Why Celebrities Are Turning to This Natural Oil to Treat Their Skin

Dr. Janet Zand
September 7, 2018


When celebrities endorse beauty products, it’s easy to wonder if the products are worth the hype. If the product is expensive, we’re often even more skeptical. But celebrities have often achieved their fame thanks in part to their flawless complexions. So how do we differentiate between a sponsorship and a solution?

One easy place to start is by considering whether the celebrities are mentioning a brand or an ingredient. Plenty of celebrities promote various brands. But when they mention their favorite ingredients, that’s a clue that they’re actually sharing a true skin-care secret.

In recent years, one such ingredient has gotten a lot of attention. Celebrities like model Miranda Kerr and Kate Middleton have mentioned it. And it’s one that really works. But there’s one negative...

This ingredient can be slightly expensive. But that’s because it’s labor-intensive to gather, not because the companies that sell it are using celebrities to overcharge consumers.

This product, called rosehip seed oil, comes from the seed pods of the wild roses Rosa moschata and Rosa rubiginosa. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of seeds to get enough oil to bottle and sell. That explains the oil’s higher price tag.

The word “oil” in skin-care products sometimes makes people uneasy, imagining greasy skin. But rosehip seed oil is non-greasy. You can think of it as a balm instead. And it’s full of vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It offers soothing relief to tired, dehydrated skin.

In particular, it contains vitamin C, which you likely know is great for brightening and protecting your skin. Some people use lemon juice directly on the skin to help even their skin tone. But this is a much gentler way to deliver vitamin C and help even out blotchiness. The oil’s astringent properties help gently tighten your pores as well. But the main bioactive compound is all-trans retinoic acid. This is a precursor to vitamin A, a skin-care superstar. This vitamin helps fade scars and rebuild new tissue, so it’s a great solution if you have acne scarring.

Rosehip seed oil also contains the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is great at strengthening the skin barrier. This helps keep moisture in and toxins out. People with dry skin often feel that their moisturizer evaporates as soon as they put it on. But one lab test found that a rosehip seed face oil blend could keep hydrating skin for six hours!

Of course, while you want your skin to be soft, you don’t want it to sag. This oil can also help skin retain elasticity and firmness, giving you a more youthful appearance. It supplies antioxidants that prevent damage and help skin rebuild collagen. On top of that, the vitamins and fatty acids can help slowly fade sun spots and unsightly blemishes as well.

All of these benefits sound great. And I know we all covet complexions like Miranda’s and Kate’s. But do we have to just take their word for it? Is there really proof that this oil works on mere mortals?

Turns out, there is. And some of it even predates rosehip seed oil’s rise to fame. Women in Chile have used the oil for centuries to help protect their complexions from the sun and from dehydration. Back in 1988 (when Miranda and Kate were just kindergartners), a study examined the oil’s effects on the skin of women ranging in age from 25 to 35 who were experiencing premature aging. Too much sun exposure had left them with wrinkles and dark spots.

The women applied the rosehip seed oil every day for four months. By the end of the study, the oil had transformed their skin. Their wrinkles and dark spots had faded almost entirely. Overall, their skin looked fresher, healthier, and more youthful.

Another larger study included 180 participants with significant skin damage. They had a number of issues, including acne scarring, deep wrinkles, UV damage, and surgical scars. As you can imagine, many of them had skin that appeared much older than it was!

In this clinical trial, the researchers found that applying rosehip seed oil made a big difference. The participants’ skin looked much better by the end of the study. They had fewer scars and wrinkles. No new wrinkles had formed. And their skin tone was brighter and more even.

Studies have also found that the vitamin C in rosehip seed oil can provide photoprotection. Over time, this UV defense shelters the skin so that it can form new collagen and decrease wrinkles.

While most people use rosehip seed oil topically, there is research showing that rosehip extract can help improve gut health. Gut health ultimately leads to skin health. Reducing inflammation in the body helps reduce redness and irritation in the skin and allows antioxidants to focus on protection and restoration.

Another study found that an oral supplement of rosehips could help prevent obesity, another contributor to inflammation. So if you’re happy with your skin-care regimen but are still interested in trying something new, consider looking for an oral supplement instead.

If you’d like to give rosehip seed oil a try topically, you have several options. You can find the oil, preferably organic, online and use it directly. It’s great as a moisturizer, especially for people with dry skin or who are prone to rosacea. You can even apply it to your hair if your ends or scalp gets dry.

You can also apply it as a spot treatment directly to scars. Look for a cold-pressed oil to ensure it hasn’t been exposed to heat. Heat helps extract the oil more easily, but it can also cook some of the nutrients away in the process.

If you enjoy making your own skincare products, try mixing rosehip seed oil with a little baking soda for a naturally exfoliating face wash. Just don’t use this if you have breakouts, as the exfoliating effects can make blemishes worse.

If you find a particularly dark oil, you can even use it as a bronzer. Just make sure you rotate it with other ingredients. If the oil is too deeply colored, you may find that it leaves an orange tint on your skin over time.

If you’d rather have the work done for you, consider looking for products that incorporate rosehip seed oil. We’ve included it in many of the Système 41 products. Rosehip seed oil is remarkable, but I can’t guarantee it will land you in the pages of People magazine. But you may feel like a celebrity when you see the difference it makes for your skin.


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