Rosehip Oil For Acne and Skin Explained (7 Studies): Everything You Need to Know!
Our skincare brand is live!
After five years of writing research articles on Simple Skincare Science, we have developed our own products based on the content written around this site. To place an order simply go to Malezia.com, or follow us on instagram for updates! We hope you have a great day 🙂
“You need to buy gallons of it immediately.”—Xovain
“Rosehip oil was made into a syrup and rationed in Britain during wartime to ensure children’s resistance to infection…. it helped provide relief from diarrhea, stomach and menstrual cramps, nausea and indigestion.”—Dr. Axe
And my personal favorite….
“A miracle skincare product. It’s better than botox in our opinion.”—Huffington Post
Spoiler alert: it’s not actually better than botox. Don’t expect this stuff to get rid of your wrinkles overnight. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. :p
It does however have a bunch of skin benefits! When I began digging into the science behind rosehip oil I pleasantly surprised because there’s a lot to be optimistic about. 🙂 Let’s get into it!
We will be discussing what rosehip oil is, why it’s good for acne, other benefits it has, how it feels on the skin, and what brands are worth purchasing from. Feel free to skip ahead to sections you’re interested in reading.
Table of Contents
What is Rosehip Oil?
Rosehip oil, a.k.a rosehip seed oil is the oil extracted from the hip (or fruit) of a rose plant. The hip being the cherry or radish-like ball left behind after a flower blossoms.
This is not to be confused with rose oil, which is extracted from the petal of roses. Rosehip oil and rose petal oil are two completely different things, the latter being a skin irritant that includes aroma chemicals which could cause fragrance allergies.
Is Rosehip OiI Good for Acne?
Yes! And that’s because the nature of its fatty acid composition, which looks like this.
- Linoleic acid = 47-50%
- alpha-Linolenic acid = 33-40%
- Palmitic acid = 3-5%
- Stearic acid = 2-3%
- Oleic acid and other = 4-20%
Here’s a graph from an experimental study with more detail.
From the photo above we see that regardless of the extraction method (i.e. temperature, pressure, CO2), rosehip oil always has a fairly high amount of linoleic fatty acid (47-50%), which is exactly what you want if you’re acne-prone!
Because research has shown that the skin surface lipids of acne-prone individuals are deficient in linoleic acid. (1) If you’re suffering from breakouts, chances are you probably have less linoleic acid content in your skin oil (sebum). This is not the case for those without acne.
Luckily for us, applying linoleic acid topically exerts the same benefits as having more of it naturally. In fact, one study found that applying linoleic acid on the skin reduces the size of micro-comedones! (2) Micro-comedones being the tiny clogged pores on your face.
You know, the ones you can annoyingly see when you stretch out your chin within an inch of a mirror and scrutinize every single pore on your face.
Oh… just me? Awkward.
Anyway, to quote the research paper itself,
“There was a significant effect of topically applied linoleic acid on the size of follicular casts and microcomedones, an almost 25% reduction in their overall size being achieved over a 1-month treatment period.”
An in vitro studied also revealed that linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation, or the dark spots and discoloration caused by sun exposure. (3)
And we’re just getting started on the potential benefits of rosehip oil! Let’s continue….
Other Rosehip Oil Benefits For Skin.
Apart from its sexy linoleic acid content, rosehip oil contains other antioxidants and proven anti-aging ingredients like vitamin A (both beta-Carotene and all-trans retinoic acid a.k.a tretinoin), tannins, flavonoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). (4, 5, 6)
In case you didn’t know, tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid) is the single-most effective anti-aging ingredient as far as clinical research is concerned. It has several decades worth of studies showing it reduces wrinkles, increases collagen production, and treats acne. The concentration of of tretinoin in rosehip oil is approximately .357 ml/L, so it might exert some anti-aging benefits. (6)
The concentration of vitamin C however is less impressive, with HPLC testing revealing that fresh rose hips only contain about 0.03 to 1.3% of L-ascorbic acid. (7) For reference, traditional vitamin C serums contain up to 20% ascorbic acid.
With that said, let’s quickly summarize all the studies that have been done on rosehip oil. The first 3 come from Trilogy, a skincare company that sells their own rosehip oil which can be found on amazon.
