Rosehip oil has been recognized for its healing properties and used for centuries by Native Americans and ancient civilizations like the Mayans and Egyptians. Its popularity has grown in recent years as an essential ingredient for a glowing complexion.

Let’s take a closer look at the uses and benefits of rosehip oil and why you too may want to add it to your skincare regimen.

What Is Rosehip Oil?

Rosehip oil is the oil extracted from rosehip–the fruit of a rose bush. The fruit looks like a bulb that forms at the base of a rose flower after it blooms. As a blossom starts falling off, the rosehip continues to mature.

The following are the most popular types of rose plant used to make rosehip oil:

  • Musk rose (Rosa moschata)
  • Dog rose (Rosa canina)
  • Sweet-briar rose (Rosa rubiginosa, also called Rosa eglanteria) 

Types of Rosehip Oil 

The method of extraction affects the quality of the rosehip oil because it affects the number of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids left in the oil. For a higher quality product, look for an extraction process that is low heat and free of chemical solvents (such as hexane). Two methods that fit these criteria are cold-pressing and supercritical extraction.

  • Supercritical extraction involves putting carbon dioxide under high pressure and low temperature so that it can dissolve the rosehip. The whole fruit–seed, pulp, and skin–can be used in this type of extraction. This maximizes the number of beneficial nutrients in the oil.
  • Cold-pressing is another method that does not use heat to extract oil from rosehip. However, the process does entail crushing and pressing rosehip seeds. This can generate friction which creates some degree of natural heat.

Benefits of Rosehip Oil for Your Skin

When applied to your skin, rosehip oil may offer you many different benefits depending on the levels of its nutrient contents–vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.

1. Defends Against Wrinkles

With a high level of antioxidants, rosehip oil can combat the damage caused by free radicals on your skin. Free radicals can adversely alter DNA, lipids, and proteins in your body, causing many of the changes associated with aging, disease, and sun damage. Lycopene and beta-carotene are antioxidants found in rosehip that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Controls Acne-Prone Skin

Rosehip oil is generally rich in linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid) with a lower amount of oleic acid. This is significant in controlling acne for a couple of reasons. 

First, linoleic acid is more easily absorbed by your skin because it is thinner and more lightweight than oleic acid. That’s why rosehip oil is non-comedogenic (i.e. unlikely to clog pores), making it a good cleansing oil for acne-prone skin. 

Second, studies have shown that acne-prone people have skin surface lipids with an abnormal deficiency of linoleic acid and a predominance of oleic acid. Linoleic acid can help control acne because it keeps oil production in check and promotes your skin’s natural exfoliation process. Because it’s anti-inflammatory, linoleic acid can also soothe acne-associated redness and irritation.

3. Keeps Skin Hydrated

Researchers have found that rosehip oil improves the skin’s moisture levels, resulting in softer-feeling skin. With high levels of linoleic acid, rosehip oil can penetrate your skin and help it form a water-resistant barrier, essentially locking in moisture. This may provide some relief for conditions like dry skin or eczema where the skin barrier is disrupted, especially when you apply it immediately after a bath or shower.

4. Protects Skin

Environmental pollutants and harsh chemicals found in some beauty products can damage your skin’s outermost layer. Rosehip oil contains antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene that play a role in strengthening your skin’s protective barrier.

5. Prevents or Reduces the Appearance of Scars

Beta-carotene and linoleic acid in rosehip oil contribute to minimizing the look of scars. They boost collagen production, improve the skin’s turnover rate, and help to repair and prevent free radical damage. Additionally, linoleic acid can lessen the hyperpigmentation of certain scars. There is also research that rosehip oil improves the texture, erythema, and discoloration of post-surgical skin scars.

6. Evens Out Skin Tone

Provitamin A describes a compound that can be converted in the body to vitamin A. The most common provitamin A is beta-carotene. Thus, applying rosehip oil (which contains beta-carotene) to your skin can impart the benefits of vitamin A and that includes minimizing hyperpigmentation. 

Vitamin A can lighten dark spots because it increases skin cell turnover. So old cells that have become hyperpigmented get replaced by newer cells with a normal level of pigmentation. If you have dark spots related to sun exposure, medications, or hormonal changes, you may find that rosehip oil is effective for evening out your skin tone.

7. Brightens Complexion

Because it encourages skin cell turnover, rosehip oil acts as a natural exfoliant, which can bring radiance to a dull complexion. The oil’s astringent properties can reduce the size of your pores, which also helps brighten your skin. 

8. Relieves Inflammatory Skin Conditions

Rich in antioxidants, rosehip oil can alleviate the severity of skin irritation related to eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Of course, it’s wise to seek consultation from a healthcare professional for medical treatment of these conditions. But in conjunction with appropriate treatment, rosehip oil can provide some relief for inflamed skin symptoms. 

How to Use Rosehip Oil

Before adding any rosehip oil product to your skincare regimen, it’s a good idea to first do a patch test. That way you can find out how your skin reacts to the product while minimizing the extent of a potential adverse reaction. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply a small amount of oil to a dime-sized area of skin that would be easy to cover up. For example, you may want to test it on the inside of your forearm.
  2. Wait 24 hours, then check the test area again.
  3. If you don’t notice any redness, swelling, or any other sign of irritation, then you may proceed with full use of the product in your skincare routine. 

To apply rosehip oil, place 2-4 drops in your hand. Then rub the fingertips of your other hand into the oil. Proceed to apply the oil on your face, neck, and under your eyes in a gentle, circular motion using your fingertips.

You can apply rosehip oil once or twice a day. Put it on after your moisturizer at night. If photosensitivity is not a concern, you can choose to apply it before your sunscreen in the morning as well. 

Alternatively, instead of separate applications, you can add one or two drops of the oil into your normal moisturizer.

Rosehip oil is suitable for most skin types. Dry skin benefits from its ability to lock in moisture. If you have normal skin that only gets dry in extreme weather, then you won’t find it bothersome on your skin because it’s a lightweight oil. It doesn’t irritate oily skin either, since it gets absorbed so easily into the skin. Finally, given that it can adjust to various skin types, it also works on combination skin as a single product that you can put on all areas.

Precautions When Using Rosehip Oil

Research shows that rosehip oil is generally safe with a low risk of side effects. Of course, as with any product, there is a possibility of an allergic response. Allergic reactions can range from a mild rash to full anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening). 

People with a bleeding disorder should avoid using rosehip oil. It contains rugosin E, a chemical compound known to impair blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding.

Many pregnant women express concern about the use of rosehip oil as they have been warned to avoid too much vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A intake during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects. However, the form of the vitamin that warrants this precaution is preformed vitamin A. The provitamin A form in rosehip oil does not pose the same sort of danger during pregnancy. The US National Institutes of Health confirmed that a high intake of provitamin A does not cause any of the side effects associated with the use of preformed vitamin A.


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