The Benefits of Rosehip Oil in Skin Care, According to Experts


It’s been a minute since coconut oil burst onto the beauty scene and stole the thunder of every other beauty oil— rosehip oil included—but all that is changing. Celebs swear by the fatty acid–rich ingredient, which is extracted via a cold-press process and championed for its ability to hydrate and brighten while helping to stave off the common signs of aging.

What is rosehip oil?

The oil is obtained from the fruit that’s left behind after a rose has lost its petals. The ‘meat’ of the flower is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Categorized as a dry oil, meaning it does not remain fluid when exposed to air for extended periods, “rosehip oil is great for brightening, firming and moisturizing the skin,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King, adding that it easily absorbs without leaving a greasy feel. Unbeknownst to many, rosehip oil doesn’t boast a rosy or floral scent, but is rather woodsy as a result of the extraction method. Some formulas are purer, which is evident in their darker color, yet others are a watered-down mix with a low concentration of the active.

What is rosehip oil good for?

If there’s one oil that pretty much does it all, it’s this one. “Rosehip oil contains antioxidants, particularly ascorbic acid (vitamin C), phenolic compounds and fatty acids,” says Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD. “Theoretically, that means it can be calming, hydrating and even reduce hyperpigmentation topically.”

“Rosehip oil offers an anti-aging effect because of its antioxidant properties, which help limit skin damage,” says New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD. “The antioxidant activity is due to its content of polyphenols, vitamins B, C and E, and carotenoids. Rosehips reportedly have an anti-inflammatory effect, too.” The noncomedogenic oil is said to aid in skin healing and encourage elasticity and collagen production. Plus, it’s compatible with virtually every skin type because it “lowers TH2 IgE and eosinophil levels in the blood, so it is less likely to cause allergic reactions,” explains Dr. Markowitz.

Its mix of omegas-3 and -6 softens dry skin while linoleum and oleum acids help restore the skin barrier. However, not everyone feels that rosehip oil is a substitute for a regular moisturizer. “Oils are too thin to act as sealants and usually do not contain humectants, which are two key elements in providing skin moisturization,” says Dr. Markowitz. Dr. Waldorf agrees and recommends layering oils on top of other products. “Oil is occlusive. It seals in the moisture that’s already in the skin, but it doesn’t necessarily add hydration.”

Does rosehip oil help fade dark spots?

Rosehip oil can help fade dark spots because it contains skin-brightening vitamin C. Dr. Markowitz says “rosehip oil’s antioxidant properties help reduce photodamage, which is one of the causes of dark spots.” However, it won’t produce as dramatic a result as something like hydroquinone, but it is a good option for those who prefer more natural solutions. It is not just spots that respond to rosehip oil; it works on scars, too. A study in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications showed that cutaneous scars improved in texture when treated with the oil.

Rosehip oil for acne

Rosehip oil can help control breakouts due to its concentration of vitamin A and antioxidants—both have anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce redness and inflammation. Inflamed, irritated skin finds relief from anthocyanin, a flavonoid in the oil that calms and soothes rosacea- and eczema-prone skin while linoleic acid works to reduce the size and severity of pimples.

How to use rosehip oil

For best results, use rosehip oil morning and night either solo (as an oil) or in a cream, serum or lotion. Some of our favorites include Herbivore Phoenix Rosehip Anti-Aging Face Oil ($88) for hydrating dry, dull skin, the multipurpose cream-based Visha Skincare Face 2 Feet ($35) and The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($10) which only contains one ingredient: rosehip oil.

Rosehip oil plays nicely with other ingredients in the beauty sandbox and can be layered over or under almost anything. Just be mindful of using it with vitamin A and retinol as the oil contains a pretty high concentration of the vitamin itself.

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