- Rosehip oil is a natural treatment for acne and is available in both topical and supplement form
- It is high in vitamins A and C, linoleic acid and essential fatty acids to fight inflammation and reduce hyperpigmentation
- Rosehip oil is especially effective for inflammatory acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- This oil is generally safe and has few side effects when used in topical form.
Rosehip oil is a natural extract from the seeds of the rosehip fruit. The fruit is the part of a rose that remains after the petals have fallen off. Rosehip oil for acne is a popular natural skin care remedy due to the abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
Does Rosehip Oil Treat Acne?
Rosehip oil contains many beneficial properties and has been found to be effective in treating noninflammatory acne but especially inflammatory acne, a skin condition that manifests as cysts, nodules, papules and pustules.
It not only nourishes and moisturizes skin, but soothes inflammation. It’s available over the counter (OTC) as a topical treatment and an oral dietary supplement.
Rosehip oil contains vitamin A, a natural retinoid proven to treat acne symptoms. Topical vitamin A can help regulate sebum (oil) production and helps to encourage cell turnover. It’s also rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin C; both work to protect the skin from damage.
Lycopene is also present in this oil and is known for its strong antioxidative properties. It is an effective natural astringent that also helps to reduce the appearance of large pores.
Those with noninflammatory acne can also benefit from rosehip oil. It contains linoleic acid, which works alongside vitamin A to help control the natural production of sebum. When sebum production is regulated, whiteheads and blackheads are less likely to form.
When used topically, it’s astringent properties clear pores of debris and excess oil, encouraging pimples to heal and preventing new ones from forming.
Rosehip oil can also address hyperpigmentation or dark spots, which often develop after an acne breakout. Powered with vitamin C, this provides benefits of increased collagen and elastin production while inhibiting melanin production to help fade overpigmented spots.
Rosehip oil for cystic acne
Because rosehip oil reduces inflammation, it can be beneficial against cystic acne but it isn’t strong enough to treat cysts on its own. However, it can be part of a combination of treatments.
Cystic acne can be a severe condition, and for the most part OTC treatments aren’t adequate to address it on their own. If you fall within this category, your dermatologist will likely prescribe stronger medications to address your symptoms.
Rosehip oil for hormonal acne
Hormonal acne can present as a combination of inflammatory and noninflammatory acne. Hormonal imbalance can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms such as:
- Inflamed skin
- Overproduction of sebum
Rosehip oil may alleviate the symptoms of hormonal acne, particularly symptoms related to inflammation. However, because this type of acne is caused by internal factors, rosehip oil is powerless in preventing further breakouts and symptoms. Hormonal imbalances should be addressed by a doctor.
Rosehip oil for fungal acne
Fungal acne is caused by an overgrowth of yeast, a type of fungus, that is normally present on the skin. This overgrowth causes an infection in hair follicles which causes itchy pus-filled pimples and whiteheads.
Rosehip oil is rich in phenols, compounds which are antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Although rosehip oil may help fight fungal acne to some degree, it’s not an appropriate treatment on its own.
The primary treatment for fungal acne is prescription-strength antifungal medication taken orally. Your dermatologist can diagnose fungal acne and prescribe the appropriate medicine. Topical antifungal cream may also be recommended.
Other Benefits of Rosehip Oil
Besides being a natural acne treatment, rosehip oil has a host of other benefits for skin.
Rosehip oil is abundant with antioxidant-rich vitamin C. This vitamin can help alleviate inflammation, encourage cell turnover, boost collagen and elastin production and address hyperpigmentation. Its skin-brightening properties make vitamin C a go-to ingredient for people who want to rejuvenate their skin’s appearance.
Besides improving acne symptoms, vitamin A can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and reverse sun damage.
The linoleic acid found in rosehip oil is an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Linoleic acid can help regulate the production of sebum for those with oily skin. There are several fatty acids within this oil that boost hydration and keep skin supple.
Rosehip oil for acne scars
While there is no scientific evidence to support the claim, rosehip oil is said to help reduce the appearance of acne scars. The essential fatty acids present, such as linoleic acid, could be helpful in addressing hyperpigmented scar tissue. Fatty acids are also hydrating and softening, which may help with reducing the appearance of scars.
