Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she’s held beauty roles at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

woman applying body oil before a shower

Image by Bisual Studio / Stocksy

May 6, 2023

When we talk about aging skin, much of the discussion circles around collagen—for good reason. The structural protein is what keeps our skin looking firm, lifted, and ultimately, youthful. But, like many of the elements of our skin structure, it declines with age. 

Our bodies naturally make the protein, but eventually the amount we lose starts outweighing the amount we produce. Collagen decline starts at some point in our 20s (the pivot point is different for everyone and mostly has to do with genetics), and then continues at about a 1% drop every year 1thereafter. This can be exacerbated by environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet, sun exposure, stress, and so on. 


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The good news is that there are plenty of ways to support and protect your collagen—including this underrated oil, research says. 

How safflower seed oil protects your collagen layer. 

Safflower seed oil is a botanical oil rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids 3, 6, 9. The texture of the liquid is thinner, silky, and very spreadable—which makes it ideal for many kinds of skin care products, including hair, face and body oils

It also contains a very special active compound called acacetin, a flavonoid. A 2020 study found that safflower seed oil and this compound can reduce damage caused by UVB exposure, specifically block damage to collagen. 

The research found that acacetin was able to inhibit an enzyme in the skin that’s responsible for the “collapse [of] connective proteins such as collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles.” The specific pathway is MMP12, or collagenase-1, which degrades collagen types 1 and 3.

Collagen types 1 and 3 are the most abundant in the skin, and the most critical for skin health. Essentially UVB rays stimulate an enzyme in the skin epidermal and dermal layers that then breaks down our structural proteins. Read: Collagen loss. 

However, the acacetin in safflower seed oil was able to block this process. As the study notes, “ SSO and its active compound acacetin can regulate MMP-1 expression.” In regulating this enzyme, the flavonoid is able to reduce the changes of collagen type 1 and type 3 breakdown. 

This research is impressive to say the least, and makes a strong case for looking for safflower seed oil in your products. mindbodygreen’s dry body oil uses an organic safflower seed oil, alongside sunflower seed oil, squalane, vitamin E, and prickly pear seed oil for a robust, antioxidant-rich body oil that supports your skin barrier. 

Editor’s note:

The most important thing you can do for your skin and your collagen layer is to wear sunscreen daily and be smart about your choices when outside (wear protective accessories like hats and don’t sunbathe for sport). UV-induced sun damage is the number one cause of collagen decline. No matter what you do elsewhere in your routine, it won’t matter if you’re not protecting your skin from the UV rays. 


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The takeaway

If you want younger-looking, healthy skin, finding products that support your collagen are important. There are many options to look into, such as sunscreen, retinol, and vitamin C. We also recommend looking for safflower seed oil in your products, as it can help stop the collagen breakdown process. Read up on more ways to naturally boost your collagen production