Beloved for their sunny golden petals and ability to grow impressively tall, sunflowers can be found in gardens around the world. Besides their association with warm weather and cheer, sunflowers also boast edible seeds, which, when pressed, yield sunflower oil. This golden-yellow oil is packed with skin-friendly compounds, including fatty acids and antioxidants. While perhaps not as well-known as other beauty oils like squalane or coconut oil, sunflower oil’s benefits for skin are well-documented—which is why you’ll find this plant oil in a wide variety of Kiehl’s products for your skin and body.
As for what makes sunflower seed oil good for skin, it mostly comes down to the oil’s composition. Here, we’ll give you a rundown on what sunflower oil is and review its properties, plus clue you in on some of the most notable benefits of sunflower oil for skin. We’ll also introduce you to our favorite Kiehl’s products made with sunflower oil and teach you how to use these staples in your routine. Get ready to dive in with the Kiehl’s guide to sunflower oil benefits for skin.
What Is Sunflower Oil?
Worldwide, there are around 70 different species of sunflower—the most well-known is the common sunflower, or Helianthus annus. Sunflower oil is the oil extracted from the flower’s edible seeds. It’s light yellow in color and has a mild taste, making it a popular cooking oil in much of the world. Aside from its culinary uses, sunflower oil is often used in body care products, including soaps. It’s rich in vitamin E and contains an array of fatty acids, including linoleic acid (which also occurs naturally within the skin).
What Are The Benefits of Sunflower Seed Oil For Skin?
As we mentioned earlier, sunflower oil boasts multiple beauty benefits when used topically. Here, we’ll break down some of the most noteworthy sunflower oil skin benefits.
1. It Helps Support The Skin’s Natural Moisture Barrier
One of the biggest boons of sunflower oil is that, when used topically, it can help support (and in some cases, restore) the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Having an intact skin barrier is essential for healthy-looking skin, but this barrier can become compromised after exposure to stressors like harsh weather, chemicals, or even improper skincare. The linoleic acid in sunflower oil penetrates the skin easily and helps keep the skin’s barrier nourished and protected from external stressors. Many plant oils contain linoleic acid, but sunflower oil contains an exceptionally high amount—roughly 70 to 80%. Experts believe this is why sunflower oil is so beneficial for skin barrier protection and repair.
2. Sunflower Oil Helps Prevent Skin Dehydration
Water is an essential component of the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Without sufficient water, the skin can get dehydrated, which leaves it vulnerable to concerns like dullness and laxity. Enter: Sunflower oil. When applied topically, sunflower oil can help reduce trans-epidermal water loss (dermatologist-speak for dehydration) and thus help keep the skin hydrated.
3. It Can Help Make Your Skin Feel Softer and Smoother
Generally speaking, there are three main classes of moisturizers: Humectants, which draw water into the skin; occlusives, which trap water in the skin; and emollients, which fill the gaps between skin cells to give the skin a smoother feel. Sunflower oil falls into the latter category. It can help soften and smooth dry, rough skin while helping to protect it against further damage.
4. Sunflower Seed Oil Has Antioxidant Properties
We noted earlier that sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E. This naturally-occurring vitamin is an antioxidant, and when used topically, it can help protect your skin from aging stressors like sun exposure, air pollution, and even stress.
Is It Okay To Put Sunflower Oil On Your Face?
Yes, sunflower oil can be used on your face. At Kiehl’s, we have several facial skincare products made with sunflower oil. Ahead, discover three formulas for your face care routine.
1. Daily Reviving Concentrate
Bolster your morning skincare routine with Daily Reviving Concentrate, a lightweight facial oil made with sunflower seed oil, tamanu oil, and ginger root essential oil. The antioxidant-rich formula helps defend against free radicals and works to improve the visible signs of fatigue for skin that looks fresh and radiant. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types—even oily skin. Simply pat a few drops onto your face after moisturizing for energized, healthy-looking skin.
2. Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment with Lactic Acid
If you’re not using an essence in your skincare routine yet, you’re missing out—they can help prep your skin for the rest of your routine while providing their own set of unique benefits. We recommend reaching for Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment with Lactic Acid, which, as the name implies, contains lactic acid as well as ferulic acid and sunflower seed oil. The unique essence helps support skin’s natural recovery processes and visibly evens skin’s texture and tone, leaving it with a healthy-looking glow.* It is suitable for all types and can be used morning and night for visibly smoother, more even-looking skin.
*Results based on expert grading in a four-week consumer test on 60 subjects.
3. Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil
If you have sensitive or easily-stressed skin, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil deserves a spot in your skincare routine. This calmative facial oil is made with 100% naturally-derived ingredients, including cannabis sativa seed oil and sunflower oil.* It helps strengthen the skin barrier and provides relief from redness and discomfort. The non-comedogenic formula also helps balance hydration, and it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and blemish-prone skin.
*We consider ingredients to be naturally-derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.
Where Can I Find Sunflower Oil In Body Care Products?
Kiehl’s also has body products containing sunflower seed oil. Here, find two of our favorites.
4. Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser
Add some luxury to your daily shower routine with Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser, which contains sunflower, grapeseed, and castor oil. The unique formula applies as an oil but transforms into a light, silky lather that effectively washes away dirt, oil, and other impurities. It leaves the skin feeling soft and supple and boasts a subtle-yet-enticing vanilla and almond fragrance.
5. Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil
After stepping out of the shower, give your skin some much-needed moisture with Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil. The pampering formula, made with sunflower seed oil and squalane, sprays onto the skin in a fine mist that absorbs quickly. Rub it onto your body post-shower (or bath) for indulgent moisture without a heavy or greasy feel.
Is Sunflower Oil Good For Dry Hair?
Sunflower seed oil benefits for skin are well-documented, and as it turns out, so are its benefits for hair. It’s the second most commonly used oil in haircare products, and though it doesn’t penetrate the hair fiber, it can help detangle and smooth your strands.I To reap the benefits of this impressive ingredient, seek out hair products made with sunflower oil, such as shampoos, conditioners, or leave-in treatments.