I never thought I would suggest something over coconut oil for skin, but rosehip oil — also known as rosehip seed oil — is running a close race with coconut oil when it comes to its benefits for the skin. Rosehips were a remedy used by the ancient Egyptians, Mayans and Native Americans all because of their amazing healing properties. (1)
Indeed, rosehip oil was made into a syrup and rationed in Britain during wartime to ensure children’s resistance to infection. The syrup was made from the empty seed cases and also helped provide relief from diarrhea, stomach and menstrual cramps, nausea and indigestion. As you can see, rosehip oil — which is technically not an essential oil — has many uses that go more than skin deep.
Why Is Rosehip Oil So Effective?
Rose essential oil is made from rose petals while rosehip oil, also called rose hip seed oil, comes from the seeds of rose hips. Rose hips are the fruit left behind after a rose has flowered and dropped its petals.
Rosehip oil is harvested from the seeds of rose bushes predominately grown in Chile, and is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin, all while reducing scars and fine lines.
By using a cold-press extraction process, the oil is separated from the hips and seeds. For facial skin care, rosehip oil offers several benefits when applied externally. It protects the skin and increases cell turnover because it contains beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), vitamin C and vitamin E which are all antioxidants that help fight free radicals.
Rosehip oil’s healing properties are due to its chemical structure. As I noted, it’s rich in essential fatty acids, but more specifically oleic, palmitic, linoleic and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Rosehip oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (vitamin F), also known as an essential fatty acid (EFA), and when absorbed through the skin, these fatty acids convert to prostaglandins (PGE), which are involved in cellular membrane and tissue regeneration.
Rosehip Oil Benefits
1. Anti-Aging Properties
Rosehip oil has significant anti-aging benefits for your face. Super light and non-greasy, the anti-aging benefit comes from its high antioxidant content and the oil’s ability to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin where it can improve moisture levels and reduce visible signs of aging.
Collagen production naturally slows down as we age, but thanks to the high vitamin C content of rosehips, this is an oil that can actually help to stimulate collagen production in the skin. In fact, a clinical study published in 2015 reveals that 60 days of topical vitamin C treatment was “highly efficient as a rejuvenation therapy, inducing significant collagen synthesis in all age groups with minimal side effects.” (4)
For those who are seeking to avoid chemicals and Botox, rosehip oil may be perfect because of its skin rejuvenating properties of vitamin C, vitamin A and lycopene. This makes it a safer solution to repair the skin’s surface and restore elasticity.
2. Protection from Age Spots
The UV rays of the sun can damage the skin, resulting in age spots and hyperpigmentation on the face. The antioxidants found in rosehip oil, especially the combination of vitamin C and vitamin E, can help to combat free radicals that cause sun damage. These antioxidants can actually reduce the overproduction of pigment in skin, which is exactly what leads to uneven tone and age spots in the first place. It also helps to get these antioxidants internally by including them in your diet. (5) Rosehip tea is a great, easy way to do this.
3. Helps With Stretch Marks and Reduces Acne Scarring
The essential fatty acids found in rosehip oil can help get rid of scars and reduce the appearance of stretch marks by promoting skin regeneration. When applied topically, the essential fatty acids act as emollients helping to soften the skin while also increasing hydration. (7)
Rosehip oil may also help with cases of eczema thanks to its emollient status which means it can provide a protective barrier to the skin while also smoothing out flakiness. (8) The oil can also help to reduce dry scalp and itchiness that are often caused by chemicals in most store-bought shampoos.
4. Boosts the Immune System
Rosehips are one of the best plant sources of vitamin C which helps treat infections and boost the immune system. According the the University of Maryland, rosehips can even be used as a vitamin C supplement. (9) Fresh rose hips, rose hip tea or a rose hip supplement all great options for keeping the immune system strong.
Besides being an antioxidant, vitamin C is responsible for collagen production in the body, which is an important element in the structure of bones and muscles. Vitamin C also aids in the proper absorption of iron that produces red blood cells. (10)
5. Reduces Inflammation and Helps Arthritis
People suffering from arthritis can benefit from using rosehips internally in addition to externally. According to the Arthritis Foundation, rose hips powder is a rich source of vitamin C and it seems to reduce arthritis-associated inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory enzymes and proteins. (11)
What about topical use of rosehip oil for arthritis? There isn’t recent research on this approach, but traditionally, a rose petal infusion was often added to bath water for people suffering from arthritis or rheumatism to relieve symptoms. (12) So adding a little rosehip oil to your bath water or applying it to areas of inflammation just may help.
Tips on How to Use Rosehip Oil
- Rosehip oil is delicate and can easily go rancid, so it’s important to take great care of it. Oftentimes, vitamin E oil is added to improve shelf life. Keeping it in the refrigerator or stored in a cool, dark location can help prevent rancidity.
- Though it’s more expensive, cold-pressed rosehip oil is best because it hasn’t been altered by heat and therefore retains more nutrients.
- Since rosehip oil classifies as a dry oil, it absorbs quickly into the skin. You can apply the oil directly to the face using gentle, massaging motions or use it in numerous skin care recipes.
- It’s a good oil to experiment with for DIY lotions and serums, such as this Rosehip Oil Eye Serum for Dark Circles + Puffiness.
- Applying the oil twice a day can have great benefits, but it is important to note that rosehip oil does not protect against sunburn.
- While it can prevent and reduce acne scars, it should not be applied directly to active acne.
- If you have acne-prone skin, make sure to test an area first to ensure the product won’t clog your pores, causing unwanted flare-ups.
- Rosehip seed oil can be used on the face and neck since it absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue. Just remember you only need 2–3 drops.
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