The humble sunflower is an example of a miraculous botanical that could use a little more appreciation, so we're shining a spotlight today. We consider Sunflower Seed oil to be one of the unsung heroes of natural skincare for some very good reasons.
Sunflower seed oil is not an expensive or "precious" natural skincare oil largely because sunflowers are super easy to grow. They aren't finicky and they produce a huge head of seeds that are rich with oil. The abundance of something can make it easy to overlook the true value, though. Sometimes great things are literally right in our backyards!
Sunflower seed oil doesn't have the exotic marketing appeal of ingredients from faraway places like Prickly Pear Seed Oil, or Argan Oil, and so the skincare industry doesn't sing its praises constantly. Most skincare manufacturers like to evoke mystery and magic in their sales copy, and since everyone knows Sunflowers they don't grab that kind of attention. They're like the girl or boy next door - friendly and familiar. But Sunflower Seed oil is non allergenic for almost everyone, which makes it a perfect oil for sensitive skin types. In fact, Sunflower Seed oil is a mild and protective natural skincare oil that is often used alone to moisturize skin suffering from eczema.
Sunflower Seed oil carries a serious load of Vitamin E with it. One tablespoon contains 6.1 milligrams of Vitamin E, or 40% of our daily dietary requirement. Vitamin E is actually not just a single chemical compound but a family including tocopherols and tocotrienols. Some are better for human health than others.
Sunflower seed oil contains 6 times the amount of Alpha-tocopherol as Olive Oil. Alpha-tocopherol is the most beneficial chemical form of Vitamin E for humans. Other forms of tocopherols include beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols. Soybean and Canola oils are both very high in gamma tocopherols, which have been noted as having the effect of decreasing lung function due to increased inflammation! Conversely high content of Alpha-tocopherol has an anti-inflammatory effect on the human body. (source)
Vitamin E is produced by our skin, and is supplied to our skin through sebum. The levels of Vitamin E are greater in the epidermis than in the dermis. If you ingest Vitamin E in supplement form or in your foods it will take 7 days for that Vitamin E to reach your skin, (source) which means that topical application is the fastest way to supplement your skin's natural levels if you need immediate support. Vitamin E production levels decline with age as well, so mature skin types may wish to supplement natural levels on a consistent basis.
The skin can use additional Vitamin E such as is provided by Sunflower Seed oil in natural skincare for regenerative and antioxidant purposes. Vitamin E works with Vitamin C synergistically to renew it and put it back to work in your system. Vitamin E also has an anti-inflammatory effect, and has been shown to help improve atopic dermatitis. (source) Atopic dermatitis can be one manifestation of sensitive skin.Sunflower seed oil also contains healthy plant sterols and squalene, plus lecithin and carotenoids. Plant sterols are a still-emerging area of research and some studies have shown anti-cancer properties and improved collagen maintenance. Lecithin is a penetration enhancer as it has the ability to bind both water and oil, and helps other nutrients travel more deeply into the skin. Carotenoids can have age defense benefits.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.