Is Rosehip Oil the Answer to All Our Acne Woes?

Dermatologists explain how this natural ingredient can help with breakouts.

rosehip oils

There are a few things we know about skin for sure: (1) It's the body's largest organ, and (2) its behavior is best described as "unpredictable." On the days when acne arrives knocking on our door and we have no choice but to answer it, we have to make decisions about how to tackle these sudden challenges. If you're reading this, you're probably just as skincare-obsessed as us, so you're probably not going to just let it slide. That's why we're excited to inform you that a valuable acne-fighter could come straight from a gift from the earth: rosehip oil, a natural ingredient with incredible healing powers celebrated for centuries by Native Americans and used by civilizations like the ancient Egyptians and the Mayans.

Rosehip Oil

  • Type of ingredient: Oil
  • Main benefits: Brightens and evens out the skin, regenerates and heals blemishes, helps with anti-aging, elasticity, and collagen production, reduces the likelihood of acne outbreaks.
  • Who should use it: In general, rosehip oil is beneficial for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.
  • How often you can use it: It's safe to use twice a day, in the morning and at night, but be sure to spot-test before using it on your whole face.
  • Works well with: In general, rosehip oil can be used with most products and ingredients found in acne-fighting formulas.
  • Don’t use with: Rosehip oil is high in vitamin A, so be mindful when using acne products with retinoids.

What Is Rosehip Oil?

"Rosehip oil is a pressed oil extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes, most commonly from those that grow in the southern Andes, but also other regions of the world," explains NYC-based cosmetic dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, FAAD, the founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology.

Due to the fact rosehip oil is "full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids," according to Dr. Shah, you'll often find it as an ingredient in moisturizers and emollients. Also, some dermatologists view rosehip acid as a major anti-acne force. Read on to learn exactly how rosehip oil can keep breakouts at bay.

Benefits of Rosehip Oil for Acne

According to some dermatologists and beauty enthusiasts, natural alternatives like rosehip oil are just as effective for treating skin concerns as chemical-based products. If you're specifically interested in rosehip oil for acne-fighting purposes, then the following benefits may persuade you to finally give it a try:

  • Contains linoleic acid: A fatty acid that both locks moisture in and keeps irritants out, linoleic acid is a valuable substance for skincare. According to Dr. Shah, the presence of linoleic acid makes rosehip oil useful acne combatant: "Rosehip oil contains a fairly high amount of linoleic acid and low amounts of oleic acid. Research has shown that the skin surface lipids of acne-prone individuals are predominantly composed of oleic acid and deficient in linoleic acid. Applying linoleic acid reduces the size of microcomedones [the smallest acne blemishes]."
  • Includes retinoids: Retinoids, a group of chemical compounds derived from or related to vitamin A, are experiencing a major popularity boost these days, thanks to both their anti-aging properties and their anti-acne powers. According to Shah, "rosehip oil contains small amounts of tretinoin, a retinoid that has been shown to improve acne."
  • Rich in fatty lipids and ascorbic acid: "Rosehip oil is rich in fatty lipids and ascorbic acid, and is [therefore] a potential option for addressing some of the symptoms of acne," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York.
  • Serves as an antioxidant: If your acne breakouts involve pronounced redness or skin discoloration, then Dr. Nazarian believes that rosehip oil can provide some relief. "Rosehip oil is a potent antioxidant and protects against free-radical damage. From an anti-inflammatory standpoint, it may offer some benefits [to] acne-prone skin, especially if the acne is inflammatory, more red, and tender," explains Dr. Nazarian. 

Other Skin Benefits

Aside from its acne-defeating properties, rosehip oil can also benefit your complexion in other ways, including:

  • Reduces hyperpigmentation: "Although the evidence to suggest that it can prevent acne is [minimal], rosehip oil contains an ingredient that may decrease the stains and marks that acne causes, [resulting in] a more even skin tone," says Dr. Nazarian.
  • Hydrates skin: Dr. Shah points to the hydrating powers of rosehip oil, agreeing with Dr. Nazarian's estimation of the useful presence of fatty acids (which naturally moisturize the skin).
  • Has anti-aging properties: Thanks to its hydration abilities, its status as an antioxidant (which fight free radicals, wrinkles, and fine lines), and its capacity to boost collagen production, rosehip oil is a smart addition to any skincare repertoire focused on anti-aging.

Rosehip oil hydrates skin, reduces hyperpigmentation, and has anti-aging benefits.

Side Effects of Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is typically considered a low-risk skincare ingredient and isn't commonly linked to adverse side effects. That said, Dr. Shah recommends testing rosehip oil out on a small area of skin first: "Generally, rosehip oil is well-tolerated, but it's best to do a patch test in an inconspicuous area before using it on your face or other visible areas."

How to Use It

"Rosehip oil can be directly applied to the skin and does not require dilution. Put two to three drops in your palms, rub your palms together, and massage the affected areas. Alternatively, it can be used as a spot treatment. Ensure that you are using a high-quality 100% pure rosehip oil," explains Dr. Shah.

Rosehip oil's gentle formulation means that you can use it twice a day (in the morning and at night) prior to applying your moisturizer. However, as with any other topical skin treatment, you'll want to spot test rosehip oil on your own face first and to reduce your usage if you notice irritation.

The Best Products With Rosehip Oil

Shah endorses the following products, all made with pure organic rosehip oil and no additives.

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil $29
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This best-selling oil is full of essential fatty acids to boost elasticity and hydration and diminish acne scars.

Teddie Organics Rosehip Seed Essential Oil $13
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According to InStyle, more than 2000 Amazon users are obsessed with this oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties to keep your skin looking firm and glowy.

Acure Organics The Essentials Rosehip Oil $11
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This lightweight oil is made of cold-pressed rose fruit seeds, which maximize penetration into your skin.

Rosehip Whipe Moisturizer
Eminence Organics Rosehip Whip Moisturizer $58
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If you'd rather try rosehip oil in moisturizer form, then pick up this gentle cream made with all-natural ingredients.

Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser
Body Merry Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser $19
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To carry the benefits of rosehip oil throughout your entire skincare routine, start with this exfoliating cleanser, which uses both rosehip oil and glycolic acid to smooth fine lines and to ward off acne.

Hydrating Toner
GoPure Hydrating Toner $17
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Soothing witch hazel and rosehip oil work together in this toner to plump the skin and refine pores, resulting in a smooth complexion free of acne bumps.

Futuredew
Glossier Futuredew Oil Serum Hybrid $24
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If glowy, radiant skin is your top priority, then reach for this serum, which uses plant-based extracts (including rosehip oil) to deeply moisturize without leaving behind excess grease and residual acne.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Mármol I, Sánchez-de-Diego C, Jiménez-Moreno N, Ancín-Azpilicueta C, Rodríguez-Yoldi MJ. Therapeutic applications of rose hips from different rosa speciesInt J Mol Sci. 2017;18(6):1137. doi:10.3390/ijms18061137

  2. Ottaviani M, Camera E, Picardo M. Lipid mediators in acneMediators Inflamm. 2010;2010:858176. doi:10.1155/2010/858176

  3. Huang TH, Wang PW, Yang SC, Chou WL, Fang JY. Cosmetic and therapeutic applications of fish oil's fatty acids on the skinMar Drugs. 2018;16(8):256. doi:10.3390/md16080256

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