- 10 patients were asked to apply rosehip oil twice daily. After 12 weeks there was a 41% improvement in color (redness) of scars, and a 27% improvement in the overall appearance of scars.
- 10 subjects between the ages of 20 and 60, were asked to apply rosehip oil to their stretch marks twice daily. After 12 weeks there was a 43% improvement in appearance of stretch marks, 32% improvement in depth of stretch marks, 31% improvement in width of stretch marks, and 26% improvement in color of stretch marks.
- 20 females, aged 35 to 65, were asked to apply rosehip oil twice daily. After 8 weeks there was a 44% improvement in skin moisture, 23% improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, and 21% improvement in skin smoothness.
- Applying a 26% solution of rosehip oil for 8 weeks improved the appearance of scars in mascetomy patients. (i.e. women that had their breast removed). (5)
So overall, it looks like rosehip oil has some anti-aging benefits, may reduce acne scars (PIE, PIH), and is good for stretch marks.
Application and Feel.
In the words of Cassy from Xovain,
“Rose hip oil may be an oil, but it behaves more like a serum.”
Indeed, rosehip oil sinks into the skin and leaves no oily residue after several minutes. This is great for acne-prone skin which typically leans on the oiler side.
The cosmetically elegant feel can be attributed to the high unsaturated fatty acid content (linoleic, alpha-Linolenic), which makes the oil runny and thin. Unsaturated fats tend to stay liquid at room temperature, whereas saturated fats are solids. Coconut oil, for example, is solid because its high in saturated fatty acids like lauric acid.
How to Use Rosehip Oil.
Use it as the last step in your routine after moisturizer. Or if you want, you can use it as a moisturizer itself. Alternatively, it can be used as great cleansing oil if you’re into the oil cleansing method (OCM).
Where to Buy Rosehip Oil.
There are currently 37 classes of roses according to the American Rose Society. When looking for a rosehip oil make sure it comes from the seeds of Rosa aff. rubiginosa (Rosa eglanteri), Rosa moschata Herm, Rosa Mosqueta, or Rosa canina. All the other stuff won’t have the same benefits.
The Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is produced from the right species of rose (rosa canina), and is by far the most popular among skincare addicts. Recall from the information above, that they are also the same company that ran a couple clinical trials to show their rosehip oil’s efficacy.
As an aside, rosehip oil has a pretty low shelf life. Anywhere from 3-6 months. If this is a concern for you, then opt out for Trilogy’s Antioxidant+ formula, which has a few additional ingredients and a shelf life of 3 years!
Alrighty guys and gals, that does it for this article. Hope you’ve enjoyed it and learned something new. 🙂
Hello, I have recently read your post about fungal acne and I found it to be so helpful! I even wrote some notes down for future references 🙂
Just a quick question, it was mentioned in that post that Malassezia feeds on the carbon chain length C11-24, rosehip oil has Linoleic acid which has carbon chain of 18, wouldn’t this trigger fungal acne?
Since I am also here, it was also mentioned that sunscreen has esters that outside the problematic C11-C24 range. Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate has 18 carbons, not sure about the chain length for it trigger acne or not.
Is rosehip oil safe to use for fungal acne?
Rosehip seed oil and vitamin C? Can I use them in the same sitting? Wait time?
Hope you could post something about Niacinamide soon! (Or have you? And I’m just blind?)
Hi F.C! Thanks for this. I finished a bottle of Rosehip oil months ago but I didn’t see any difference with my skin so I switched to Desert Essence Jojoba Oil. Jojoba is great. Super light so I mix it with Cerave. However after reading this blog post, I had a feeling that maybe Rosehip didn’t work on me because I bought it from someone who buys skincare oils in bulk then repackaged and re-branded it into 15mL dropper bottles. I paid around $7 for the Rosehip Oil which is really cheap compared to Trilogy that is sold for $23. I initially wanted to buy Trilogy but I don’t want to pay that much money so I settled for the cheap one. After reading this post made me realize that maybe I was duped and I should’ve bought Trilogy instead. Do you have any thoughts about repackaged oils that some sellers re-brand and repackage?
Hi! Wouldn’t this oil go on before moisturizer since it’s thinner than say, a cream moisturizer?
