Forget olive oil. There's a new healthy oil found all your favorite items, including everything from salad dressings to desserts. Safflower oil, also know as Carthamus tinctorius seed oil, is made by cold pressing safflower seeds, and the result provides an oil packed with linoleic acid.
This essential fatty acid offers many skin benefits, specifically its ability to easily remove dirt and oil without drying out your skin and hair [source: Personal Care Products Council]. Even better, organic safflower oil can be more budget-conscious than the pricey skin care products found at your local makeup counter.
Dry skin sufferers, take note. Safflower oil lubricates the skin, creating a barrier that prevents water from leaving your skin. Thus locking in moisture for glowing skin. You'd be surprised to find it in moisturizers, hair products and facial cleansers you use everyday. The oil can soften dry areas, smooth rough patches, and even alleviate beauty woes, improving both the texture and tone of your skin. It's used alone or can be added to other oils for a beauty boost.
While mineral oil and lanolin can irritate the skin, safflower oil is less aggravating to skin. It's also one of the best (and most inexpensive) sources of linoleic acid, which may be a secret weapon in preventing acne [source: Leong].
Some dermatologists are skeptical of natural oils, but beauty review boards belive safflower oil to be a safe ingredient. According to Dr. Kristie Leong, a family physician and contributor to Yahoo's Health & Wellness website, acne sufferers are often discouraged from using products that clog the pores and increase the risk of acne lesions, but safflower oil may actually be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
"A study published in Clinical Experimental Dermatology showed that when linoleic acid was applied to the skin for one month it caused a reduction in the size of blackheads and whiteheads," writes Leong [source: Leong].
However, you should still exercise caution using safflower oil if you have existing skin conditions. If you want to try natural oils, consult a dermatologist. He or she can help you understand your skin and hair types, which will help you identify which oils will work better for you. Using products with the aggravating ingredients, even in miniscule amounts, might cause problems to act up[source: Wright]. Because safflower oil is know for its moisturizing abilities, it is a good choice for people with normal to dry skin.
Oh, and as for your diet, safflower oil can benefit your skin there too, so keep checking out those ingredients. A 2007 study showed that diets high in linoleic acid and vitamin C improved the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the skin of middle-aged and older women [source: Leong]. If you use safflower oil in your food preparation, be sure to complement it with items rich in vitamin B complex (leafy green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains), which aid in absorption of the oil [source: Buzzle]. You can also take it as a supplement.
Last, since safflower oil is sensitive to both light and heat, its recommended that consumers purchase safflower oil that has been stored in a brown glass bottle, and keep it refrigerated after opening [source: Buzzle].
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