Benefits Of Sunflower Oil For Skin And Hair Explained: Here Comes The Sun!

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When most people think of the sunflower, they think of a pretty flower that looks nice and doesn’t do a whole lot else. They’re right about one thing, sunflowers are pretty. But they definitely have so much more to offer than just growing in a garden or sitting in a vase. In addition to their inherent beauty and decorative potential, sunflowers are the source of an all-natural oil.

This oil can provide a number of different benefits and properties that make it one of the healthiest multi-purpose oils around. And that’s really the crux of the beauty of this oil: it’s multi-purpose! Whether you harness its benefits through cooking, skincare, haircare, or any other method, you are bound to reap at least some sort of results. I’m a sucker for any natural alternative that can be used in more than just one corner of my life, and that’s why sunflower is one to add to the list.

From a healthy replacement for common oils in cooking to benefits for skin and hair, the rewards of using sunflower oil are many. Research shows that this oil even has the potential to prevent certain diseases and reduce the risk of various health problems. Before we get into the oil itself, it needs to be said that sunflower oil is a pretty incredible substance. It’s one of those underrated oils that people need to start doing more with. Don’t just allow it to sit un-extracted, in your garden!  The truth is, it’s not surprising that such a pretty flower would have such bountiful properties. That’s Mother Nature for you! But let’s start with our very first, and most important question and that is this: an oil is an oil! Is sunflower oil really healthy?

Is Sunflower Oil Healthy?

sunflower oil

Sunflower Oil

What makes sunflower oil (or sunflower seed oil), such a helpful oil for so many different parts and functions of the body? Well, a number of reasons! For starters, sunflower oil is a source of rich linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients are excellent for bodily repair, as well as disease prevention. We’ll cover that in the next section, but there’s no denying it contributes to the healthful benefits of sunflower oil. Additionally, sunflower oil is high in vitamin E and low in saturated fat. This makes it one of the healthier cooking oils around. It’s also a great substitute for some of the more common, mass-produced oils that we use for cooking.

There are two common types of sunflower oil – linoleic and high oleic. Truth be told, linoleic is a healthier cooking option based on its high lives of polyunsaturated fat. It also has a reputation for having a pleasant taste -- think salad dressings and the like. Other helpful properties and nutrients contained within sunflower oil include lecithin, tocopherols, carotenoids, and waxes.  It’s all of these bountiful properties that contribute to the sustainment of a healthy body.

Sunflower oil can be extracted and obtained via a number of different methods. However, the most efficient method is cold-pressing. Extraction under low temperatures ensures that the oil retains all of its beneficial qualities and nutrients. Using chemical processes or expeller pressing is easier in terms of extracting, but these methods could compromise the oil. So, if you’re out looking for the perfect sunflower oil, it’s the words ‘cold pressed’ that should grab your attention.

Sunflower Oil Benefits Breakdown

Heart Health

Woman holding hands in heart shape above head.

Sunflower oil can improve heart health.

Sunflower oil is rich in ‘good’ fats. These monounsaturated fats make up more than 80% of sunflower oil and are extremely beneficial for our heart health. In addition to the fact that sunflower contains a high monounsaturated fat content, it consists of absolutely no saturated fats (the baddies). This means that it has the potential to improve and control the cholesterol levels in the body. Some oils and fats are healthier than others, there’s no doubt, but mitigating your cardiovascular risk should be a priority. With this in mind, sunflower oil can be an ideal option in a range of recipes to improve your heart health.

If you’re looking for a heart-healthy addition to your cooking oils then sunflower oil is great. However, the truth is that you can reap the benefits of this oil through more than just your diet. It should come as no surprise that what you put onto your skin and hair is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream at least to some degree. This being the case, the internal benefits that you reap from natural ingredients, can also be gained externally. Okay, applying some sunflower oil to your skin won’t reduce your risk of a heart attack overnight, but it definitely has an effect to an extent.

Energy Boost

Woman with energy dancing on bed.

Woman jumping on bed.

Saturated fats are the fats in your diet that cause you to feel sluggish and fatigued. Unsaturated fats do the exact opposite! The high unsaturated content in sunflower oil means that it has the potential to give you a much-needed energy boost. You can maximize these benefits by incorporating sunflower oil into your diet, although personally I think it’s best used a massage oil. A relaxing massage can do wonders for your energy levels, focus, and productivity.

