Oil of the Month Oct – Sunflower Seed Oil

sian Blog

Sunflower Seed Oil (Helianthus annuus)

If, like me, you are an 80’s child, you might just recall an advert for Flora Sunflower oil with model Maria Helvin generously applying it as a skin moisturiser. I recall being skeptical if the same stuff my mum used for frying eggs was really the reason for her amazing complexion…but reel forward a few years & I’m using massage oil blends of organic Sunflower Seed, Grapeseed and Sweet Almond oil for my clients.

Nutritional Content

Seeds as a health food are everywhere but I had no idea just what an incredibly healthy food they actually are! Packed into this little crunchy package is an incredibly high nutrient & mineral content. To start the long list they contain vitamins A; B1; B2 (Riboflavin); B3 (Niacin); B5; B6; B9 (Folic acid); C; D; E (a major antioxidant) and K, also minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium. Although they naturally contain fats they have no cholesterol themselves, are low in saturated fats, high in unsaturated fats and also GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid – think Omega-6 and 9) so they can actually help to lower cholesterol. Add to this heady healthy mix various antioxidants & phytochemicals such as choline, betaine, phenolic acid & lignans;  amino acids such as arginine (known to lower blood pressure and quicken healing of skin tissue and bone) and trytophan (which can aid sleep and is currently being researched as an anti-depressant) and you can see why it’s good to sprinkle them on your cereals, make spreads or simply have a good munch on them as a brilliant snack to go.


That which is good for the insides is also good for the outside: all those essential fatty acids, vitamins & antioxidants are brilliant for the skin. Take, for example; the antioxidant Vitamin E, which improves the health and appearance of your skin, allowing it to regenerate more quickly, reduce scarring and smooth wrinkles. Exposure to UVA, sunlight and free radicals can all increase fine lines & wrinkles, which Vitamin E and Beta-carotene can protect against, whilst levels of linoleic acid in the skin naturally decrease with age & can be stripped away by the harsh chemicals found in many off-the-shelf skincare products. Sunflower Seed oil is rich in linoleic acid (GLA previously mentioned) and also oleic, stearic & palmitic acids to help restore natural levels. It is therefore excellent at preventing premature signs of ageing – very beneficial for both mature skin and skin that doesn’t want to look mature!

sunflowerThe oil has naturally calming anti-inflammatory and softening emollient properties, is light and easily absorbed without clogging pores – making it a highly nourishing moisturiser for silky soft, supple skin. Rich in vitamins A, C, D, carotenoids and waxes it can form a natural protective barrier to protect your skin against the elements and over-exposure. With its light texture and mild scent Sunflower Seed oil is therefore not only the perfect natural choice for the skincare infants and young children, but also in the treatment of inflamed, sensitive or problem skin conditions such as Acne and Ezcema. Mix Sunflower Seed and Castor oil together to make an effective 2-in-1 cleanser and moisturiser – especially good when travelling! It also works wonderfully either in a warm bath or massaged into the skin just after one. The warmth of the water encourages the pores of the skin to open up, allowing the oil to penetrate more deeply and all these nourishing properties to rejuvenate the skin. Simply leave on for a few minutes and towel off any excess.


As for the skin so for the hair: Sunflower Seed oil massaged into the scalp and worked through hair creates a natural sheen. Its lightness can condition greasy hair, but its emollient properties can tackle dryness, adding moisture & controlling frizz. Although I would recommend Jojoba oil to tame more difficult frizz, as it is slightly heavier and in spite of the name, is actually a natural wax. Did I mention about the high levels of GLA? Ah yes, well in terms of the hair this can be beneficial for those with hair loss, thinning and alopecia areata.


Nutritionally this seemingly simple oil is actually incredible – spread it on yourself as well as on your toast and in your frying pan!


Recommended Suppliers

Base Formula, £3 – £5.50 for 100-500mls (non-organic), £3-£9 for 500mls (organic)


Kobashi Oils, £3.24 – £14.65 for 100-500mls (organic)


Quinessence Aromatherapy, £3.65 – £9.85 for 100-250mls (organic)