SAFFLOWER OIL FOR SKIN
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on May 30, 2018 — Written by Kristeen Cherney Overview
Some people are increasingly using safflower on their skin, in both body oil and essential oil forms. It can also be found as an ingredient in commercial skin care products.
While safflower oil has potential benefits for your skin, such uses haven’t been widely studied or backed by science.
The safflower plant (Carthamus tinctorius) is known for its bright yellow and orange flowers. Pure safflower oil is made from the seeds of the plant.
Safflower oil for skin
There are potential benefits of safflower oil for your skin, but scientific research behind such claims isn’t solid. Some anecdotal research indicates that safflower oil may have pain-relieving effects, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Safflower oil may also be used topically in certain skin care products and cosmetics due to its moisturizing effects. The oil can give your skin a smoother appearance and make it softer.
Safflower oil vs. safflower essential oil
Safflower cooking oil is the edible version of pressed seeds of the plant. As a thick liquid, it’s similar in composition to vegetable oil. It’s commonly used in cooking and medicine, though it may also be used on your skin.
Safflower oil is also used as a carrier oil for other essential oils.
Essential oil versions of safflower are the distilled or pressed versions of the petals and flowering parts of the plant. Despite the name, these don’t have the oily texture that cooking oil versions do. Pure essential safflower oil must be diluted before applying to your skin. You also shouldn’t ingest essential oils due to their more potent nature and other ingredients.
How can you use safflower oil for your skin?
Prepared cosmetics containing safflower oil don’t require any special instructions. Simply follow product directions.
Pure, edible versions of safflower oil and safflower body oil may be applied to your skin without any preparation.
Safflower essential oils, on the other hand, must be diluted prior to application. Apply a few drops to a small amount of carrier oil before applying. If you’re looking for extra moisture, try coconut or almond oils. Jojoba and grapeseed oils are better suited carriers for oily skin.
Since safflower oil is considered generally safe for consumer use, it may be safe to use daily. Essential oils are more potent and are designed for short-term use only. Discontinue use if you notice any signs of irritation or reactions, such as rash or hives.
You should also remember the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor or regulate the quality or purity of essential oils. It’s important to be sure you’re choosing a quality brand.
Safflower oil for acne
While it may seem counterproductive to apply oil to acne, safflower oil is found to be noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. Its anti-inflammatory effects may also be potentially helpful in treating pimples and acne spots. It may also help unclog your pores when used a few times per week.
You can use safflower oil as a spot treatment by leaving it on overnight. You can also make a face mask:
Combine safflower oil with oatmeal and honey.
Apply the mixture to all or part of your face.
Rinse with water after 10 minutes.
Safflower oil for eczema
Eczema is a common skin condition. The symptoms of eczema are actually inflammatory responses. While severe eczema might require medication, you may also help treat skin patches through diet and topical ointments.
Dietary benefits of safflower oil include helping your body process oil-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and E. These antioxidant-rich vitamins are important in keeping your cells in good health.
As a topical moisturizer, the linoleic acid in safflower oil is thought to help maintain the integrity of the outer layer of your skin by preventing flaking.
Apply pure safflower oil directly to your eczema as often as desired. If you’re using diluted essential oil, use only once or twice per day.
What are the risks of using safflower oil for your skin?
The FDA considers safflower oil an “indirect food additive” that’s widely used in the commercial food market. There are no widespread concerns for the use of safflower oil both internally and externally for your skin.
Still, like any new skin care ingredient, you can determine your sensitivity to safflower oil by testing it on your skin beforehand. This process is called a patch test. Place a small amount of new product on your forearm and wait a period of 24 to 48 hours to see if you have any adverse reactions. Unless you develop a rash or irritation, it should be safe to use safflower oil.
As a caution, you may have gastrointestinal side effects if you take safflower essential oils internally.
Safflower oil is used in commercial cosmetics as a moisturizing additive. The use of pure safflower oil and essential oils, on the other hand, aren’t clinically proven to cure any skin care concerns. While generally safe, there’s still a risk of irritation when applied topically. If you continue to experience symptoms of acne, eczema, and other inflammatory skin conditions, you may want to make an appointment with your dermatologist.