For millennia, sunflower seed oil has been used in folk medicine for both skin care and the treatment of skin disorders. In its natural state, the oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, which has skin barrier-enhancing properties. A sunflower oleodistillate (SOD), which is produced through a molecular distillation process without the use of solvents, has been shown to increase the epidermal key lipid synthesis and to reduce inflammation in vitro and in animal models. It has also been shown to activate peroxisome proliferative-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha) in vitro. As PPAR-alpha agonists have been shown to stimulate keratinocyte differentiation, improve barrier function, and enhance lipid metabolism in the skin, it has been suggested that SOD might also be efficacious in atopic dermatitis (AD). An initial clinical evaluation of the care effect of a 2% SOD emulsion in 20 adult volunteers with atopic skin revealed the moisturizing properties of SOD. Finally, a strong steroid-sparing effect and a positive effect on quality-of-life parameters were clearly demonstrated for the 2% SOD cream in studies in infants and babies with AD.