Poppyseed oil is derived from the seeds of the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. This plant has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years and used for a variety of purposes.

Poppies are known for producing opium, which is used in the manufacture of drugs like morphine and codeine.

The seeds from the poppy plant are often used in cooking, and poppyseed oil has several potential uses as well, though best used on skin.

Read on as we take a deeper dive into the potential uses and benefits of poppyseed oil.

You may see poppyseed oil in a variety of places — from natural product shops to art supply stores. The oil is often used for making various varnishes, paints, and soaps.

The oil content of the seeds can vary depending on their color and where they originated. Poppy seeds can come in a variety of different colors, including white, yellow, and blue. On average, seeds may yield 45 to 50 percent oil.

Poppyseed oil is produced using a cold-pressing method. As its name implies, cold-pressing uses pressure to release the oil from the seeds and is performed without heat.

Poppyseed oil is advertised as being good for you due to its antioxidant properties, and as being beneficial for skin and hair health. Many of these potential benefits are based on anecdotal evidence, meaning they come from personal testimony rather than scientific testing.

Very little research has been done into the potential benefits of poppyseed oil. Below, we’ll explore some of the information that is available about the oil and its components.

Antioxidant properties

Antioxidants are compounds that help to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are produced as part of normal metabolism. Sometimes, they can damage your cells, possibly leading to conditions like cancer or diabetes.

Research from 2013 observed strong antioxidant activity for poppyseed oil. But it’s worth noting that this antioxidant activity was less than other oils that were tested. Ajwain seed, mustard seed, and fenugreek seed oils had more antioxidant activity than poppyseed oil.

A 2009 study found that poppyseed oil contains alpha- and gamma-tocopherol. Tocopherols are antioxidants and naturally-occurring forms of vitamin E.


Poppyseed oil contains antioxidants, including naturally occurring vitamin E, which may lower the risk of conditions like cancer. However, further research is needed to investigate the antioxidant effects of poppyseed oil.

For skin and hair

There’s no research specifically on poppyseed oil for cosmetic uses. However, poppyseed oil is rich in several different fatty acids. In addition to the antioxidants discussed above, fatty acids may also be beneficial for topical applications.

The main fatty acids in poppyseed oil include:

  • Linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is important for maintaining the water barrier of the skin. It can’t be produced by your body — it must be consumed in the diet. In fact, people with deficiencies in linoleic acid can form scaly skin lesions.
  • Oleic acid. Oleic acid may play a role in wound healing. It can also increase skin absorbance of other compounds that are present along with it.
  • Palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is the most common saturated fatty acid in your body. It can also be found in the skin. One 2010 study observed that levels of palmitic acid actually decreased with age.

Linoleic acid is the most prevalent of these fatty acids, making up 56 to 69 percent of the fatty acid composition.

These fatty acids are already present in some cosmetic products. For example, linoleic acid can be found as a skin or hair conditioning agent, oleic acid can be used as an emollient, and palmitic acid can be found in various soaps and cleansers.


Although research is very limited regarding poppyseed oil for topical uses, it does contain antioxidants and several fatty acids that may be beneficial for skin and hair health.

For pain

Since opium comes from the poppy plant, you may be wondering if poppyseed oil has any pain-relieving properties. There’s currently no research into poppyseed oil for pain relief.

In fact, poppy seeds and the oil extracted from them don’t naturally contain any opium. Opium is actually derived from the milky white poppy latex that is present in poppy pods, not from the seeds.


Poppyseed oil doesn’t contain opium. Further research is required to assess if poppyseed oil has any pain-relieving properties.

Although rare, allergies to poppy seeds have been reported. If you have an allergic reaction while using poppyseed oil, stop using it right away. Additionally, be on the lookout for anaphylaxis, a medical emergency with symptoms such as:

It’s also possible that topical application of poppyseed oil may cause skin irritation. Test a little bit of poppyseed oil on your skin before applying larger amounts. If you experience redness, itching, or pain, discontinue use.

Poppy seeds and poppyseed oil shouldn’t contain opium. Opium comes from poppy latex, which is a milky white liquid in the poppy pod.

But poppy latex can sometimes contaminate the seeds during harvesting. This can give them a small amount of opium content.

Because of this, it’s possible that you can get a false positive on a drug screen if you’ve recently consumed poppy seeds. However, there’s currently no evidence of this regarding the use of poppyseed oil.

You can harness the potential benefits of poppyseed oil by applying a small amount directly to your skin or by adding a few drops to a variety of cosmetic products, including:

  • lotions or creams
  • soaps
  • hair care products

Remember that some people may have a skin reaction to poppyseed oil. Test a small dab of it on your skin first before applying it to larger areas.

Poppyseed oil can also be used as a carrier oil for essential oils. To dilute an essential oil in poppyseed oil, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends using 6 to 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.

When buying poppyseed oil, purchase it from a reputable source. Some poppyseed oil products may be adulterated with other ingredients. Examine the label carefully. You should be purchasing 100 percent cold-pressed poppyseed oil.

Poppyseed oil comes from the seeds of the poppy plant. It’s typically used in the production of products such as soaps and paints.

Limited research has been performed on poppyseed oil. However, studies have found that poppyseed oil contains antioxidants and is rich in several fatty acids.

These findings suggest that poppyseed oil may be beneficial to use topically.

Poppyseed oil may lead to an allergic reaction or skin irritation. If you have questions or concerns about poppyseed oil, speak with your doctor before using it.