Rosehip Oil For Acne and Skin Explained (7 Studies): Everything You Need to Know!
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“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. 🙂