Sunflower oil is a non-volatile oil expressed from sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient.
Sunflower oil may also have suggested skin-health benefits. Sunflower oil can retain moisture in the skin. It may also provide a protective barrier that resists infection. Studies using sunflower oil have been conducted involving pre-term infants that are often susceptible to infection due to their underdeveloped skin. Research suggests that pre-term infants with low birth weight can benefit from sunflower oil skin treatments. Infections decreased by 41% in infants that received a daily skin treatment of sunflower oil. The sunflower oil provided a protective barrier against infection that was not otherwise present on the infant.