Safflower Oil

Distelöl in Flasche neben Distelblüten


  • Base Oil
  • INCI: Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 0-1
  • Composition: Linoleic acid (up to approx. 80 %), oleic acid (up to approx. 15 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 5 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 3 %), tocopherols (predominantly α-tocopherol), phytosterols, vitamin A and K.
  • Iodine number: 140-150.
  • Cosmetic use: Normal, oily, impure skin.
  • Shelf life: In dark and cool storage up to 12 months.




The annual (or in cultivation, biennial) safflower is a member of the Asteraceae family. The upright stem with a pronounced taproot can reach a height of 60 – 120 cm. It has elongated leaves that are finely toothed at the edge. The flowers of the plant are initially reddish-yellow and later orange-red and contain 20 to 150 five-leafed tubular flowers. The safflower forms ivory-colored archaizes. These nut fruits contain a yellow-grey to white seed enclosed in a shell with an oil content of 20% to 40% of the dry matter. In addition to the fatty oil, the safflower contains the coloring agent Cardamine, also known as Carthamus, which can be extracted from the petals.


Extraction of safflower oil

Safflower oil is obtained by extraction or pressing of seeds. From 100 kg of seeds, 25 kg of oil is obtained by pressing or 28 kg by extraction. The plant is harvested between August and September when it has already started drying but is not completely dry yet. Before the oil is pressed, the safflower seeds must be dried for several months and the shells removed. Edible oil is obtained by subsequent cold pressing, while a technically usable oil is obtained by hot pressing.

Cosmetic use of safflower oil

Due to the high content of linoleic acid, light oil is absorbed quickly and does not form a film on the skin. Therefore, it is very suitable for the care of oily skin. The oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, making it suitable for the treatment of acne and/or other skin diseases. The oil is often used in body care products because of its moisturizing properties, cell-renewing effect, and protective function.

Distelöl in Flasche neben Distelblüten

Benefits of safflower oil for skin

  • is absorbed quickly without leaving a film
  • has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects
  • suitable for oily and impure skin
  • has cell renewing effects

Internal use of safflower oil

Safflower oil has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids and thus helps to lower cholesterol levels and is used for the prevention and treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

The high content of linoleic acid in safflower oil also helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases, as it inhibits agonists of blood clotting and thus reduces the risk of thrombosis. Due to its health-promoting, antibacterial and antiviral properties, safflower oil is used in various medicines.

Buy safflower oil – what to consider?

When buying safflower oil, you should choose a cold-pressed and native safflower oil, because with cold pressing no important active ingredients are lost through heat. Therefore, one should pay attention to the terms “unrefined” or “not refined”. Since the high-quality safflower oil is very sensitive to light, good suppliers ssell it in dark glass bottles.

To make sure that the oil contains only good raw materials, you should also pay attention to organic quality.

Sources: Krist, Sabine (2013): Lexikon der Pflanzlichen Öle und Fett. Vienna: Springer Verlag. | Braunschweig, R. (2020): Pflanzenöle - über 50 starke Helfer für Genuss und Hautpflege. Wiggensbach: Stadelmann Verlag.

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