What is rosehip oil?

Rosehip oil is also known as rosehip seed oil. It’s derived from the rosa canina rose bush, which is grown mostly in Chile.

Unlike rose oil, which is extracted from rose petals, rosehip oil is pressed from the fruit and seeds of the rose plant.

Prized since ancient times for its valuable healing benefits, rosehip oil is loaded with skin-nourishing vitamins and essential fatty acids. It also contains phenols that have been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Rosehip oil is often used as a carrier oil for essential oils which are too intense to put on your skin directly.

Keep reading to learn more about how rosehip oil can benefit your skin, and how to add it to your skincare routine.

1. It hydrates

Hydration is essential for soft, supple skin. Lack of hydration can be a problem during extreme weather, or as skin ages.

Rosehip oil contains a wealth of essential fatty acids, including linoleic and linolenic acid. Fatty acids help to keep cell walls strong so that they don’t lose water.

The many fatty acids in rosehip oil make it an excellent option for hydrating dry, itchy skin. The skin also easily absorbs the oil, allowing its antioxidants to travel deep into the skin’s layers.

2. It moisturizes

Moisturizing helps lock in your skin’s natural hydration and any added oils.

A 2015 study using rosehip powder suggests that rosehips offer several anti-aging properties, including the ability to keep skin moisturized. Researchers found that participants who took rosehip powder orally experienced noticeable improvements in the overall moisture of their skin.

You may also receive these benefits by applying rosehip oil topically. Rosehip oil is a dry, or nongreasy, oil. This makes it a great natural moisturizer for all skin types.

3. It helps exfoliate and helps brightens skin

Natural exfoliation with rosehip oil can help reduce dullness and leave you with glowing, vibrant skin.

That’s because rosehip oil is high in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A, or retinol, encourages skin cell turnover. Vitamin C also aids in cell regeneration, boosting overall radiance.

4. It helps boost collagen formation

Collagen is the building block of skin. It’s essential for skin elasticity and firmness. Your body naturally makes less collagen as you age.

Rosehip oil is rich in vitamins A and C, which are both necessary for the production of collagen. Rosehip has also been shown to inhibit the creation of MMP-1, an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the body.

Research supports these benefits, too. In one 2015 study, researchers found that participants who took rosehip powder orally experienced a noticeable increase in skin elasticity.

5. It helps reduce inflammation

Rosehip is rich in both polyphenols and anthocyanin, which may help reduce inflammation. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

With this in mind, rosehip oil may help calm irritation resulting from:

6. It helps protect against sun damage

Cumulative damage from a lifetime of exposure to the sun plays a major role in premature aging. UV exposure can also interfere with the body’s ability to produce collagen.

Rosehip oil contains antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins have been shown to synergistically combat visible sun damage. They may also help prevent photoaging.

With this in mind, rosehip oil may be used to help reduce the negative effects of UV exposure. But it shouldn’t be used in place of sunscreen. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about how you can safely use both in your skincare routine.

7. It helps reduce hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin forms dark spots or patches on the skin. This can result from a number of factors, including:

Rosehip oil is rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is made up of several nutritional compounds, including retinoids. Retinoids are known for their ability to reduce hyperpigmentation and other visible signs of aging with regular use.

Rosehip oil also contains both lycopene and beta carotene. These ingredients are said to have skin-lightening properties, making them staple ingredients in many skin-lightening products.

Animal studies indicate that rosehip extract does contain melanin-reducing properties, and may warrant further study for its use on humans.

8. It helps reduce scars and fine lines

Rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which are integral for tissue and cell regeneration in the skin. It’s no wonder that the oil has long been used as a folk remedy for wound healing, as well as the reduction of scars and fine lines.

One 2015 study on rosehip powder showed a significant reduction in the appearance of fine lines around the eyes, also known as crow’s feet, after eight weeks of treatment. Participants in this study consumed the powder orally.

In a separate 2015 study, participants with post-surgical scars treated their incision site twice per day with topical rosehip oil. After 12 weeks of use, the group using rosehip oil experienced significant improvements in scar color and inflammation when compared to the group who received no topical treatment.

9. It helps boost immunity

Rosehip oil is rich in antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids, like linoleic acid, which are imperative for preventing the breakdown of cell membranes in the skin. Strong, healthy cells act as a barrier to prevent bacteria from invading the skin, which can lead to outbreaks and infections.

In both animal and human studies, rosehip powder has been shown to bolster the strength and longevity of the skin’s cells. Rosehip powder was also shown to reduce the production of MMP-1, an enzyme that breaks down cell structures like collagen.

How to use rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is a dry oil that easily absorbs into the skin.

Although it’s generally safe for all skin types, you should perform a patch test before your first use. This will ensure that you aren’t allergic to the oil.

To do this:

  1. apply a small amount of rosehip oil to your forearm or wrist
  2. cover the treated area with a band aid or gauze
  3. after 24 hours, check the area for signs of irritation
  4. if the skin is itchy or inflamed, you shouldn’t use rosehip oil (see your doctor if the irritation persists)
  5. if the skin doesn’t show any signs of irritation, it should be safe to use elsewhere

Once you’ve done a patch test, you can apply rosehip oil up to twice per day. The oil can be used on its own, or you can add a few drops to another carrier oil or your favorite moisturizer.

Rosehip oil can go rancid quickly. To help extend its shelf life, store the oil in a cool, dark place. You can also store it in your refrigerator.

Though it’s slightly more expensive, cold-pressed, organic rosehip oil is recommended for purity and best results.

Popular choices include:

Possible side effects and risks

Rosehip oil is generally safe for all skin types, but allergic reaction is not uncommon. Before using rosehip oil for the first time, you should perform a patch test to make sure your skin can tolerate the oil.

See your doctor if you begin to experience:

  • red, itchy skin
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • scratchy throat
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Anaphylaxis is possible in severe cases of allergic reaction. Seek immediate emergency medical attention if you begin experiencing:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • swollen mouth, throat, or face
  • rapid heartbeat
  • stomach pain

The bottom line

Rosehip oil has a long history as a therapeutic remedy and beauty product. It’s full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that are all valued for their ability to nourish the skin.

Scientific studies showing rosehip oil’s promise make it an intriguing option for anyone looking to reduce the visible signs of aging, clear up scarring, or otherwise improve their skincare routine. Not only is it reasonably affordable and easy to use, it’s considered generally safe for all skin types.