However, studies have shown rosehip oil to be healing to scars, in general. One study involved postsurgical patients who applied topical rosehip oil to their surgical site. Researchers found that participants who used rosehip oil found their scarring to be less dark than those who didn’t use it. This improvement in color is thought to be linked to the rosehip oil effectively reducing inflammation.
Rosehip oil works best for people who have dark, small, flat scars. However, depressed acne scarring is more severe and would require professional treatment.
Rosehip oil for postinflammatory hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation occurs for a variety of reasons other than inflammation, such as excessive sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, age or skin injury.
The vitamin A, beta carotene, linoleic acid and lycopene in rosehip oil all contribute to reducing hyperpigmentation. When used consistently over time, rosehip oil can help reduce dark spots for some people.
How to Apply It
Rosehip oil is available OTC both in its pure form and as an ingredient in other skin care products.
Depending on the severity of your acne, you may choose to try it alone or in combination with other OTC or prescription acne-fighting ingredients. Keep in mind that moderate to severe acne may not respond well to rosehip oil.
Before you apply rosehip oil to your face, do a patch test to ensure you aren’t allergic. Apply the product to a small, discreet area of your skin and wait 24 hours to determine any reaction.
To incorporate pure rosehip oil into your daily skin care routine:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser; pat dry
- Apply rosehip oil to your entire face, massaging in small circles until absorbed
- Apply your moisturizer of choice
- Continue your skin care routine
Rosehip oil can be applied in the morning and evening. If you purchase an OTC acne treatment that contains rosehip oil, follow the instructions on the label and use only as recommended.
If you don’t see an improvement in your symptoms after 6–8 weeks of topical use, talk to your dermatologist. They’ll be able to tell you whether taking oral rosehip supplements would be more appropriate for your condition or if another treatment should be considered.
Can Any Skin Type Use It?
When used topically, rosehip oil is generally safe for all skin types. However, those with sensitive skin should use caution when applying any new product.
Side Effects of Rosehip Oil
In addition to mild irritation, rosehip oil can cause side effects in some people. However, for most people, it’s considered a safe product.
If you already use topical retinoids or products that have high concentrations of vitamin C, use caution, as rosehip oil contains high concentrations of both. Using too much of either can cause skin irritation.
If you have an allergy to plants in the Rosaceae family or to rose hips, you should avoid use.
People who take rosehip supplements might experience more severe side effects, including headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, stomach cramps, vision changes, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn.
People who should avoid taking rosehip oil supplements include those who:
- Have clotting or bleeding disorders
- Are diabetic
- Are pregnant or breast-feeding
- Have a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
- Are prone to kidney stones
- Have an iron-related blood disorder such as anemia, hemochromatosis or thalassemia
- Have sickle cell anemia
- Are preparing to have surgery
If you take medications or supplements to address the above conditions, such as blood-thinning medication (warfarin, aspirin, etc.), vitamin C, OTC or prescription iron, lithium, fluphenazine or estrogens, talk to your doctor. Rosehip oil may not be appropriate for you.
Will rosehip oil clog pores?
No, rosehip oil is noncomedogenic, has astringent properties, and works to clear and tighten pores. It also absorbs quickly into the skin.
Other Oils for Acne-Prone Skin
If rosehip oil isn’t right for you, there are other noncomedogenic oils that may be more appropriate. The following oils hydrate the skin and address inflammation without clogging pores:
- Argan oil
- Chamomile oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Jojoba oil
- Marula oil
- Pomegranate oil
- Sunflower seed oil
Rosehip oil can be an effective acne treatment for many people, especially when combined with other beneficial, acne-fighting ingredients. Its healing, anti-inflammatory and skin-lightening properties make it an excellent treatment for mild forms of inflammatory acne and hyperpigmentation.
Rosehip oil is high in vitamins A and C, linoleic acid and essential fatty acid, which can all help to nourish, moisturize, calm the skin and encourage cell turnover. It’s generally safe for all skin types, but should be used with caution if you have sensitive skin.
It’s possible that taking a rosehip oil supplement might be a more appropriate treatment if your skin doesn’t respond well to topicals. However, talk to your doctor before you take a supplement, as there are health conditions and medications to consider beforehand.
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