Safflower Oil For Skin: Benefits, Usage, And Side Effects

Written by Ramona Sinha

Oils are well-known emollients beneficial for skin care. But, have you heard of safflower oil? Similar to sunflower oil, safflower oil is quite effective in protecting the skin and improving its appearance and health. It also hydrates the skin and fights off fungal and bacterial infections. Here, we explain the benefits of safflower oil and how to use it right. Keep reading.

What Is Safflower Oil/How Is Safflower Oil Made

Safflower oil is extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant, Carthamus tinctorius. The plant is native to Egypt, East Asia, and the Western coasts of North America. Safflower oil is obtained by cold pressing or conventional solvent extraction methods. It is a well-known food oil due to its light taste. But its popularity in the skincare industry is on the rise.

Safflower oil has a rich linoleic acid content, making it good for the skin. Apart from that, it has many other benefits for the skin.

Benefits Of Safflower Oil For Skin

  • Treats Skin Disorders: Safflower oil is used to treat skin infections. It may also help reduce the risk of skin cancer (1). The oil may also help accelerate wound healing (2).
  • Has Antimicrobial Properties: The oil has good antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties (2). It fights yeast, fungi, and bacteria that hinder wound healing.
  • Offers Nutritive Benefits: Safflower oil is often used in cosmetic products as an emollient (3). It is rich in oleic, linoleic, and omega-6 fatty acids (1). The high linoleic acid content improves skin appearance. It also keeps the skin from drying and flaking (3). Linoleic acid contains vitamins A, D, E, and K (3). Vitamin E helps improve skin health. Safflower oil helps treat essential fatty acid deficiencies and soothes irritated and abraded skin (3).
  • Helps Inhibit Melanin: Safflower seeds contain serotonin derivatives and acacetin that inhibit melanin formation and help improve skin complexion (1). This suggests it may help lighten dark circles, dark spots, and other skin discolorations.
  • Boosts Skin Hydration: Safflower oil moisturizes the skin and protects it. It boosts skin hydration and prevents water loss (4). The oil is also believed to regulate the skin barrier function.
  • Soothes Skin: The oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect the skin (5). It also can be used to treat pimples and acne (1).
  • Has Antioxidant Properties: Safflower oil contains polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and chlorophylls that have high antioxidant properties (2). These antioxidant properties help fight oxidative damage and promote skin health. Research shows that creams containing safflower oil may prevent photodamage and reduce signs of skin aging (6).

These are the benefits safflower oil could have on your skin. That said, are you aware that safflower oil is available in two types?

Types Of Safflower Oil

  • Regular Safflower oil: This oil is thick in consistency and odorless. It is extracted from safflower seeds and may be used for cooking and cosmetic and medicinal purposes. It is safe to be applied to the skin. Regular safflower oil can be further classified into two types distinguished by the content of their unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Linoleic Safflower oil: This oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. It contains 68-79% of linoleic acid (3), (7). Due to its high content of linoleic acid, it is often used in skincare cosmetics too.
  • Oleic Safflower oil: This oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. It is predominantly used as an edible oil in the food industry due to its lower saturated fat content.
  • Safflower Essential Oil: This oil is extracted from the petals of safflowers and pressed and distilled. It can be paired with other essential and carrier oils for enhanced skin care benefits. It cannot be ingested but only applied topically.

Here are some ways you can use safflower oil to benefit your skin.

How To Use Safflower Oil For Skin

1.Safflower Oil For Acne

Safflower oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used in the treatment of acne vulgaris and pimples. The oil also enhances wound healing and helps heal acne lesions or scars.

What You Need

  • Honey, 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Oatmeal, 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Safflower oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons


  1. Mix the honey, oatmeal, and safflower oil.
  2. Whisk the mixture thoroughly.
  3. Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes.
  4. Wet your face a little and start scrubbing gently to get rid of the mask.
  5. Clean your face with cold water and pat it dry.
  6. Follow with a moisturizer.

2. Safflower Oil For Eczema

Eczema is an itchy skin inflammatory condition. It makes the skin barrier dysfunctional. Its best treatment options include emollients and topical anti-inflammatory products (7). Safflower oil is known to improve the protective skin barrier function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents the skin from drying and flaking.

What You Need

  • Safflower oil, a few drops, or as needed

Note: You can also pair safflower oil with essential oil.


  1. Apply a little safflower oil to the affected area once or twice a day and let it get absorbed completely.
  2. You may also apply it before you go to bed and leave it on overnight.

3. Safflower Oil For Wrinkles

Safflower oil is known for improving skin texture and promoting skin cell renewal, thanks to its linoleic acid. Using it daily improves your skin health and tone. The oil’s antioxidant properties help fight the signs of aging, including wrinkles.

What You Need

  • Safflower oil, a few drops, or as needed


  1. Apply safflower oil to your face before you hit the bed every night. Wash it off the next morning.
  2. You can also mix it with other essential oils like lavender or tea tree. You may even use safflower oil as an alternative to moisturizer.

4. Safflower Oil For Dark Circles And Skin Lightening

Daily sun exposure, environmental damage, and other extrinsic factors constantly bombard the skin and affect its health. This damage appears as early signs of aging, dark circles, dark spots, discoloration, and photodamage. Safflower oil can be used for melanin inhibition (1). It may help lighten the dark circles, dark spots, and other discolorations.

What You Need

  • Safflower oil, a few drops


  1. Gently apply a few drops of safflower oil around your eyes with your fingertips just before you sleep. The oil works as a great under-eye serum.
  2. Apply it all over your face and follow it up with your nighttime skincare routine to accelerate the skin-lightening process.

5. Safflower Oil For Enhanced Skin Moisture

The non-greasy texture of safflower oil makes it an excellent skin moisturizing agent. It is similar to a humectant and helps maintain your skin’s moisture balance.

What You Need

  • Safflower oil, a few drops

How To

  • If you use an oil-based face mask, you can replace that oil with safflower oil or add a few drops of safflower oil to the existing recipe.
  • For everyday use, add 15 drops of safflower to a bottle. Combine it with another carrier oil (you can use sweet almond or grapeseed oils).
  • Apply a small amount of the blend to your face twice a day. It protects your skin from the sun during the day and keeps it moisturized when left overnight.

Can you apply safflower oil as often as you want? Or does it have any side effects?

Side Effects Of Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is used in many cosmetic products such as moisturizers and suntan lotions. It is generally considered to be safe and non-toxic. It is often used to treat abraded and irritated skin. However, a study conducted on animals showed that undiluted safflower oil may cause minimal skin irritation (3). Safflower oil also may be mildly comedogenic, which might irritate the skin. Therefore, a patch test should be done to check for any adverse or allergic reactions to the skin.

Safflower oil is similar to sunflower oil, known for its skin benefits. So what sets safflower oil apart from sunflower oil?

Sunflower Oil Vs. Safflower Oil For Skin

When it comes to skincare, sunflower oil is relatively similar to safflower oil. They both contain high amounts of linoleic acid. They are also known to improve skin barrier function and are great emollients that improve skin health.

However, safflower oil is not as well-known and researched as sunflower oil. It also has a lower content of saturated fat when compared to sunflower oil.


Safflower oil is an excellent addition to your skincare routine. It protects the skin, improves its appearance and feel, and reduces signs of aging. However, stay away from undiluted safflower oil as it might irritate the skin. Performing a patch test prior to applying the oil can help. Start using safflower oil today.

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