I started using rosehip oil about a week and a half ago. The first few days were awesome, and then came the blemishes. Tons of little bumps, some worse than others, all around my chin and mouth where I usually breakout (if it all). I read online that it could be my skin “purging” itself, but also read that skin purging is a bullshit myth. Not sure what to believe, and if I should stop the oil. I bought a blemish banishing product to help tame the bumps and was planning to scale it back a bit on the oil for now. I really wanted it to work though because my skin is dry and loved it so much in the beginning, as does my wallet! Any advice on this, how to properly introduce oil to your skincare regimen and when to know when to stop trying would be so appreciated!
Hi! Is it possible that you have breakouts when you apply the oil for the first time?
Will the oil lose some efficacy if I mix some drops with my moisturizer and then apply the mix on my face?
Have you tried the rosehip oil from The Ordinary skincare line or any of their other products? Their brand is a hot topic in the Youtube beauty community right now due to their low prices. I’d love to hear your opinion.
If you have yeast problems with your skin, are you able to use rosehip oil without causing issues? Are there any other oils (other than MCT) that you can use safely? I.e. Argan, grapeseed, maracuja…
Well darn ! Where do you get your cromollient sce ? I’ve found it on Lotion Crafter and GOW , but shipping is higher than the product price . I’m a cheapskate , but I also love fast shipping. That’s why I’m hooked on Amazon prime . Wish Amazon had it . Guess I could choose slower shipping at GOW and just use my Brain Octne caprylic acid triglycerides on their own until it arrives. I could apply the brain octane oil to break up the sunscreen, then use a mild cleanser to remove the oil 🙂
Hye f.c.!! Just wondering if rosehip oil is considered as active? Can I use it as serum after applying my chemical exfolients (AHA, BHA)?
Hi f. c.!
Do you recommend putting rose hip oil on before sunscreen during the day?
– Rosehip Oil
– Elta MD Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF46
(Also i’ve recently finished my accutane course, which is why my routine is pretty gentle :p)
I’m not surprised rose hip oil is so low in vitamin C. Although rose hips are high in vit C, ascorbic acid is minimally soluble in oil and partitions preferentially into water. Rose hip oil, then, would have only a small fraction of the vitamin C naturally found in rose hips. Oil-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. (You can use the acronym DEAK to remember it.)
Partition coefficient of ascorbic acid: http://www.inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics0379.htm
How to read partition coefficient: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_coefficient#Distribution_coefficient_and_log_D
Hi fc! Thank you for all these detailed and thorough articles. I have been dealing with a pretty persistent chin acne outbreak lately and your blog has been a great resource. Since I am primarily dealing with clogged pores that sometimes transform into full blown pimples or occasionally nodules, I think rosehip oil could be of some help. However, I always have at least two active spots on my chin lately, and I remember reading somewhere that it was better not to use rosehip oil on active acne because it could be too “reactive” What do you think, are these claims founded? Should I be weary of trying it?
Hi is jojoba oil safe? Because it mimics human sebum like squalane? Thanks
Pai rosehip oil is very good. It has a small amount of rosemary in it also. I use it whenever everythings going wrong (skin based)
Great article, thanks so much! I already knew rosehip oil to be a wealth of goodness, but not quite so much! It’s on my list of things to try once I work my through all the products that at worst don’t aggravate my skin; you know the struggle of problematic skin :/
Could you please do an article on apricot seed oil? Of all facial oils I’ve tried in the past – which isn’t actually that many – I’ve found this one to be the most pleasant on my skin. I’d love to know more on how it works and if it has any benefits other than it just feeling nice, and I know I’m sure to be entertained if you get all the information in one place! Thanks again for all your hard work, you’re a godsend :*
Hi! So after research and reading your pages on these ingredients, I’m wondering if it would be bad or problematic to use all of the following things at the same time, or if I should rotate through them, only use some at the same time, etc. Please help! As a note: I do not suffer from melassezia, but I do have closed comedones, I usually have at least three pimples somewhere on my face, and I have mild Rosacea.
– Rosehip Oil
– Azelaic Acid
– should these next ones be concentrated (eg on their own) or are they enough as a part of a moisturizer?
– squalane Oil
– hyaluronic acid
I already use a gentle cleanser, and CosRX 96 snail mucin, and La Roche-Posay double repair moisturizer
Thank you so much for all of your science! I love science.