Do vegetable oils protect from UV radiation?

Do vegetable oils protect from UV radiation? like:

Rice bran- sesame oil?


  • Under very specific circumstances, certain fractions and antioxidants from vegetable oils may "boost" SPF. Note that I said may.
    The studies I looked at involved nanoencapsulation of vegetable oils (in a hydrogel base), and some of them were specific antioxidants like oryzanol.
    Not all of these were scientifically sound. Many of them measured SPF in vitro or on mice. These results are obviously not the same as having a conventional sunscreen formulation (but formulated with these oils) applied to human skin.
    Basically, these studies are in the early stages and we can't draw any solid conclusions from them.
    So, if you see blogs claim certain oils "naturally" have a SPF of 7 or 30... these are huge misinterpretations of those studies. You can't just throw these oils into a sunscreen formulation and expect it to work, especially without testing.
  • The SPF obtained from vegetable oils is negligible.

    Personal anecdote: I tried the raspberry seed oil on one area of the skin and regular  sunscreen on an area right next to it. I got no sunburn in the area where the regular sunscreen was applied whereas in the area where raspberry seed oil was applied, got sunburnt. 
    I was participating in an outside activity that only lasted a few hours and I tried to stay in the shadows whenever I could.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    Not to any real extent. Unfortunately this misconception had lead to more non-compliant and ineffective products than I can recall. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • Almond oil has been proven to offer an aspect of protection.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @suswang8 - the study was done in mice.  It's notable that since the study was published (2007) there have not been any studies done in humans to demonstrate any UV protective effect.

    In 14 years no one thought to put almond oil on a human subject, expose to UV, and see the results?

    My guess is of course they did, and it didn't work in humans.

    There has been done some work on the subject spectrophotometrically.  This is not how SPF is traditionally measured but using a lab instrument can give an approximate value.

    In this study, there is a list of common oils and simulated SPF values.  They are not very robust nor would be suitable for sunscreen protection.
  • Sorry - Just to clarify:  I was not suggesting that someone just put almond oil on their skin and then go outside, knowing they are fully protected.

    I said an "aspect of protection."  I think there are various ways of looking at sun protection, one of which is through SPF, but that focuses purely on UVB radiation.

    There are also these three studies, which suggest skin benefits of almond derivatives in human beings:

    I don't have a vested interest one way or the other; I'm just saying that there is some evidence that almond oil might offer some benefits with respect to lessening sun damage.

  • I would simply stick to Perry's answer: No.

    (Although, I've got one video for you :) 
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    There's a difference in skin benefits after UV exposure, a very mild SPF of <6, and real sun protection.
    Some natural compounds do absorb UV light but these are usually not or insufficiently present in oils except for carotenoids (which come with intense colour and a fairly poor absorption in the UV range). Coumaric and ferulic acid as well as many flavonoids would work better but these do not occur in oils. Carnauba wax contains cinnamic and related acid esters and does in fact absorb in the UV range... however, who wants to have a shell like a Smarties?
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