Safflower Oil Uses, Benefits and Properties

Safflower oil uses include controlling blood sugar levels, lowering LDL cholesterol, and promoting skin health. Learn more about this amazing oil in this article!
Safflower Oil Uses, Benefits and Properties

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Safflower is an oleaginous plant, meaning it has seeds that you can extract oil from. That oil can then be used for culinary or industrial purposes. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about safflower oil uses, benefits, and properties.

Although it was originally cultivated for use as a colorant, spice, or aniline substitute, in the 1950s safflower began to be grown for the oil that comes from its seeds.

In fact, both its edible oils and essential oils have interesting benefits. For example, its edible oils are a source of unsaturated fatty acids, while essential oils can help treat skin disorders like acne and eczema.

Safflower oil nutritional characteristics

There are two types of safflower oil: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Each of them contains active compounds that have specific nutritional characteristics. Let’s take a look at them.

Monounsaturated safflower oil

This oil is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can withstand high temperatures without losing its nutrients.

In addition, monounsaturated safflower oil’s smoke point stands out from other more popular oils, such as corn, olive, or canola. Therefore, it’s a healthy substitute. 

In fact, some people believe it’s better for cooking because its taste, color, and smell are neutral.

Polyunsaturated safflower oil

This oil is rich in linoleic acid, an essential omega 6 fatty acid that’s more sensitive than the previous one. Therefore, you shouldn’t expose it to high temperatures.

Instead, to avoid oxidation, you should store it in cold places like the refrigerator and avoid exposing it to light. Polyunsaturated safflower oil is generally sold as a nutritional supplement. That’s because it contains such high levels of linoleic acid.

Also, you should keep in mind that, although omega 6 is essential for proper body function, you need to ensure you’re getting it through foods. Our bodies are incapable of producing it. 

Safflower oil uses

You can use safflower oil to make oil paints in white and other light shades. However, there are many more uses, and some of them are even linked to medicine. Keep reading to find out more about this substance.

Safflower oil uses for your skin

Since this oil has potential health benefits for your skin, safflower oil is often on the ingredient lists of a variety of cosmetics. If you want to use those products, you just need to be sure to follow the instructions.

In addition, in its pure, edible form, you can apply it directly to your skin. However, if it’s an essential oil, you need to dilute it before using it. How do you do that? You just need to add a few drops of other oils to it. We recommend jojoba and grapeseed because they can help with oily skin.

Lastly, since it’s considered a safe oil, you can use it daily. Also, remember that essential oils are more powerful, so you should only use it short term.

Safflower oil uses in the kitchen

You’ve already seen a few of safflower oil’s benefits. Here are the proven benefits, according to science.

1. It’s a source of fatty acids

Safflower oil is a source of fatty acids (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) that play a fundamental role in the body’s function.

These types of good fats are involved in hormonal regulation, memory processes, and the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. In addition, they can help you feel fuller for longer.

Also, safflower has saturated fats that are normally considered unhealthy or bad. However, it contains far fewer saturated fats than other popular oils, like olive, avocado, and sunflower. 
You should note that a diet high in good fats and low in bad fats is the key to many health benefits, like reduced inflammation and improved heart health.

2. Stabilizes blood sugar

A study published in the journal PLosS Medicine showed that a diet rich in MUFA helps keep your blood glucose levels under control.

According to the study, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated ones (especially polyunsaturated fatty acids) significantly improves blood sugar levels, secretion, and insulin resistance. 

Similarly, a study published in Clinical Nutrition found that consuming 8 grams of safflower oil daily for 4 months can decrease inflammation. In addition, it helped to improve glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. 

Because of that, researchers concluded that combining a diet high in good fats with diabetes treatments is effective in reducing the complications of this disease.

3. Lowers cholesterol levels and promotes heart health

The same study published in Clinical Nutrition found that using safflower oil for 4 months was able to lower cholesterol levels. This shows that unsaturated fats can lower LDL or bad cholesterol. 

However, that’s not the only way that this substance can support heart health. In addition, the unsaturated fatty acids in safflower oil can keep platelets from clumping, which prevents clots. This decreases the risk of heart attack or stroke. 

4. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory

Chronic inflammation can cause heart disease, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. Fortunately, there is scientific evidence that safflower oils have anti-inflammatory properties. These properties reduce important markers associated with hyperactive cell reactions.

5. Improves skin health

Since it can hydrate and soothe itching, as well as other symptoms of dry skin, it’s a popular ingredient in skincare products. 

It has anti-inflammatory properties and contains vitamin E. According to a study published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, this nutrient can help treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, as well as improve wound healing. 

Safflower oil side effects

Safflower oil is safe as long as you don’t exceed the recommended dose. In adults, these are the dosages:

  • Women between 19 and 30 years: 6 teaspoons
  • Women over 30 years: 5 teaspoons
  • Men ages 19 t0 30: 7 teaspoons
  • Men over 30 years old: 6 teaspoons

In addition, people with bleeding disorders and who are about to undergo surgery should avoid consuming this oil. That’s because it can affect coagulation and increase the risk of bleeding.

When it comes to its topical use, we recommend starting with a small test to see if your skin is sensitive to it. To do this, place a small amount of your forearm and wait 24-48 hours. Then, if you don’t develop any type of rash or irritation, you can keep using it.

Keep reading: How to Prevent Skin Irritation

Safflower oil: An important source of unsaturated fats

Originally, people cultivated this plant so they could use it as a colorant. However, today people are more focused on their seeds, which is where their highly coveted oil comes from. 

This is because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids and can be found in two forms: monounsaturated (which can withstand high temperatures without losing their nutrients) and polyunsaturated (which has the highest source of linoleic acid on the market).

These unsaturated fats, along with other compounds, are responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, lowering LDL cholesterol, and improving skin health. 

When it comes to its contraindications, safflower oil is safe as long as you consume the recommended amounts and you perform a patch test before using it topically. Also, people with bleeding problems who plan to undergo surgery should avoid it. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Imamura, F., Micha, R., Wu, J. H., de Oliveira Otto, M. C., Otite, F. O., Abioye, A. I., & Mozaffarian, D. (2016). Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials. PLoS medicine, 13(7), e1002087.
  • Asp, M. L., Collene, A. L., Norris, L. E., Cole, R. M., Stout, M. B., Tang, S. Y., Hsu, J. C., & Belury, M. A. (2011). Time-dependent effects of safflower oil to improve glycemia, inflammation and blood lipids in obese, post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-masked, crossover study. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 30(4), 443–449.
  • Keen, M. A., & Hassan, I. (2016). Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian dermatology online journal, 7(4), 311–315.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.