This is especially relevant when you use sunflower oil as a carrier oil, mixing in energizing essential oils like lemon or eucalyptus to revive your body and your senses. The benefits of massage go way beyond its relaxing qualities. Using a good quality carrier oil such a sunflower oil can help you to reap a range of benefits including better circulation (which helps to boost those heart-helping benefits), remove toxins, improve sleep, and decrease tension in your muscles for a better range of motion in your day-to-day movement!

Improve Digestion

Although the focus of this article isn’t based around sunflower as a cooking oil, you can’t overlook the major benefits in this department. This is due to the fact that sunflower oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which is one of the healthy fats that we’re told to add to our diets. This oil is also light and easily absorbs into the digestive tract which makes it an ideal digestive aid. It’s not a cure for digestive problems in its own right, but sunflower definitely has its place if you’re looking to improve your digestive health.

I’ll admit that this wouldn’t be my primary digestive remedy (there are numerous other natural alternatives to try!) but it’s a fun fact. Sometimes it’s just good to know the holistic properties of an oil before committing to using it. The digestive benefits of sunflower oil can mean that you gain more than you thought. Consider that next time you’re using this floral oil.

Sunflower Oil For Skin

African American woman with clear skin.

Woman with clear skin.

One of the most natural and healthy substances that promote clear and strong skin is sunflower oil. It works wonders for the skin thanks to its rich moisturizing and calming properties. You can use it for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It’s a great and simple treatment for skin problems such as acne, eczema, sunburn, rash, and more. The oil is capable of repairing damage, reducing redness, diminishing scarring, eliminating stretch marks, and more!

Sunflower oil is a natural moisturizer that works to rehydrate the skin. Direct application works great for accomplishing this. Additionally, the vitamin E in sunflower oil is what helps it repair skin damage. Whether actively fighting scarring, UVA from the sun, wrinkles, or acne damage, sunflower oil packs a serious punch. Sunflower oil even works wonders as a preventative treatment – its Vitamin A, C, and D content helps to form a protective barrier on the skin to stop problems before they start in the first place.

More so, as if all of these benefits weren’t enough, sunflower oil even provides somewhat of an anti-aging effect, thanks to its antioxidant properties. In addition to eliminating and fading wrinkles, the oil can help you achieve a more youthful complexion in general. All of this makes sunflower oil one of the best, most underappreciated skin supplements available today.

Sunflower Oil For Hair

Back view of woman with curly hair.

Sunflower oil is good for hair health.

The old cliché of women being overly obsessed with the state of their hair is well-established. However, these days it seems like men are even more preoccupied with their locks than ladies are! In any event, men and women of all ages and hair types are constantly looking for ways to get the healthiest, most attractive hair possible. That’s where sunflower oil steps in to save the day.

Sunflower oil can do as much for your hair as it can for your skin. That’s saying quite a lot. The high level of oleic acid and omega-9 fatty acid found in sunflower oil is best known for being capable of stimulating the growth of hair. It can also strengthen and thicken brittle hair, as well as act as a hair loss prevention treatment.

Sunflower oil also serves as a potent conditioner. Using it leads to smoother, shinier, and healthier hair with consistent application. The presence of vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as potassium, iron, and calcium, are known to contribute to healthy hair growth. As is the case with the skin, sunflower oil can be used to protect your hair from harmful UV rays, which can affect people to varying degrees based on their hair type. How do you go about taking advantage of sunflower oil for your hair?

There are a few different options if you want to reap hair-healthy benefits. You can directly apply the oil to your hair, or add it to a trusty, reliable shampoo. Alternatively, you can purchase a shampoo that contains sunflower oil as an ingredient. No matter how you go about using it on your hair, sunflower oil will get the job done!

Sunflower Oil For Cooking

I’m not usually one to spend much time in the kitchen. Whatever ingredients are already in the pantry are the ones I toss into my dinner. I make things up as I go along with my cooking, and now that I think about it olive oil is probably my go-to oil. Well, after looking into the topic of sunflower oil, that just might change! Sunflower oil has become a favorite of the health-conscious and for good reason. It’s widely considered one of the healthiest oils available for cooking and eating. Sunflower oil is rich in vitamins such as E, B1, B5, B6, and C. It also contains minerals such as zinc, phosphorus, and iron. In fact, it’s one of the healthiest, most nutritionally-dense oils that there are for use in cooking and alongside other food.

