Sesame oil


Sesamum indicum L., Pedaliaceae

INCI: Sesamum indicum seed oil

Purpose: universal oil for massage and skin care, creams, masks, soaps

Price: very cheap oil

The secret of healing: linoleic acid, phenolic compounds and lignans

My remark: if it’s cheap, it doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Stable, comfortable, gives nice creams, ideal for playing with cosmetics. Ayurveda appreciates sesame oil for a reason.

Massages with warm sesame oil? Definitely worth a try. We have already heard about morning oil pulling with sesame oil to help cleanse the body, an ancient custom that came from India. Sesame oil can be a good companion in the kitchen as a base oil, like sunflower oil. And, of course, in cosmetics.

Sesame oil teaches us that not only expensive oils are especially healing, but also that a relatively cheap oil can be used to make a nourishing skin preparation. Sesame oil is stable, it contains natural antioxidants, so it is a good oil for beginners when they start making creams. It emulsifies easily and nothing will happen to it even if it overheats, while still balancing the heated water and fat phase with clumsy hands.

The purpose of sesame is the general care of various skin types, because it is optimally absorbed. It is pleasant in massages, and has a weak, but noticeable protective UV factor, so it is added to sun cosmetics, along with similar oils (shea butter, Chilean hazelnut). Sesame is said to be an Indian olive oil, but not by similarity of taste or composition, but by folk use. Therefore, it is used to make macerates of medicinal plants (marigold, St. John’s wort), because it is resistant to oxidation (difficult to get rancid). Sesame is an ideal oil to play with in home cosmetics, and even if you don’t like it as a cosmetic oil, it’s always easy to eat it.

Some like the more or less pronounced scent of sesame and some do not. It depends. But it is easily covered with essential oils. Be careful not to use fried sesame oil, which is a spice in Chinese and Indian cuisine. Fortunately, the intense scent of roasted sesame oil will deter even the most inexperienced from using it in cosmetics.

Be careful with people who are allergic to sesame. They must not use its oil, not even in cosmetics.

Sesame oil contains an equal proportion of oleic and linoleic acid which means it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. It contains phenolic compounds (sesamol) and lignans (sesamin, sesamolin). Although there are less than 0.2% of them in the oil, they are good antioxidants and, in addition to keeping the oil from spoiling, they also have a healing effect on the skin. Sesame oil, depending on its origin, has a very diverse range of vitamin E molecules: α-tocopherol 2.4-360mg/kg, β-tocopherol 2.8-8mg/kg, γ-tocopherol, which is the dominant tocopherol, from 160-570mg/kg, while δ-tocopherol 1.7-130mg/kg. The major sterols in sesame oil are β-sitosterol, campesterol and ∆5-avenasterol. Vitamin E molecules, phenolic compounds and lignans are most likely responsible for the healing effect of sesame oil.

sezamovi spojevi

Quality requirement*
Basic characteristics 
Organoleptic characteristicsClear oil pale yellow to yellow in colour, characteristic odour and taste of unroasted sesame seeds.
Relative density0.915 – 0.925
Refractive index of light a 20 °C1.472 – 1.475
Optical rotation (°)3.5 – 6.0
Acid number mg KOH/gmaximum 3.0
Peroxide value mEq O2/Kgmaximum 10.0
Fatty acid content (%)
C16:0 palmitic acid7.9 - 12.0
C16:1 palmitoleic acidmaximum 0.2
C18:0 stearic acid4.5 - 6.7
C18:0 oleic acid34.4 - 45.5
C18:2 linoleic acid36.9 - 47.9
C18:3 α-linolenic acid0.2 - 1.0
C20:0 arachidic acid0.3 - 0.7
C20:1 eicosenic acidmaximum 0.3

*Codex Alimentarius

Useful references


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