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Here’s Why Sesame Oil Is a Must-Try Skincare Ingredient


Sesame Oil Benefits For Skin: Here's What You Should Know

Sesame oil for skin has many benefits. Here at Kiehl's, we break down ways you can make sesame oil part of your skincare routine.

Featured in everything from hummus to bagels to a classic Chinese stir-fry, sesame seeds are undoubtedly a well-known (and widely-loved) ingredient. The seeds’ nutty flavor lends itself well to a vast array of cuisines and dishes, and their nutritional benefits are well-documented. And like many other plant seeds, they contain an oil that, when extracted and applied topically, can be beneficial for the skin. Sesame oil benefits for the skin are primarily linked to the oil’s emollient properties, as well as its high concentration of fatty acids and phenols (a type of natural antioxidant). Here, we’ll break down how sesame seed oil benefits the skin, plus introduce you to some of our favorite products featuring this powerful plant ingredient.

What Is Sesame Oil?

Sesame oil is a rich, nutty oil obtained from the seeds of the sesame (Sesamum indicum) plant, which is grown in warm climates worldwide. Evidence suggests that sesame oil was one of the first crops to produce oil: Usage in China and India can be traced back nearly 3,000 years.I Its widespread use is likely due to the oil’s high concentration of fatty acids, including linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acid. It also contains a number of unique compounds, known collectively as sesame lignans—many of which are believed to possess antioxidant properties.

Is Sesame Oil Good For Skin?

There are several benefits of sesame seed oil for skin, the most notable of which is its function as an emollient. Emollients are generally defined as a type of moisturizing ingredient that helps hydrate, soften, and smooth the skin. Like many other plant oils, sesame seed oil also has occlusive properties, which means it can help trap moisture in the skin. This can make it a beneficial ingredient for those with dry skin, as well as those looking to protect their skin from drying external stressors like wind or cold air.

Try These 6 Kiehl’s Favorites With Sesame Seed Oil

Now that you’re caught up on some of sesame oil’s benefits for skin, keep reading to discover six Kiehl’s favorites starring this powerful plant oil.

1. Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter

Sesame seed oil is one of several plant-derived oils in our cult-classic Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter. Also containing squalane, cocoa butter, and shea butter, this rich yet non-greasy moisturizer absorbs quickly and helps hydrate the skin. Massage the iconic lotion onto your body after showering or bathing for skin that feels soft, smooth, and beautifully moisturized.

2.Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil

For those who prefer oils to traditional creams or lotions, we have Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil. The sprayable body oil, which contains sesame seed oil alongside squalane and grapeseed oil, delivers nourishing hydration to help soften the skin. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly, leaving skin residue-free and dry to the touch.

3. Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish

Shower care products, such as Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish, can provide another opportunity to use sesame seed oil for skin. Formulated with sesame oil, shea butter, and sweet almond oil, this decadent body scrub exfoliates without over-drying the skin and leaves it primed for moisture. The gentle body polish is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily or as needed for softer, smoother-feeling skin.

4. Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

Sesame seed oil is one of the key ingredients in our classic Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, which is formulated specifically for severely dry, active hands. The heavy-duty salve draws and absorbs water from the air to form a glove-like barrier, helping to protect the hands from moisture loss caused by external stressors. We recommend applying this soothing hand cream after washing your hands and as needed throughout the day to help keep your hands feeling soft, conditioned, and cared for.

Kiehl’s Tip: To help nourish dry hands overnight, apply a thick layer of the salve, then slip on a pair of breathable cotton gloves. Go to sleep and remove the gloves in the morning when you wake for soft, smooth skin. (This trick can also be applied to your feet: Apply plenty of foot cream, then put on socks to trap it there!)

5. Original Musk Body Lotion

If you’re someone who likes a little fragrance with their body care products, try our classic Original Musk Body Lotion. Inspired by our Original Musk Oil (also known as “Love Oil”), this lightweight lotion boasts a fresh, citrusy scent with notes of bergamot, orange blossom, and musk. In addition to its signature scent, the luxurious body lotion is a superb moisturizer suitable for all skin types. Apply it daily after showering for silky-smooth, beautifully-fragranced skin.

6. Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle

When formulated properly, sesame seed oil can be used on the face, too. You’ll find it in our Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream with Menthol White Eagle, a men’s shaving cream suitable for all skin types. Smooth the brushless formula directly onto dry skin before shaving for a close, comfortable shave, then follow with the toner or aftershave of your choice.


I. Wu, Ming-Shun et al. “Anti-Inflammatory and Anticancer Properties of Bioactive Compounds from Sesamum indicum L.-A Review.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,24 4426. 4 Dec. 2019.

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