Low in calories relative to other oils, when consumed, sunflower oil can promote weight loss and a healthier overall lifestyle. Try replacing your traditional kitchen oils with sunflower oil when cooking, frying, in dressings, and more! As mentioned above, it can also help to boost energy. Sunflower oil’s fatty acid content is connected to energy levels within the body. It can lead to a significant energy boost when used in favor of oils that contain saturated fats. I will say that unless you’re a foodie or chef, there’s not much reason to use a variety of oils in the kitchen. It’s fine to have a go-to, but if you’re not sure where to start, it sounds like sunflower oil could be a good place to do so.

Sunflower Oil For Disease Prevention

exercise to be happier

Woman exercising.

Sunflower oil can do more than help you make aesthetic and weight-related improvements to your body. It can also improve the inner-workings of the body as well. Many of the substances in sunflower oil contain antioxidants. One of these is vitamin E. Antioxidants eliminate free radicals that have the potential to grow into cancerous cells. This helps to diminish the risk of cancer in the body. In fact, these potent antioxidants also give sunflower oil its anti-aging properties.

Sunflower oil can also help the body fight against infection and other various kinds of diseases. These include heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more. The anti-inflammatory properties contained in sunflower oil can have a tremendously positive effect on the body. It diminishes the risks and effects associated with asthma, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases. Sunflower oil also makes a great choice for oil pulling!

With all this in mind, it’s important to note that sunflower oil cannot be used on its own as a cure-all or a stand-alone for disease prevention. It contains powerful properties but there is no one plant that can heal you. If you’re one of those people who is always looking for holistic alternatives to conventional prevention methods, then sunflower oil definitely has its place in your pantry. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that it’s a preventative and not a cure.

Conclusion

So, are you ready to go and buy out the sunflower oil at your local supermarket? We don’t blame you! Sunflower oil is replete with the potential to promote, improve, and maintain a healthy lifestyle across the board. Given its wide range of impacts on the body, virtually everyone can stand to benefit from using sunflower oil. With benefits ranging from hair to skin, to disease prevention, and more, there is much to gain. At the very least, it might be worthwhile switching out your other oils every now and then. Many people replace their common cooking oils with sunflower oil for eating and food preparation.

Okay, it’s not magical, but it might as well be. I’ll be honest -- my favorite go-to natural oil has to be coconut oil. However, the non-occlusive properties of sunflower oil have really piqued my interest. My skin doesn’t break out that frequently but when it does it’s definitely due to an unwanted oil buildup. Coconut oil probably doesn’t help matters much in that situation. This is why having a backup oil such as sunflower oil can be a great solution for when your skin or hair needs a different kind of TLC.

We’ve covered lots of oils at Maple Holistics in the past. From coconut to castor, to tea tree, to avocado, and even lavender. However, sunflower oil just might be another one to add to the list. This oil is one of the underdogs for sure, but when it comes to beauty DIY’s and the likes, sometimes the popular oils can become a bit “been there, done that”. And that’s when sunflower oil gets its time to shine! Whether it’s to harness it’s anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, complexion clearing, hair thickening properties or just to add a little heart-healthy flavor to your favorite salad dressing, the uses are abundant!

I have to say that my favorite use of sunflower oil is as a carrier oil. It’s light enough that the smell doesn’t overpower your essential oils. It also has all those internally beneficial properties that mean your skin is being exposed to pure goodness! If I’m feeling a little worse for wear I’ll grab a bottle of sunflower oil and add 30 drops of lavender or lemon essential oil. This creates a massage blend that’s sure to revive my senses and soothe my muscle tension.

I also like using this same mixture in my hair before a shower, as a makeshift hot oil treatment. Just rub it in from scalp to tips and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing out in the shower. Your tresses will feel softer, smoother, and your scalp will thank you for the renewed balance! If you’re looking for a new multi-purpose oil, sunflower oil might just be the one!

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