Derms Say This One Oil Can Replace Your Retinol, Moisturizer, & Vitamin C Serum

by Jessica DeFino

“It helps to protect the skin, increase cell turnover and tissue regeneration, and fight free radical damage,” Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition, tells The Zoe Report. “It stimulates collagen production in the skin, boosting skin rejuvenation and reducing signs of aging.” What is this almost-unbelievably-effective, multitasking product he speaks of — a cutting-edge prescription, only available via dermatologist? Some $300-but-worth-it face cream? Nope, it’s just rosehip oil, plain and simple — and affordable. It sounds too good to be true, but dermatologists agree: Rosehip oil for acne, aging, and almost everything in between is the natural remedy you need to know about.

“Rosehip oil is derived from the seeds of rose bushes, and is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, fatty acids, and also contains small amounts of vitamin A,” Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist, tells TZR. Lots of natural oils boast antioxidants and fatty acids, but it’s the specific types of antioxidants and fatty acids in rosehip oil that set it apart from the rest. “Rosehip contains lipophilic antioxidants, especially tocopherols and carotenoids,” Dr. Axe says. Tocopherol is another name for vitamin E, which protects from free radicals — aka, pollution particles — while moisturizing. “Carotenoids fuel skin repair,” Sarah Brown, the founder of Pai Skincare, explains in an email to The Zoe Report (and they also give rosehip its intense orange color). “They can help any repair need, from scarring and persistent blemishes to pigmentation and dry skin,” Brown says.

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The carotenoids in rosehip oil — primarily, beta-carotene — do more than that, though. “Beta-carotene is a precursor, or inactive form, of vitamin A,” Brown says. You may recognize vitamin A as the ingredient from which dermatology’s most potent anti-acne and anti-aging products (retinol, Accutane) are derived. As such, rosehip oil “essentially functions as a very mild retinol,” Dr. Robinson says, reducing the appearance of blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles... without the irritation that comes with actual retinol.

“The combination of essential fatty acids in rosehip also make it an effective anti-aging oil, with perhaps even better effects than retinol and bakuchiol,” Dr. Axe says, noting that rosehip oil contains Omega-3, -6, -7 and -9 fatty acids. What does that mean for your skin? Top-notch moisturization and barrier protection — and a hydrated, strengthened barrier encourages healthy cell turnover and boosts the skin’s natural healing mechanisms.


The vitamin C inside also helps with scarring and hyperpigmentation — it’s a natural brightener — and even gently stimulates collagen production. “Rosehip acts as an emollient, helping to relieve itching caused by eczema or other skin conditions,” Dr. Axe adds. Is there anything this oil can’t do? Basically, no.

“Rosehip oil is great for dry skin, since the fatty acids act as a rich moisturizer,” Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a dermatologist with Icecreamwala Dermatology, tells The Zoe Report. But really, any skin type can benefit from rosehip oil… yes, even oily and acne-prone complexions. “It can seem counterintuitive to put oil on acne-prone skin, but rosehip oil is very different to the vegetable oils commonly found in blended facial oils,” Brown explains. “It is a dry, non-greasy oil, which absorbs very quickly.”


Of course, as with any skincare ingredient, there’s always a chance of allergic reaction or irritation. “I recommend testing it on a small part of your arm before putting it all over your face,” Dr. Icecreamwala says. According to Brown, “The only thing to caution against is using too much.” She and Dr. Axe agree that two to three drops per application is all you need. “It’s definitely best applied at night,” the founder adds.

Ready to replace your retinol, acne ointment, moisturizer, and vitamin C serum with one natural ingredient? (Your wallet and bursting bathroom shelf definitely are.) Ahead, 12 rosehip oil skincare products to rule them all.

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