Three weeks. That’s all the time it took for one woman to go to battle with acne breakouts — and win. Her weapon of choice? Not a medicine cabinet full of skincare products. Instead, she relied on rosehip oil.
“I think the picture really shows just how much this routine helped lessen the oil on my face,” Reddit user Foureyedlemon wrote in a post in the Skincare Addiction subreddit alongside before-and-after photos of her face.
“I’ve always had REALLY oily skin and have had bad acne since 6th grade (I’m 19 now). I’ve never been this clear. Rosehip is such a miracle to me, and I was scared it would break me out, but luckily I’m on the other side of the fence!”
The results she achieved with rosehip oil added to her skincare routine speak for themselves. Can a little bottle of oil do what expensive creams, lotions, and doctor-prescribed acne medication can’t? We asked some experts to clue us in — and they’re giving us their picks for the best rosehip oil that are shown to help all types of skin types and skin conditions.
The best part? Rosehip oil is inexpensive — usually less than $20 a bottle.
What Is Rosehip Oil?
Rosehips come from roses (naturally). More specifically, rosehips are the bright orange-red fruits left behind when roses die.
You can eat rosehips or add them to a cup of tea, but the skin benefits come when it’s in oil form. While you can technically make it on your own, most types of this natural oil are derived from the rosa canina, a rose bush that’s grown mainly in Italy.
Rosehip oil is rich in a number of vitamins and antioxidants known for their skin-boosting benefits. The reason: It’s chock full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids known for their ability to hydrate and moisturize the skin.
“Rosehip oil contains a specific fatty acid called linoleic acid, and some research suggests that linoleic acid can help to reduce acne blemishes,” says Sheila Krishna, a board-certified dermatologist who serves on the advisory board for Smart Style Today.
We all have linoleic acid in our skin, some more than others — and the current hypothesis is that those who battle pimples and acne have less of it than they need. Rosehip oil acts as a toner to add some linoleic acid back in.
Improve the Appearance of Wrinkles
Can rosehip work as a face oil to help get rid of wrinkles? Not for the long term, says Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, a dermatologist in Philadelphia. But all is not lost on the anti-aging front.
“The fatty acids likely give it its hydrating qualities to improve the appearance of fine lines,” she says. Meaning it won’t get rid of them for good, but rosehip oil can make them look less prominent (even if they’re not gone for good). It can also act as a natural moisturizer to quench dry skin that can make you look older.
Reduces Inflammation and Promotes Healing
Rosehip oil is “one of the few botanical compounds that have been studied and shown to have efficacy in wound healing and as an anti-inflammatory,” says Dr. Ilyas.
The oil is rich in polyphenols, flavonoid anthocyanin, and vitamin E, all compounds that help reduce skin inflammation and neutralize free radicals that can wreak havoc on the skin.
This is excellent news if you have rosacea. The vitamins and fatty acids help sensitive skin, meaning they might help reduce the appearance of the redness associated with rosacea.
It might even help smooth out and improve the appearance of scars. In one study, researchers had participants treat their post-operation scars for 12 weeks. The result? Those who used rosehip oil showed more scar improvement — and less inflammation — than those who didn’t use it. That’s a promising result if you’re looking to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and acne scars.
Acts as a Natural Exfoliator
Can rosehip oil help you get rid of dead skin cells to get that dewy skin tone you crave? It’s possible!
“Rosehip oil contains traces of vitamin A,” says Dr. Krishna. Vitamin A — also known as retinol — is a natural exfoliator and can help reduce oil. Vitamin C in it also helps promote cell regeneration, which can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation and brighten and improve the overall radiance of your skin.
How to Use Rosehip Oil
First thing’s first: Always test rosehip oil on a small patch of skin before putting it all over your face. The reason? In case of an allergic reaction.
Also, “people with very oily skin and acne should be careful in using rosehip oil because it could make certain acne worse,” says Dr. Krishna.
Twenty-four hours is enough time to see the effects of the oil on your skin, so if you don’t experience any irritation, you’re good to use it as a facial oil up to twice a day, either by itself or with another carrier oil like jojoba oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
And a little goes a long way. Use a dropper to “apply two to three drops to the area to be treated daily and gently rub it in,” recommends Dr. Ilyas, adding that using a lot of oil won’t give you better results.
Best Rosehip Oil
Countless brands sell the oil, both in stores and on the web. However, not every bottle deserves the “best” title.
When evaluating brands, look at the color first. True organic oil made from rosehips is an amber color with a smooth consistency that’s not too greasy or liquidy. “It’s also important to use 100 percent certified pure rosehip oil,” says Dr. Krisha. Also, looking for the words “cold-pressed” on the label indicates that the oil is high quality and unrefined (AKA it hasn’t been messed with a lot in the production process).
And make sure to keep it in a cool, dark place, like your bathroom medicine cabinet or even the refrigerator. The reason is: Rosehip oil can turn rancid pretty quickly if exposed to light.
Derived from rosehips harvested in Chile, Rosehip Seed Oil by Leven Rose is not the most inexpensive pick for best rosehip seed oil, but it's shown to help improve the appearance of scars after all types of surgery.
It comes in an amber-colored bottle to help protect it against UV rays and oxidation, too (but still store it in a cool, dark place).
The Ordinary is known for bringing wallet-friendly beauty products to the masses, and their version is no exception. It's a bit "heavy" for a face oil, so it's best to apply before bed. Also, the bottle lasts a long time so you only need 3-5 drops for your whole face.
The biggest complaint about The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is that it doesn't have the best smell. This isn’t unique to The Ordinary: contrary to what it might seem, rosehip oil doesn’t have the pleasant fragrance of roses.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.