Meadowfoam Oil: The Skin-Protecting Barrier Booster

Jan 19, 2022by Heather Smith

meadowfoam seed oil | best face oil for sensitive skin

Meadowfoam seed oil is one of the best face oils for sensitive or irritated skin. This article is a part of our series on choosing and using face oil properly. 

Until recently, this carrier oil hasn't been receiving the attention it deserves. Read on to find out exactly why you should consider adding meadowfoam oil to your face oil ritual. 

What is Meadowfoam Seed Oil and How is it Made?

Meadowfoam seed oil is not as commonly known compared to other oils typically used in the beauty industry. However, that is quickly changing, and this highly versatile, sustainable oil is rightfully becoming in more popular demand.

Meadowfoam oil is extracted from the seeds of white flowering blossoms from the meadowfoam plant, found in Oregon, California, and parts of western Canada, along the Pacific northwest coast.

The plant’s botanical name is Limnanthes alba. It is an annual herbal flowering plant. The name meadowfoam comes from the abundant white flowers that appear to cover the meadow in white foam. The “fruit” of the flower is a nutlet, where the seed oil is derived. The seeds contain approximately 20 to 30 percent oil. The extraction method is typically refined and cold-pressed.

What Does Meadowfoam Oil Contain?

Clear or light golden, meadowfoam seed oil comprises almost 98 percent long-chain fatty acids, making it one of the best oils in terms of stability.

This oxidation resistance prolongs its shelf life, making it a long-lasting oil to choose for your regular skin routine. In addition, when blended with other products, this oil lengthens the shelf life due to its oxidization-resistant stability.

Meadowfoam oil is rich in omega fatty acids. It also contains a less common eicosenoic acid, which helps balance your skin’s sebum production. Achieving this balance helps to keep the skin from becoming either too oily or too dry. The composition of meadowfoam oil is remarkably similar to that of your skin’s natural oils.

Rich in vitamin E makes this oil a helpful antioxidant, further improving its shelf stability. This seed oil also contains the phytochemicals 3-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate and 3-methoxyphenyl acetonitrile, which may provide some protection against UVB rays, but this should never be a reason to avoid using proper SPF.

What are the Skin Benefits of Meadowfoam Seed Oil?

Meadowfoam oil acts as a protective barrier to seal in your skin’s natural moisture. One of the main meadowfoam seed oil skin benefits comes from it's soothing, emollient properties. While some emollients leave the skin feeling greasy, meadowfoam oil does not. Some research suggests this healthy oil, rich in fatty acids, may help to reduce stretch marks and scarring.

Since meadowfoam oil provides some UVB protection, it can be used as a base oil to help moisturize your skin before putting on your regular sunscreen. The omega-9 eicosenoic acid present in meadowfoam seed oil may also help to reduce sun damage and wrinkles. In addition, the compounds that fight against UVB rays are prevalent with collagen-degrading enzymes that help enhance the skin’s antioxidative properties.

Rich in vitamin E, this oil helps prevent and reduce signs of aging. It absorbs quickly and easily, which helps to penetrate all the beneficial nutrients into the epidermis. Meadowfoam seed oil can also enhance the absorption of other ingredients.

Being light and non-greasy, meadowfoam oil is perfect for sensitive skin types. It has a unique feel on the skin, leaving your face feeling soft or even powdery and not greasy at all. Meadowfoam seed oil is one of the best face oils for sensitive skin. It will help produce a moisturized, glowing complexion with a very low risk of irritation.

Summary of Meadowfoam Seed Oil Skin Benefits:

    • Soothing emollient that locks in moisture to prevent water loss
    • Similar to our own skin oils and suitable for all skin types including sensitive and acne-prone
    • Balances sebum production 
    • Lightweight and rapidly penetrates
    • Leaves a soft, silky-smooth finish, non-greasy
    • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
    • Powerful antioxidant fights free radicals and extends the shelf life of other ingredients

Will Meadowfoam Oil Clog Pores?

The meadowfoam seed oil comedogenic rating is 0-1, meaning it won't clog pores in most people.

It's consistency is similar to other base carrier oils, and it absorbs quickly. This light-textured quality oil makes it suitable for all skin types.

This type of lightweight carrier oil is safe for people with oily skin and acne. For some people it may help regulate sebum production.

How Do You Use Meadowfoam Facial Oil? Is it Safe?

Like all facial oils, meadowfoam oil is best used at the end of your skincare routine. This allows it to seal in moisture and all your other active ingredients applied first. You can use it once or twice a day at about 2-3 drops and smooth over your skin. 

Meadowfoam seed oil is generally not used in cooking because of the higher levels of Erucic acid. The erucic acid makes it an amazing skincare ingredient because it has properties similar to mineral oil, only it's biodegradable and not petroleum based. However, because of the unclear effects on human health if consumed at high dietary doses, it's not recommended as a food oil.  That said, there are no specific worries about topical use, so it is safe.

What Is The Environmental Impact of Meadowfoam Oil Farming and Production? Is it Sustainable?

Meadowfoam has been known to the botanical community since the 19th Century and is often cultivated for its pretty, ornamental blossoms.

Commercial development of the oil began in the 1980s. Meadowfoam is considered an environmentally friendly and beneficial crop for planting as part of a crop rotation to help prevent soil-related pathogens and weeds among grass seed farmers.

It has not been associated with over-farming or controversial de-forestation for cash crop farming. This is a North American crop so the ethics of agricultural exploitation in developing nations isn't one that will arise with this particular oil.  

As you can see, there are many reasons why meadowfoam oil is a welcome addition to facial and skincare routines. It's featured as a key ingredient in our Northern Rescue Serum for dry and stressed skin. 


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About the Author

Dr. Heather Smith developed her love for skinimalism and clean beauty years ago when she began making home remedies for her newborn's eczema. She is an expert in natural ingredients and active botanicals and has now launched bareLUXE Skincare - a full line of effective oil serums. She dedicates this blog to consumers who are researching ingredients and working to make their beauty ritual more natural and sustainable.


This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Smith nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content should consult their physicians about their skincare concerns and routines.