Difference between Sunflower Oil and Safflower Oil

Key difference: Sunflower and Safflower plants belong to the same botanical family. Although, both the oils have their own medicinal benefits; they are obtained from their respective plant seeds.

Sunflower and safflower oils are known for their important medicinal uses. These oils come from their corresponding seeds by their respective processes. Both the oils are polyunsaturated, and hence they are rich in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6, which help to lower the cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Sunflower oil is one of the most famous types of cooking oil. along with cooking the oil also has some other medicinal applications, as it is used as a emollients in the skin cosmetic industries. It is non volatile in nature and the fat contents of the oil are desirable from heart issues. It is a monounsaturated (MUFA)/polyunsaturated (PUFA) mixture of mostly oleic acid (omega-9)-linoleic acid (omega-6) group of oils. The oil also contains a considerable amount of vitamin E, sterols, squalene, and other aliphatic hydrocarbons, terpene and methyl ketones (chiefly methyl nonyl ketone). Today, it is regarded to be the best seller and most used oils in the world.

Safflower oil (scientific name: Carthamus tinctorius) is obtained from the seeds of herbaceous thistle flower of safflower plant. Like sunflower oil, even this oil has nutritive benefits over many issues and problems related to skin and heart. Safflower oil contains the monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid oleic acid (78.9%), unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid linoleic (11%), palmitic acid (6.2%) and linolenic (.02%). These safflower plants are found mostly in the arid climate, receiving the seasonal rains. The best applications of safflower oil are found in dermatology, wherein the oil is used in skin and its related issues and problems.

Both, sunflower and safflower oils have many similarities among each-other; i.e. like sunflower oil, even safflower oil is applicable in heart and skin related issues. Both the oils are not suitable for high temperature cooking. One of the modern usage of sunflower oil is that, it is been used in low birth weight pre-term infants in order to lower the rate of infections by 41%. On the other hand, safflower oil is applicable to cause the abortions. Safflower oil seeds are colorless; while that of sunflower are black or white in color depending upon their types. Both the oils have same nutritive constituents, and hence are rich in same vitamin contents.

Comparison between Sunflower Oil and Safflower Oil:


Sunflower Oil

Safflower Oil

Obtained from

Sunflower seeds

Safflower seeds

Scientific names

Helianthus annuus

Carthamus tinctorius

Other usages


color cosmetics and dye fabrics

In cooking used in

cooking oil, in frying, deep frying, roasting, baking

cooking oil, in salad dressing, and for the production of margarine


  • High Linoleic
  • High Oleic
  • Mid Oleic
  • Oleic acid
  • Linoleic acid

Wide Health Benefits 

Helpful in:

  • Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Prevents Arthritis
  • Prevention of Asthma and Colon Cancer
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Prevention of Other Cancers
  • Fights Free Radicals
  • Reduction of Cardiac Problems
  • Healthy Nervous System
  • Prevention of Infant Infection
  • Maintenance of Healthy Immune System
  • Repairs the Body

Reduces Issues like:

  • Deficiency (fatty acid)
  • Angina pectoris / coronary artery disease
  • Atherosclerosis (lipid peroxidation)
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Chronic hepatitis (hepatitis C)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Familial hyperlipidemia
  • Friedreich's ataxia
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Kidney disorders 
  • Malnutrition (protein-energy)
  • Nutritional supplement (infant formula)
  • Skin conditions (phrynoderma)
  • Total parenteral nutrition
  • Toxicity (lithium)

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