of 4 weeks. They found that sunflower oil preserved the integrity of the outer layer of skin and improved hydration while olive oil reduced skin integrity and had a mild reddening effect.2 Emollients work best when your skin is damp, so dampen your skin and apply a little sunflower oil for beautifully hydrated skin.
2. Improves The Barrier Function Of Skin
Dab on some sunflower oil right after a bath when your skin is damp. You can even add a couple of drops to your bathwater.
Sunflower oil can amp up the protective power of your skin! Your skin functions as a physical barrier protecting you from invading germs. Sunflower oil can help the skin by enhancing its barrier function. One study looked at the effect of applying sunflower oil on the skin of preterm babies. It was found that treatment with sunflower oil decreased infection and resulted in a 26% reduction in mortality rates.3
3. Has An Anti-Aging Effect
Sun exposure plays a significant part in bringing about skin changes that we’ve come to accept as a part of normal aging. But the application of vitamin E, which is present in sunflower oil, can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure as well as smoothen skin. It can also help it maintain moisture and speed up the growth of new skin.4 So, for younger looking skin, dab on a little sunflower oil.
4. May Help Treat Acne
Sunflower oil may be able to get rid of your zits. How does it work? Low levels of linoleic acid are thought to cause hyperkeratinization, where an increase in keratin causes dead skin cells to stick together instead of being sloughed off. This leads to clogged skin pores and pimples. One study found that applying linoleic reduced the size of plugged pores or microcomedones by almost 25% in a month. So by applying sunflower oil, you may be able to stop microcomedones in your skin from turning into whiteheads or blackheads.5
5. May Have A Skin-Brightening Effect
Linoleic acid may also give sunflower oil skin-lightening properties. Studies have found that linoleic acid can reduce hyperpigmentation caused by ultraviolet radiation. It does this by suppressing the production of melanin, the pigment which gives skin its color. It may also enhance the shedding of melanin from the outer layer of your skin. So if you’re looking to get rid of your tan, applying some sunflower oil might help. 6
6. May Help Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition which causes reddish, itchy skin. And emollients are commonly used to improve this condition. Research has found that using a cream containing sunflower oil along with a topical steroid can benefit people with atopic dermatitis. The cream was found to have a significant effect on the presence of thick rough skin, scratching, and quality of life. In fact, it even resulted in a reduction in the use of the steroid. 7 8 Talk to your dermatologist about using a sunflower oil-based product or plain sunflower oil alongside other treatments.
7. May Fight Athlete’s Foot When Ozonized
Ozonized sunflower oil is essentially sunflower oil which is infused with ozone. And it has potent germicidal properties which help it treat athlete’s foot. One study found that when ozonized sunflower oil was applied topically twice a day for 6 weeks, 75% of the participants were completely cured of this fungal skin infection. Moreover, during follow-up 6 months later, it was found that the participants had not experienced a recurrence of the infection.9
|↑1||DK. Neal’s Yard Beauty Book. Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 2015.|
|↑2||Danby, Simon G., Tareq AlEnezi, Amani Sultan, Tina Lavender, John Chittock, Kirsty Brown, and Michael J. Cork. “Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care.” Pediatric Dermatology 30, no. 1 (2013): 42-50.|
|↑3||Darmstadt, Gary L., Samir K. Saha, ASM Nawshad Uddin Ahmed, Saifuddin Ahmed, MAK Azad Chowdhury, Paul A. Law, Rebecca E. Rosenberg, Robert E. Black, and Mathuram Santosham. “Effect of skin barrier therapy on neonatal mortality rates in preterm infants in Bangladesh: a randomized, controlled, clinical trial.” Pediatrics 121, no. 3 (2008): 522-529.|
|↑4||Ganceviciene, Ruta, Aikaterini I. Liakou, Athanasios Theodoridis, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Skin anti-aging strategies.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 308-319.|
|↑5||Letawe, C., M. Boone, and G. E. Pierard. “Digital image analysis of the effect of topically applied linoleic acid on acne microcomedones.” Clinical and experimental dermatology 23, no. 2 (1998): 56-58.|
|↑6||Ando, Hideya, Atsuko Ryu, Akira Hashimoto, Masahiro Oka, and Masamitsu Ichihashi. “Linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation of the skin.” Archives of dermatological research 290, no. 7 (1998): 375-381.|
|↑7||Natural and Alternative Treatments for Eczema, What Works, What Doesn’t. National Eczema Association.|
|↑8||Msika, Philippe, Clarence De Belilovsky, Nathalie Piccardi, Nathalie Chebassier, Caroline Baudouin, and Bernard Chadoutaud. “New Emollient with Topical Corticosteroid‐Sparing Effect in Treatment of Childhood Atopic Dermatitis: SCORAD and Quality of Life Improvement.” Pediatric Dermatology 25, no. 6 (2008): 606-612.|
|↑9||Menendez, S., L. Falcon, D. R. Simon, and N. Landa. “Efficacy of ozonized sunflower oil in the treatment of tinea pedis.” Mycoses 45, no. 7‐8 (2002): 329-332.|