Safflower Oil for Skin: What You Should Know

Safflower oil is a light, non-greasy oil that is great for dry and acne-prone skin.
Here’s more.
Safflower Oil for Skin

Properties of Safflower Oil

Botanical Name

The botanical name for safflower is Carthamus tinctorius. You should find this name when buying the oil.

Color and Smell

The oil has a golden yellow color and does not have any real odor.


Safflower oil is very light and non-greasy. It has a similar texture to sunflower oil and prickly pear seed oil.

The comedogenic rating of this oil is one. That means it is perfect for all skin types including acne-prone skin.

What is in the oil?

Safflower oil is made up of fatty acids. There are actually two types of the oil. One is high in oleic acid and the other is high in linoleic acid. Of course, the oil rich in linoleic acid is preferred for skincare and beauty regimes.

In the linoleic-rich version, linoleic acid can make up 70% to 85% of the oil. It also contains oleic acid (5% to 30%), palmitic acid (5% to 10%), stearic acid and linolenic acid.

You should know safflower oil has one of the highest levels of linoleic acid among all of the carrier oils. It contains more than evening primrose, grapeseed, sunflower and prickly pear seed oils.

Safflower Oil Benefits

Few studies look into the specific benefits of safflower oil for skin. But the oil is rich in linoleic acid, which has many desirable skincare and beauty benefits. So we can assume that the effects of linoleic acid will translate into the benefits of safflower oil.


Safflower may help repair skin

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An interesting 2017 review noted:

Oils with a higher linoleic acid to oleic acid ratio have better barrier repair potential, whereas oils with higher amounts of irritating oleic acid may be detrimental to skin-barrier function.

And you already saw safflower oil is one of the richest sources of linoleic acid among the carrier oils. That means the oil can help improve and repair skin better than olive oil and macadamia oil.

It may reduce comedones

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Linoleic acid is helpful when it comes to reducing comedones. Comedones are whiteheads and blackheads. So if you have lots of comedones, then linoleic acid is the fatty acid you need.

And which carrier oil has one of the highest levels of linoleic acid? Safflower!

It’s a great source of essential fatty acids

This is an interesting safflower oil benefit.

A 2005 study looked at the increase of fatty acids in the blood of 120 babies after being massaged. The babies were massaged with either safflower oil, coconut oil or neither (control). In the oil groups, the babies were massaged with 5 milliliters of oil four times a day for five days. Blood samples were taken before and after the massages.

And the results? The safflower oil group saw increases in linoleic acid in their blood. That’s great since the acid can help babies build up their skin barrier function.

Pretty cool!
While many swear by safflower oil, there isn’t more research into its specific benefits. When there are more studies, I’ll definitely update this section.

Where to buy safflower oil
You can find safflower oil everywhere – your local pharmacy, health store and, of course, on Amazon. You can try any of these brands:

The shelf life of this oil is roughly one year. But you should keep your oil in a cool, dark, dry place to preserve its integrity.

Safflower Oil Uses

Before using safflower oil, you should make sure you are not allergic to it. If you have any allergies to ragweed, then you’ll probably be allergic to safflower.

Even if you don’t have ragweed allergies, you should patch test the oil before using it. Take a few drops on your fingers and massage it behind your ears and on the inside of your elbow. These are your sensitive areas. Leave the oil on for a few hours and check the areas.

If they burn or turn red, then rinse the area properly. You may have safflower allergies. If you’re all good then you can add the oil to your beauty routine. Try any of these uses:

For Skin
  • For massaging: The oil is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. But it can leave your skin feeling a bit dry. So it’s not that great for massaging. But it has a low comedogenic rating. So you can mix it with another more viscous oil like tamanu or flaxseed to make a wonderful massage blend. And don’t forget to add essential oils too like frankincense or geranium.

  • For oil cleansing: Safflower isn’t likely to cause acne so you can definitely use it for oil cleansing. Take a few drops on your fingers and massage the oil into your face for five to ten minutes. Then wipe it off with a warm wash cloth. Ah!! The oil will leave your skin feeling clean and looking amazing!

  • For makeup: This oil is great for removing makeup. You can follow the same oil cleansing steps to get your mascara and lipstick off. Who wouldn’t love to wipe makeup away with an oil that can reduce comedones?!

  • For oily skin: Since the oil can leave you feeling a bit dry, it’s great for oily skin. Yay! Use it to boost the linoleic acid levels on your skin and control your skin sebum. Yes please!

    For Hair
  • For hair treatments: Use safflower oil for hair. It’s awesome. You can add a little to the ends of your hair. Or you can use it in a hair treatment. Try mixing one teaspoon each of safflower and coconut oils. Add in five drops each of rosemary oil and tea tree oil. Tada! You just created a treatment that can boost hair growth and control dandruff!
    Hmm! How else do you use safflower oil? Share it with us in the comments below.

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