For Health Professionals

  • Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil

Sunflower oil is obtained from the extraction of sunflower plants. Its natural structure contains essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid.

Dermocosmetics for dry skin: a new role for botanical extracts
Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2011;24(6):289-93. doi: 10.1159/000329214. Epub 2011 Jun 25
Casetti F, Wölfle U, Gehring W, Schempp CM

The use of oils for newborns is recommended throughout the world, but there is no evidence. The aim of the study is to determine the effects of olive oil and sunflower oil on the biophysiological properties of the skin. The study was performed on the forearms of 19 adults with or without atopic eczema history. One group received 6 drops of olive oil 2 times a day for 5 weeks. The other group received 6 drops of olive oil 2 times a day for 4 weeks on one arm, and 6 drops of sunflower oil on the other arm. The integrity and fusion of the stratum corneum, moisturizing, skin surface PH and redness were investigated.

Sunflower oil maintained the integrity of the stratum corneum, did not cause redness and increased hydration. Unlike sunflower oil, olive oil significantly damaged the skin barrier and has the potential to increase and exacerbate atopic dermatitis. Therefore, the use of olive oil in dry skin and infants is not recommended.

Effect of olive and sunflower seed oil on the adult skin barrier: implications for neonatal skin care
Pediatr Dermatol. 2013 Jan-Feb;30(1):42-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x. Epub 2012 Sep 20
Danby SG, AlEnezi T, Sultan A, Lavender T, Chittock J, Brown K, Cork MJ

Oil massage to newborns has been performed for generations in India, but oils range from beneficial sunflower oil to toxic mustard oil. Many families observed that massage with sunflower oil or Aquaphor is better than mustard oil. Oil is applied for many reasons (to keep the baby warm, to protect from infections, to improve the condition of the skin, for the general health of the baby). No one complained about the application of oil. The mothers stated that following the emollient application, they did not experience rash, vomiting, fever, cough, cold or any other diseases, the baby did not lose any weight, the baby did not slip from their hands during application and they did not have any problems about keeping the baby clean. With oils such as sunflower oil, skin conditions and barrier functions are improved, epidermal water loss is decreased, thermoregulation is improved and the absorption of fatty acids improves nutrition. The connection between the mother and the baby develops with neural development, skin integrity improves and the risk of infection in the hospital decreases. If health professionals are encouraged to use more affordable oils such as sunflower oil, this will also contribute to public health.

Acceptability of massage with skin barrier-enhancing emollients in young neonates in Bangladesh
J Health Popul Nutr. 2007 Jun;25(2):236-40
Ahmed AS, Saha SK, Chowdhury MA, Law PA, Black RE, Santosham M, Darmstadt GL

Oil massage is common, especially in India. In particular, linoleic acid containing sunflower oil (anti-inflammatory) increases the barrier formation of the stratum corneum. In developed countries, the rate of infectious blood infection the skin in premature infants (less than 33 weeks) decreased by 41%. Treatment with creams such as petroleum-based, olive oil, lanolin creams, increased the development of the skin barrier in premature infants born more than 29-30 weeks. On the contrary, with the treatment of severely premature infants with petroleum-based creams twice a day increased the number of infections transmitted in the hospital.

Newborn infant skin: physiology, development, and care
Clin Dermatol. 2015 May-Jun;33(3):271-80. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2014.12.003. Epub 2014 Dec 8
Visscher MO, Adam R, Brink S, Odio M

In Cario University in Egypt, sunflower oil massage was performed 3 times a day to infants younger than 34 weeks (premature born), and they were observed against diseases transmitted in the hospital (bacterial infections). As a result, a significant improvement was observed in skin conditions and a significant decrease was observed in the infections transmitted in the hospital compared to the ones without any skin application. No side effects were observed.

Topically applied sunflower seed oil prevents invasive bacterial infections in preterm infants in Egypt: a randomized, controlled clinical trial
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004 Aug;23(8):719-25
Darmstadt GL, Badrawi N, Law PA, Ahmed S, Bashir M, Iskander I, Al Said D, El Kholy A, Husein MH, Alam A, Winch PJ, Gipson R, Santosham M

In order to prevent the mortality rates of those born before 33 weeks in Baghdad, a study was performed in three groups, one with the application of sunflower oil, one with Aquaphor, and one with no application, and thus the cost-effectiveness of emollients was observed. Skin treatment of sunflower oil and Aquaphor were associated with a reduction in the number of mortality due to infections.

Cost-effectiveness of skin-barrier-enhancing emollients among preterm infants in Bangladesh
Bull World Health Organ. 2010 Feb;88(2):104-12. doi: 10.2471/BLT.08.058230. Epub 2010 Jan 8
LeFevre A, Shillcutt SD, Saha SK, Ahmed AS, Ahmed S, Chowdhury MA, Law PA, Black R, Santosham M, Darmstadt GL

Newborns with low weight are taken to the neonatal unit, where they are touched minimally to avoid infections, however, the babies are deprived of tactile stimulation. As a result of the research, increase in weight gain rate in newborns with low weight was observed with moderate massages provided by educated individuals or mothers thanks to various mechanisms such increased neural activity, increased insulin secretion, decreased energy secretion, increased gastric motility and better absorption of nutrients, decreased serum level of cortisol and norepinephrine, and decreased stressful behavior. According to the study conducted by Darmstad et. al., it was observed that sunflower oil could be used in infectious infections in infants born with very low-weight in developing countries. With this study, the effectiveness of sunflower oil massage and the application of oil-free massage in growth parameters of low-weight infants with premature birth in Iran were compared. The oil used is 10 ml per kg and contains 61.5% linoleic acid. The massage was performed 3 times a day for 14 days by the mothers. The massage was performed for 10 minutes each morning, noon and evening. The 10-minute massage was divided into two phases. In the first and second phases, tactile stimulation was performed while kinesthetic stimulation was performed in the second phase. In the tactile stimulation phase, the newborn is laid face down, touched with moderate strokes, 10 strokes are made in the following order on each area for 6 seconds. Therefore, the process takes 5 minutes.

(1) from the top of the head to the nape and back to the top of the head

(2) From the nape to the shoulders and back to the nape

(3) from the top of the dorsal to the waist and back to the top of the dorsal

(4) from the hips to the feet and back to the hips (both feet)

(5) from the shoulder to the hand and back to the shoulder (both arms)

In the kinesthetic phase, the newborn is laid down on his/her back, each arm, each foot, and the feet are bent and extended together. Each movement lasts for 10 seconds and this process is continued for 5 minutes. If the baby cries, he/she will sit down until he/she relaxes. 25 girls and 23 boys were studied for 35 weeks. As a result, it was observed that weight gain in newborns born with low weight was more when massaged with oil compared to normal massage. Massage with oil increases somatic growth, reduces heat transfer from the skin surface, regulates heat and skin barrier functions, accelerates circulation in the massaged area and reduces transepidermal water loss. As a nutrient, it allows the absorption of fatty acids in the body, provides calorie intake, reduces mortality and reduces stress.

Sunflower oil versus no oil moderate pressure massage leads to greater increases in weight in preterm neonates who are low birth weight
Early Hum Dev. 2013 Sep;89(9):769-72. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Jul 5
Fallah R, Akhavan Karbasi S, Golestan M, Fromandi M