A stately plant that is native to the western region of the United States, parts of Canada, and northern Mexico, the Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) is a member of the Asteracea (Aster) family and grows between three and nine feet tall, depending on its growing environment. Helianthus Annuus received its name from the Greek words "helios anthos," which translates to "sun flower." It is the official state flower of Kansas. The Helianthus Annuus is also known as the Common Sunflower, Mirasol, or Kansas Sunflower.
Featuring a large, stiff, center stem, the Sunflower plant may also contain one or more, generally much smaller, side stems. The stems are covered with stiff hair-like growth and are light green in color, although the stems may also feature reddish green hues. Leaves are large and can be as wide as six to eight inches in width. They are typically covered with short hair-like growth that can be unpleasant to the touch. The Sunflower produces large flowers with yellow petals surrounding a profusion of hard-covered seeds. Initially, the center area of the flower is filled with disk-like parts that are brownish to purplish in color.
One of the benefits of such a tall plant is that pesticides are rarely needed to prevent soil-borne fungus issues or insect infestation. The flowers, which are daisy-like in appearance, wave gently in the air in response to the winds, following the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. Blooming during the mid-summer to late-summer months, the flowers grow to a width of three to five inches. A single sunflower plant can produce between one and twelve flower heads. Although sunflowers do produce a fragrance, it is barely noticeable. Sunflower seeds form in the center of the flower heads in the latter portion of the growing season, adding to the weight of the flowers and causing them to fall over.
Sunflowers and their seeds have been used for centuries to address a number of medical issues, including chest pains, breathing problems, kidney maladies, dermatological problems, loss of appetite, rheumatism, and sores. It has also been used as a stimulant. Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) seed oil has a light amber coloring to it. In the personal care industry, Sunflower Seed Oil is used in a variety of product types, including nail care formulas, hand creams, lotions, soap, cleansing products, eye creams, face wash, facial treatments, hair conditioners, hair shampoos, cosmetics, sun care solutions, and bath products.
Helianthus Annuus seed oil mimics the fat (lipid) content found in the human skin. Therefore, it is essential ingredient in formulas intended to help prevent moisture loss. Moreover, this gentle, plant-derived oil promotes soft, smooth looking skin as it prevents additional skin cell damage while maintaining the natural structure of the skin itself. Offering anti-inflammatory action due to the presence of triterpene alcohol, oil extract taken from sunflower seeds is sometimes included in skincare products designed to minimize swelling.
A number of additional ingredients are produced using Sunflower Seed Oil for use in beauty products including Hydrogenated Sunflower Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Glycerides, and Sunflower Seed Acid. A variety of beneficial qualities have been attributed to Sunflower Seed Oil as well as the other ingredients made from it. They include its use as an emollient skin-conditioning agent, occlusive skin-conditioning agent, cleansing surfactant, emulsifying surfactant, and a nonaqueous viscosity increasing agent.
Sunflower Seed Oil conditions the skin by slowing down evaporation of its natural stores of moisture. It cleanses the skin, reducing surface tension, enhancing its emulsifying capabilities. The composition of Sunflower Seed Oil and the ingredients made from it can be used to increase the thickness of the non-water (lipid portion) aspect of cosmetic formulas. These ingredients are also included to perform as skin-conditioning agents that help to minimize the flaking of dry skin resulting in an enhanced appearance for damaged or dry skin.
Emollient oil rich in oleic acid can be extracted from the seeds. This oil is rich in lecithin, vitamins A, D, and E, and unsaturated fatty acids. Therefore, this botanical ingredient and accompanying version of it are used in beauty care formulas designed for the delicate area of the skin around the eyes and delicate skin types in general.