New: A treatment designed for rosacea-prone skin

New: A treatment designed for rosacea-prone skin

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Effets huile de carthame rosacée.

Couperose, Rosacea: Can Safflower Oil Reduce Skin Redness?

Redness, heat flushes, physical and social discomfort... Rosacea is a conspicuous dermatosis that can be bothersome to live with daily. In addition to treatments recommended by the dermatologist, some people are in search of natural solutions. Safflower oil, rich in bioactives, is sometimes considered as such. What are its real effects on redness? More information in this article.

Published April 9, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 6 min read

Redness and Rosacea: How Can We Explain Them?

The widespread and diffuse redness on the face caused by rosacea is due to a significant dilation of the blood vessels in this area. Particularly visible in people with fair skin, the redness can be accompanied by tingling, small pimples, and hot flashes. Several factors contribute to a flare-up of rosacea, including genetic predisposition, exposure to heat and sun, stress, spicy food, and parasitic colonization. These various factors, coupled with a hypersensitization of the sensory receptors in the skin, trigger a nociceptive mechanism leading to the dilation of the blood vessels and consequently the appearance of redness.

It is important to consult a dermatologist in case of redness that persists. A mild case of rosacea can quickly progress to more severe forms of rosacea and affect the eyes.

Is safflower oil a natural solution for rosacea?

The safflower oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the safflower plant. Used in everything from cooking to painting to cosmetics, it presents itself as a fairly light orange liquid that emits a hazelnut fragrance. A safe natural ingredient, the safflower oil is suitable for sensitive skin and can also be used by individuals with oily skin. Regarding its composition, this vegetable oil primarily contains fatty acids responsible for its hydrating and nourishing benefits for the skin. It also contains phytosterols and several vitamins, active ingredients appreciated by those suffering from skin diseases due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Dilation of blood vessels and rosacea: Can safflower oil help to reduce them?

If safflower oil is so often cited as a natural solution for rosacea, it's because of its richness in Vitamin K. Several studies conducted on this molecule have highlighted that it possesses vasoconstrictive properties. Vitamin K acts on different levels of the coagulation cascade and notably allows the activation of the Stuart-Prower factor, an enzyme promoting blood coagulation. The redness associated with rosacea is primarily due to an excessive dilation of blood vessels, hence Vitamin K and, by extension, safflower oil can prove useful in reducing them.

Furthermore, a clinical trial conducted in 2018 evaluated the effectiveness of a topical cream containing 1% vitamin K as part of a treatment for rosacea. The study involved 75 women diagnosed with erythematous type rosacea. They were divided into two groups: Group A consisted of 25 patients who applied a standard moisturizing cream for redness twice a day. Group B consisted of 50 patients who did the same with a 1% vitamin K topical cream. The patients in each group were evaluated after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Vasomotor flushes, non-transient erythema, telangiectasias, burning sensation, and dryness were among the factors measured. The results revealed that the average severity score on these various parameters had significantly decreased more in the individuals from Group B, highlighting the benefit of a topical treatment with vitamin K for patients with rosacea.

Safflower oil to reduce inflammation caused by rosacea?

As previously mentioned, safflower oil has proven anti-inflammatory effects. These are primarily due to the phytosterols it contains, compounds that inhibit NF-κB and AP-1 proteins, which are pro-inflammatory transcription factors. These factors modulate the expression of genes coding for inflammation proteins. By blocking these signaling pathways, phytosterols reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which soothes and calms the skin by reducing redness and feelings of discomfort.

Safflower oil for skin reconstruction.

Safflower oil also contributes to the healing of the skin following inflammatory events. Its richness in fatty acids allows it to provide hydration to the skin, a key factor for its reconstruction. Moreover, the linoleic acid, which makes up more than 70% of its composition, is a precursor in the synthesis pathways of several mediators (thromboxanes, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes) that are highly active in neoangiogenesis and dermal regeneration.

Furthermore, the vitamin K found in safflower oil significantly increases the epithelialization process as well as the formation of fibroblasts, collagen fibers, and blood vessels. A double-blind study conducted over 14 days involving 63 people with wounds highlighted these effects. Each day, a portion of the participants applied a "standard" moisturizing cream, while another group used the same moisturizing cream to which 1% vitamin K had been added. At the end of the study, scientists observed a better healing in patients who applied the cream with vitamin K.

Note : Despite all the benefits of safflower oil, no studies have been conducted on individuals with rosacea, which should prompt us to remain cautious.


  • SANTIAGO J. L. & al. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Certain Plant Oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2018).

  • BEHNAM G. & al. The Impact of Topical Vitamin K on Wound Healing: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Journal of Pharmacology (2019).

  • BITRI L. & al. Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Capabilities of Seed Oil from Carthamus tinctorius L. in the Treatment of Skin Wounds. Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress in Wound Recovery (2020).

  • GALAWISH AHMED A. The effectiveness of topical vitamin K cream 1% in the treatment of steroid-induces rosacea. Journal of Pharmacy and Technology (2020).


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