If you are looking for a natural alternative to retinol treatments or plastic surgery to combat the signs of aging, look no further than rosehip oil. Rosehip oil is truly an anti-aging elixir backed by clinical studies that confirm its effectiveness at promoting youthful skin and improving the appearance of scars, stretch marks, sun damage, wrinkles, and fine lines.
In 1983, the School of Chemistry and Pharmacology of the University of Concepción in Chile, was one of the first to conduct studies on the benefits of rosehip oil. In their study, 180 patients suffering surgical, traumatic and burn scars, as well as premature aging of the skin had different types of rosehip oil or a placebo applied to their damaged skin. The results were outstanding and definitive: continuous application of rosehip oil (every 12 hours) effectively attenuated scars and wrinkles, halted advancement of premature aging, and restored natural color and tone to the skin. And all this without causing any adverse reactions or side effects (1).
In 1988, further scientific research was conducted by doctors from the University of San Marcos in Peru and the University of Missouri in the U.S. (2). Their research looked at the effects of rosehip oil on sun damage and premature wrinkling in 20 women volunteers. The volunteers showed surface wrinkles, brown spots, or an intense tan. All applied rosehip oil for four months. Significant changes were visible after the third week. Initially, surface wrinkles started to disappear, followed by brown spots, until at the end of the fourth month, everything was gone.
Properties of rosehip oil
Rosehip oil contains many beneficial compounds, among them: linolenic acid (omega-3), linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty), oleic acid (omega-9), vitamin A (topical trans-retinoic acid), lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C.
Exactly which component of the oil is responsible for its benefits is still not clear. On the one hand, the 1988 study attributed the oil’s properties to trans-retinoic acid, a retinol derivative—the same compound used by dermatologists for combating wrinkles. But, on the other hand, a subsequent study carried out by King’s College London failed to find any traces of this vitamin in the samples examined (3).
So the effect could be due instead to the abundance of omegas 3 and 6 present in the oil. Omegas 3 and 6 are proven to attenuate aging and regenerate human skin, diminishing expression lines, eliminating grooves and improving the appearance of scars (4). They also play a key role in the inflammatory response of the skin. In fact, essential fatty acid deficiency manifests as scaling and dryness of the skin. And in early studies concerning acne, decreased amounts of linoleic acid in the skin surface were observed in those affected (5).
Alternatively, and most likely, it could be the combination of omegas and antioxidants that is key, as the latter seem to be important prerequisites for the photo-protective effect of these fatty acids (4). Regardless of how it works, the effectiveness of rosehip oil is undisputed.
Which type is better?
A study conducted in Brazil (6) compared the effects of the different extraction methods (cold-pressing, CO2 extraction, and refining) on the end quality of the oil and found very minor differences between the three. Furthermore, the 1983 studies in Chile were done using both cold-pressed and refined oils and no difference in outcome was reported. In fact, it was found that refined oils were preferable due to the instability of the cold-pressed ones which deteriorated rapidly.
Given the results of the above studies, it seems that cold-pressed oils (which tend to be cheaper) are not the best alternative, and CO2 extracted or refined oils should be chosen instead.
Which brand to choose is up to you. Two that use CO2 extracted oils include Pai ($35 for 1oz/30ml) and Kosmea ($45 for 42ml/1.4 oz). Both companies use the fruit in addition to the seeds for their oils to increase antioxidant content, and both are also certified organic. In addition, Kosmea’s is ethically-sourced from Lesotho. Trilogy, another reputable brand, uses a refined oil that many rave about ($44 for 45ml/1.5oz).
I have been using the rosehip oil from Pai for several weeks now and I am ecstatic with the results. I started using it daily about 2-3 weeks ago and my fine lines have almost completely disappeared–and I have used many things to try to combat them since they appeared about 15 years ago. Although I am using other products with anti-aging benefits (Cellex-C, a vitamin C serum which I recommended before, and Sophyto’s Tocotrienol Super Skin Concentrate), rosehip oil seems to have compounded the effects of the other two products taking the results from very good to almost miraculous.
I definitely recommend you try it!
(1) Estudio del aceite de rosa mosqueta en cicatrices postquirúrgicas– Mónica Cañellas1, Núria Espada1, Jose Manuel Ogalla; 2008.
(2) The role of natural ingredients in anti-ageing of the skin, Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Annual Congress, Hamilton Island; 2003.
(3) Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health, Linus Pauling Institute Research Newsletter, Oregon State University.
(6) Comparison of conventional and supercritical CO2-extracted rosehip oil, J.M. del Valle, S. Bello, J. Thiel, A. Allen and L. Chordia; Brazilian J. Chem. Eng. vol.17 n.3, São Paulo, Brazil; 2000.
(5) Lipid Mediators in Acne, Monica Ottaviani, Emanuela Camera, and Mauro Picardo; Laboratory of Cutaneous Physiopathology, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute IRCCS, Rome, Italy.