Rosehip Oil

Posted by Dr Davin Lim on

By Dr Davin Lim

Best used: AM & or PM


Caution: Occlusive oil

Best for: Inflammatory acne, anti aging

Comments: Limited studies, anti doctaly can treat some forms of acne

Mode of action: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant

Science Score:



What Is Rosehip Oil?

Rosehip oil is a pressed seed oil that has been valued since ancient times for its many healing properties. It is derived from the flower species Rosa damascena and can be classed as organic skin care. It is a popular ingredient in skin care because of its hydrating and anti-ageing benefits. Thanks to its high levels of essential fatty acids it can effectively soften skin, improve barrier functions and is particularly helpful for those suffering from acne. 

Rose Hip Oil

What Are The Benefits Of Rosehip Oil?

Rosehip oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant as well as anti-pigment properties. As an essential oil, it is effective in treating conditions such as dermatitis, acne and can also be incorporated into a botanical anti ageing skin care routine. It should be noted that other mainstream actives have more consistent outcomes, but if you're into natural skin care, rosehip oil may be worth considering. 

What Skin Concerns Can Be Addressed With This Essential Oil?

Acne: Research shows breakout-prone individuals are deficient in linoleic fatty acid. Rosehip oil topical application can increase the skin’s reservoir of essential fatty acids. The result? Less acne & blemishes!

Anti Inflammatory: Can be used to soothe the skin from inflammation caused by atopic eczema, acne, acne rosacea. Caution with frequent use as contact dermatitis may ensure. 

Collagen Protection: With high levels of ascorbic acid, rosehip seed oil can fight free-radicals in the skin, reducing UV destruction of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acids. 

Collagen Remodelling & Production:  Research shows that after eight weeks, rosehip oil will lead to a significant improvement in crow's-feet wrinkles, the skin's moisture level, and in elasticity (not the best paper, weak evidence in clinical dermatology). Retinoids provide much better results with reproducible studies. 

Hyperpigmentation & Skin Brightening effects: Though reported to be useful in the management of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to acne, there are many better pigment correctors including botanical extracts from licorice, green tea, wild berries. The pigment reduction pathway for rosehip oil is due to the relative high levels of ascorbic acid but it's stability has not be researched in depth. 

Scar Remodelling: Rosehip oil has been shown to improve surgical, acne, & traumatic scars. This oil contains high concentrations of vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, and K, rosehip oil is known for its exceptional regenerative and healing properties. 

Can Rosehip Oil Treat All Forms Of Acne?

Rosehip oil should ideally be used on inflammatory non-cystic acne spots, namely pustular & papular acne. As this is an oil, & potentially comedogenic, it should not be used on blackhead acne. Rosehip contains a high amount of an omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. Acne prone people have lower levels of linoleic acid, which alters the skin's natural oil (sebum) production.

You can combine this with other acne fighting ingredients such as retinol or retinoids. A sensible skin care routine would be to use rosehip as a spot treatment if and when required, & apply retinoids or retinol to acne prone areas.

How Do I Use Rosehip Oil? 

Although rosehip oil is formulated into many skincare products, it can usually be found in its pure form. This can be applied directly onto the skin. Rosehip oil has high levels of ascorbic acid and it sensitive to light and should thus be stores in a dark, amber-coloured bottle to protect it from UV rays, which can diminish the potency of the product. 

Rosehip oil can be used up to twice a day, morning and evening. The most popular way to use this oil by applying it directly to the skin or adding it to your favorite moisturiser. It is compatible with most skin care products.

Rosehip oil

Can Rosehip Oil Replace Moisturiser?

Yes, rosehip oil can work as a great natural alternative for moisturising. It has nourishing fatty acids which is one of the main ingredients in most moisturisers. You can apply this oil directly on your skin. 

What Can Be Used With Rosehip Oil?

Most skin care actives can be combined with rosehip oil. As an antioxidant it can be used in the morning, whilst it can be employed in the evening as an anti-inflammatory agent or to repair skin barrier function. 

Can I Use Retinol With Rosehip Oil?

Yes! You will read that rosehip oil doesn’t contain retinol but actually contains small concentrations of all-trans retinoic acid. The amount of vitamin A in rosehip oil is so low that adding a form of retinoid will not cause added toxicity. 

Does This Essential Oil Have Any Side Effects?

Rosehip oil has very little side effects and is generally safe for all skin types. However, a patch test should always be performed before adding any new product to your daily routine. Contact dermatitis with this oil is lower compared to tea tree oil. The comedogenic nature of this oil, along with other oils, can exacerbate blackhead acne. 

Davin’s Pro Tip On Rosehip Oil

My product knowledge is limited on the topic of rosehip oil. There are only a few (average) studies on this ingredient. From past clinical experience I do think this oil has a role in the treatment of inflamed acne lesions (zits, pustules not blackheads), as it is anti-inflammatory. Additionally it can be used to treat dermatitis & eczema as it has the potential to restore barrier function. Its role in the management of skin hyperpigmentation is questionable as there are better botanicals, including beta arbutin & licorice extract that do a better job. Regardless, if you are into natural skin care, be guided by your holistic naturopathic skin care expert. The antigenic profile of pure rosehip oil is lower than tea tree oil - possibly due to lower use of the former. 

 Rosehip oil

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