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What Are the Benefits of Safflower Oil for Skin?

By Kaitlyn McNab, she/her

For many of us, the changing seasons means changing skin. The largest organ in our body tries its best to adapt to our fluctuating environments—whether it be more sun exposure and more humidity, or less humidity and harsh winds—but the stress to protect itself may manifest in sensitization, inflammation, or breakouts. Friendly, potent, restorative ingredients are essential during transitional periods. And if you’re looking to add some equilibrium to this season’s skincare routine, safflower oil is one of those standout ingredients to consider. 

Safflower oil comes from the safflower plant, which is native to parts of Africa and Asia with warm-colored blossoms. The safflower plant is a multi-purpose powerhouse. Historically, the safflower flowers have been (and still are) used in southwestern Asia for textile dyes. Each flower produces around 15-30 seeds, and safflower oil is cultivated by cold pressing these seeds to release the oil. Safflower oil is nutrient-dense, containing high levels of vitamin E, vitamin F, and fatty acids omega-6 and omega-9. Such nutritious benefits also make safflower oil a popular kitchen ingredient for cooking.

Dee Leung, Sales + Education Executive at Youth To The People, was tapped to share an exhaustive list of benefits for safflower oil.

“Safflower oil is a truly impressive ingredient!” Leung says. “It supports the skin’s barrier function and reduces inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory antioxidants assist with cleaning up previous environmental damage and protect against future damage.”

Safflower oil may be best known for its moisturizing abilities, but it is not a one-hit wonder. More lesser-known capabilities of the ingredient include its promotion of cell regeneration, reduction of hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin production, acceleration of wound healing, and its antimicrobial properties.

According to Leung, safflower oil is beneficial for all skin types, particularly for those experiencing inflamed skin and disrupted barriers due to conditions like eczema, acne, or psoriasis. 

“Safflower is rich in linoleic acid, or vitamin F, which is the building block for ceramides,” says Leung. “Ceramides support our natural protective barrier leading to an improved ability to maintain hydration and prevent irritants from entering the skin."

For that reason, safflower oil is most often used in skincare as an emollient and can be found in cleansing balms, serums, oils, moisturizers, and masks. Youth To The People utilizes safflower oil in the Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial as well as the Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask. Safflower oil has a light, non-comedogenic, non-greasy consistency that makes it easily absorbed by the skin without resting on the surface, meaning instant moisturization. Short-term, safflower oil delivers a boost in hydration and immediate inflammation relief. Long-term, safflower oil works to reverse free-radical damage and support barrier repair.

A secure moisture and protective barrier maintains skin hydration and prevents damage from irritants, such as rapidly changing environmental stressors. Safflower oil’s alleviating qualities make it an optimal ingredient for any skin routine seeking balance—and truthfully, we could all use a little more balance in our lives.

Written by Kaitlyn McNab for Youth To The People