Helianthus annuus belongs to the family Asteraceae, the largest plant family with 1550 genera and over 24,000 species. Sunflowers are native to Southwestern USA, Canada and Northern Mexico. They were brought to Europe in the 16th century where the oil was received well for its uses. Indigenous people in the Americas used it as food and medicine. 

Sunflower seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the sunflower plant. It contains long chain fatty acids such as linoleic, linolenic, oleic and stearic which are great emollients. Research demonstrates that natural oils with higher linoleic to oleic acid ratio are more effective for lipid barrier repair. In a head to head study where olive oil was compared with sunflower seed oil, olive oil was shown to damage the skin's barrier while the latter was found to enhance it. This is due to the high linoleic (up to 70%) content of sunflower seed oil. This high proportion of linoleic acid makes sunflower effective in improving the stratum corneum even for compromised skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. 



  • Enhance stratum corneum integrity
  • Prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL)
  • Enhance corneocyte adhesion
  • Reduce erythema (redness)
  • Accelerate wound healing



Danby, Simon G., et al. "Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care." Pediatric dermatology 30.1 (2013): 42-50.

Eichenfield, Lawrence F., Alexandra McCollum, and Philippe Msika. "The benefits of sunflower oleodistillate (SOD) in pediatric dermatology." Pediatric Dermatology 26.6 (2009): 669-675.

Marques, Silvio Romero, et al. "The effects of topical application of sunflower-seed oil on open wound healing in lambs." Acta Cirurgica Brasileira 19.3 (2004): 196-209.

Poljšak, Nina, Samo Kreft, and Nina Kočevar Glavač. "Vegetable butters and oils in skin wound healing: Scientific evidence for new opportunities in dermatology." Phytotherapy Research 34.2 (2020): 254-269.

Vaughn, Alexandra R., et al. "Natural oils for skin-barrier repair: ancient compounds now backed by modern science." American journal of clinical dermatology 19.1 (2018): 103-117.