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Are there any dangers associated with the topical application of karanja oil?

Are there any dangers associated with the topical application of karanja oil?

Due to its richness in karanjin and pongamol, Karanja oil is used in cosmetology to partially protect the skin from the sun's rays. Despite its skin benefits, it has some contraindications. Discover the side effects associated with this vegetable oil.

What is Karanja Oil?

Karanja oil is extracted from the seeds of the Karanja, a shrub from the Fabaceae family that grows in tropical or subtropical areas. Traditionally, it is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy to combat various skin diseases. This vegetable oil is obtained through cold pressing. It is rich in karanjin and pongamol, flavonoids known for their actions against UVA and UVB rays. It also has a high content of omega 3, 6, and 9, fatty acids that provide benefits for the skin.

What are the side effects of Karanja oil?

An ingredient, even if natural, is not without risk. Karanja oil is active, which means it should not be used undiluted on the skin to avoid allergies, irritations, pimples, or even the redness that this vegetable oil can cause. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the maximum dilution recommendations according to different uses. For the face, the maximum dosage to be respected is 85%, compared to 25% in body care products.

A statement released by the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) clarifies that Karanja oil contains no ultraviolet filters. It is true that karanjin and pongamol have the ability to absorb and filter some of the sun's rays. The ANSM reminds us that skincare products cannot contain any ultraviolet filters other than those listed in Annex VI of Article 14 of the European regulation. Skincare products exclusively intended to protect the skin against UV rays must absorb, reflect, or disperse them. Karanja oil is not one of these. Therefore, it does not replace sunscreen, but enhances its effects. This vegetable oil prepares the skin for sun exposure and prevents dehydration.

Precautions to be taken?

Potentially allergenic, Karanja oil should be tested in the crook of your elbow before applying it to your face or body to check your reaction. Allow it to work for 24 hours before washing the tested area. It is normal to feel warmth on the skin. This is indicative of its effectiveness. However, if you are allergic to this active ingredient, irritations, redness, pimples, patches, or itching will appear. Wash the affected area with a mild soap and, of course, do not use this oil.

Furthermore, this vegetable oil is recommended for external use only. Avoid contact with the eyes. It is not suitable for children under 6 years of age.

  • Although karanja oil has demonstrated UV absorption capabilities, it is not considered a sunscreen. Therefore, always supplement it with the application of a sun care product.


  • ANSM (Agence National de Sécurité du Médicament et des produits de santé). Produits de protection solaire contenant de l’huile de karanja (2017).


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