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Are there any adverse effects of using safflower oil?

Typically obtained through the first cold pressing, safflower oil is a versatile vegetable oil with a multitude of uses: cosmetic, culinary, decorative... However, it is worth questioning whether there is any risk associated with the daily use of safflower oil. Let's learn more in this article.

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Published March 20, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Safflower Oil: A Brief Introduction.

The safflower oil is a vegetable oil contained within the seeds of the safflower plant. As its name suggests, it is a dye plant, still used today in the field of oil painting. Safflower oil has a beautiful orange colour, coupled with a subtle hazelnut aroma. It can also be used to formulate skin care products and is found in various cosmetics under its INCI name Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil.

Hydrating, nourishing, antioxidant, healing... The numerous benefits of the safflower oil come from its extremely rich biochemical composition in active substances and particularly in unsaturated fatty acids. These are recognised for reducing the level of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, the "bad cholesterol", and thus lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. That's why safflower oil, like many vegetable oils, is highly valued in cooking.

Can safflower oil be dangerous?

Safflower oil is regarded as a very safe vegetable oil, the use of which poses no risks. Suitable for sensitive skin, it is particularly recommended for individuals with dry skin, lacking in lipids. Easily absorbed by the epidermis, safflower oil contributes to the formation of the skin's waterproof barrier and limits water loss. It can be applied directly to the skin or scalp and its use is not restricted for pregnant women and young children.

However, a point of caution remains: depending on its extraction method, thesafflower oil can be slightly comedogenic and may not be suitable for individuals with oily and/or blemish-prone skin. Opt for oils extracted through cold pressing, a method that preserves the active ingredients and prevents their oxidation. Indeed, when oxidised, safflower oil thickens, changes colour and smell, and its cosmetic and nutritional properties are deteriorated, which can make it comedogenic.

The same applies to its use in cooking. Safflower oil is a vegetable oil that is mainly used cold due to its richness in unsaturated acids. Once heated, these molecules can oxidise and become unfit for consumption. Furthermore, it is recommended for people on a anticoagulant treatment to limit their consumption of safflower vegetable oil as it contains a significant amount of vitamin K, a compound that thins the blood.

What are the usage precautions related to safflower oil?

To fully benefit from the safflower oil and its advantages, it is important to use it correctly. To do this, you must ensure its quality and check that it does not exhibit characteristics suggesting that an oxidative degradation has occurred. If you notice an unpleasant rancid smell, a thick texture or an unusual colour of the safflower oil, it is likely that it has oxidised.

In order to maintain the quality of safflower oil and prevent its oxidation, it is advisable to tightly seal the bottle to avoid the presence of oxygen. Furthermore, we recommend storing the oil in a cool and dark place, as light can potentially cause it to deteriorate. It is also worth noting that once the bottle is opened, safflower oil can be kept for six to eight months.

Finally, even though safflower oil is a gentle vegetable oil typically recommended for all skin types, including the most sensitive, it is advisable to perform a tolerance test before using it. To do this, apply a few drops of the product to the inside of your elbow, on your wrist or behind your ear and wait 24 to 48 hours. If you do not observe any redness, irritation, or unusual signs, it means your skin tolerates this active ingredient well and you can start incorporating safflower oil into your skincare routine.

Sources

  • XIA Y. A Review of Fatty Acids and Genetic Characterisation of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius L.) Seed Oil. World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2016).

  • Thesis by Romain GUITARD. Oxidation of omega-3 oils and preservation by natural phenolic antioxidants (2016).

  • ERGONUL P. G. & OZBEK Z. A. Cold pressed safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) seed oil. Cold Pressed Oils (2020).

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