Sunflower Oil, which has been used by Native Americans for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes, is now used in a wide variety of cosmetic products, although often in very small concentrations. But is Sunflower Oil one of those natural ingredients that look good on the label but do nothing, or does it actually provide some benefits to the skin? Let’s find out:
What is Sunflower Oil?
Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annuus) is an oil, clear to pale gold in color, extracted from the seeds of the sunflower. It is made up mostly of Linoleic Acid (48-74%), Oleic Acid (14-40%), Palmitic Acid (4-9%) and Stearic Acid (1-7%). Several types of this oil are produced, such as high linoleic, high oleic (it contains at least 82% oleic acid) and mid oleic (it has at least 69% linoleic acid). The variations in these unsaturated fatty acids profiles are due to both the climate and the genetics of the plant. But they all contain a very high amount of Vitamin E.
Benefits of Sunflower Oil
Sunflower Oil is used in cosmetics because of its moisturizing properties. This oil forms a barrier on the skin that retains moisture but still allows skin to breathe, keeping it soft and hydrated. It helps improve the appearance of dry skin and is suitable for those with sensitive skin as well. A 2005 study has also discovered that Sunflower Oil lowers the rate of infections in low-birth-weight premature infants, performing better than Aquaphor, a petrolatum based product. The skin of premature babies is underdeveloped and thus more prone to infections. Sunflower Oil is able to reduce this risk because of its ability to create a protective barrier on the skin. In addition to help strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, Sunflower Oil has antimicrobial properties (J. Appl. Microbiol. 2001;90:279-84) and is sometimes used to treat psoriasis (Phytother. Res. 2003;17:987-1000).
Have you ever used Sunflower Oil?