Side Effects of Rosehip Oil

Ever since Victoria's Secret supermodel Miranda Kerr revealed that rosehip oil is a staple in her self-care routine, beauty junkies around the world have been snapping up this fruit seed extract, derived from wild rose plants grown in the southern Andean Mountains. Fans tout rosehip oil's medicinal healing properties for wrinkles, age spots, acne and even scarring, but that doesn't mean the skincare ingredient isn't without potential side effects.

Rosehip oil's popularity is on the rise, but is the hype too good to be true? (Image: Madeleine_Steinbach/iStock/GettyImages)

What Are Rosehips?

Rosehips are the round portion of the rose flower, located just beneath the petals, that contain the seeds of the rose plant. Hips are bright red in color. There are more than 10,000 cultivated varieties, but botanists still disagree on the exact number of rose species. Fresh rose hips contain a potent dose of natural vitamin C, which, applied topically, "may improve elasticity, helping the skin look younger and brighter," according to a 2019 Medical News Today article.

How to Use Rosehip Oil

Pure rosehip oil can be applied directly to your face or infused into lotions, serums and creams. If DIY isn't your jam (or you're just pressed for time), you can also purchase pre-packaged products online or at your local beauty retailer. Just be sure to seek out cold-pressed oil, since heat used during the extraction process can significantly alter its potency.

Vitamin E oil is sometimes added to rosehip oil to extend its shelf life. But whether your oil is pure or blended with other oils, you can help prevent it from going rancid by storing it in a cool place, such as in a tightly closed container in your refrigerator, and not exposing it to direct sunlight.

Rosehip Oil Benefits

Rosehip oil contains even more vitamin C than an orange, making it effective for cell turnover. According to anecdotal evidence and scientific research, rosehip oil may also alleviate age spots, lighten scarring and brighten your overall complexion.

For example, in a 2015 study published by the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, researchers at the Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria in Spain asked patients whose sutures had just been removed post-surgery to apply rosehip oil twice daily for six weeks. After 12 weeks, almost all the patients who received rosehip oil treatment saw a significant improvement in scarring.

Rosehip Oil Side Effects

Although its popularity is on the rise, there are rosehip oil disadvantages. Potential side effects can include skin irritation, an increase in the body's levels of vitamin C and an increase in the absorption of iron, which can affect people with anemia, hemochromatosis or similar conditions. No extensive research has not been done yet on pregnant or nursing mothers, so it's still unknown whether rosehip oil could have negative effects on unborn children and breastfeeding infants.

There is also the possibility of drug interactions, so always check with your doctor before adding rosehip oil to your regular routine. For example, Drugs.com advises you to avoid using rosehip oil if you're taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy without seeking advice from your health care provider.

Rosehip Oil Allergy Symptoms

Various plants and foods can cause severe allergic reactions, including swelling, hives, itchy skin and anaphylaxis, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If you've never tried rosehip oil before, always do a patch test before slathering it all over your face before bedtime because you may develop rosehip oil allergy symptoms.

It may take a little extra time, but this step is essential to limit allergic reactions. Not only will testing a small area first indicate if you have an allergy, but you'll have a better sense of whether it will be beneficial for your complexion.

Warning

In most instances, rosehip oil is safe to use. However, seek immediate medical attention if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction.

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