Linseed Acid

What Is It?

Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil is an edible oil expressed from the seeds of Linum Usitatissimum. Linseed oil is also called flax seed oil. The fatty acids obtained from linseed oil are called Linseed Acid. Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil may be used in bath products, cleansing products and skin care products.

Why Is It Used?

When used in cosmetics and personal care products, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil functions as a skin-conditioning agent – occlusive and as a skin-conditioning agent- miscellaneous. Linseed Acid functions as a surfactant – cleansing agent.

Scientific Facts

Linum usitatissimum is a widely cultivated plant native to an area from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Used as a dietary supplement, linseed oil contains high levels of an essential fatty acid, linolenic acid. In addition to approximately 57% linolenic acid, linseed oil also contains approximately 19% oleic acid, 15% linoleic acid, 6% palmitic acid and 4% stearic acid.

Safety Information

The safety of Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil and Linseed Acid has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated scientific data and concluded that these ingredients were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. Botanical and botanically derived ingredients used in the formulation of cosmetics are generally mild and safe. Prior to marketing the finished cosmetic product, the safety of each ingredient must be substantiated in accordance with 21 CFR 740.10. Safety substantiation of cosmetic ingredients may include tests for ocular and skin irritation as well as allergenicity, phototoxicity, photoallergenicity and mutagenicity, depending on the application or intended use. There is a considerable body of information about the safety of botanical ingredients and a well-established history of use. These resources are consulted to ensure the safety of these materials as they are used in cosmetics.

CIR Safety Review:

Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil and Linseed Acid were included in the CIR Expert Panel’s review of plant-derived fatty acids oils. Based on a history of safe use in food, the composition of the oils, and data indicating that these ingredients were not dermal irritants or sensitizers, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that plant-derived fatty acid oils including Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil and Linseed Acid were safe as used in cosmetic products.

More information about botanical ingredients.

Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil and Linseed Acid may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More Scientific Information

In naming plants, botanists use a Latin name made up of the genus and species of the plant. For example, under this system linseed is known as Linum usitatissimum L. where “L.” stands for Linneaus, the person who first described the type of plant specimen.

Plants are also known by a common name that has been handed down through generations. For example, linseed is also known as flax. These common names may vary from country to country.

Therefore, Latin names, which are more likely to be recognized in many countries, are frequently used on the label of a product to identify an ingredient made from plants.


Cross Reference for Common Names and Latin names for Botanical ingredient:…

Find out more about the history of using plants to obtain beneficial materials:

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory