Silybum Marianum Seed Oil



Silybum Marianum Seed Oil at a glance

  • Naturally derived oil from the milk thistle plant
  • Provides soothing, reparative benefits when applied to skin
  • Can help inhibit destructive enzymes that would otherwise lead to visibly aged skin
  • May also help fade discoloration from sun exposure

Silybum Marianum Seed Oil description

Silybum marianum seed oil comes from the milk thistle plant. Depending on the extraction method (ethanol vs. cold-pressed), this seed oil is a rich source of numerous types of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Chief among them is silymarin, which contains flavonolignans. These are what’s responsible for silymarin’s soothing, reparative benefits when applied to skin. They also give this plant ingredient the ability to neutralise highly damaging hydroxyl radicals that can form when skin is exposed to UV light. Silymarin and other compounds in this seed oil can help inhibit destructive enzymes in skin’s uppermost layers that would otherwise damage collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, leading to visibly aged skin. Silymarin and its derivative silybin have also been shown to visibly reduce dark spots. Studies have shown topical application of milk thistle can help fade discolouration from sun exposure and other sources without adverse effects. Some research indicates that extraction via ethanol is preferred because when cold-pressed, the seed oil’s silymarin content is lower; however, cold pressing releases more of the silymarin derivative silybin, which is an even more potent antioxidant and skin soother than silymarin. Either method provides a good source of alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), phospholipids, and squalene as well as polyphenols such as vanillic acid and p-coumaric.

Silybum Marianum Seed Oil references

  • Journal of Food Biochemistry, October 2020, ePublication
  • Molecules, March 2019, ePublication
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, February 2019, pages 263–269
  • Indian Dermatology Online Journal, October–December 2014, pages 426–435
  • Pharmacognosy Magazine, January 2014, pages S92–S99
  • BMC Dermatology, October 2012, ePublication

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated