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Rosehip gives argan oil a run for its money

August 17, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 10 Comments

Spurred by a comment from Mike that argan oil has no substantive advantages over much less expensive rosehip seed oil, I determined to find out more. This notion took me on a rollercoaster of research highs and lows. I am pleased to say that I ended with a high (and an order for a bottle of rosehip seed oil).

Rosehips are the Sun Gods of alternative medicine zealots. They make wrinkles go away completely. They miraculously fade sun spots and stretch marks. Wounds and scars disappear without trace. Most of this is anecdotal and without any clinical evidence to back it up. That's because it is grown only in the Andes and is well-kept Chilean secret. Right.

There are a couple of (frequently quoted) studies dating back to the 1980s. A Chilean evaluated the the oil in the skin regeneration process. And in 1988, two doctors published their own findings in a paper called "Contributions to Identification and Application of Active Components Contained in Rosa Affinis Rubiginosa". These studies suggested that rosehip worked. The next question was how.

Retinyl or retinoic acid was discovered by a researcher looking for a quick drying varnish oil [Pareja; Siber Hegner]. Consequently (and despite the lack of any other evidence), rosehip was hailed as an alternative to using Retin A creams. It was also claimed that rosehip was rich in tocopherol (vitamin E) until a study carried out by King's College London failed to find any trace of it.

Retin A and vitamin E proved to be red herrings that obscured for a long time what was really going on inside a rosehip seed. It turns out they are high in (fatty) linoleic and linolenic acids as well as vitamin C, all of which are essential for the health of the hair and skin. Flavonoids, a ketonic compound (namely 3-pentenpropyl-kentoe) and trans-rhodanic acids have been detected.

In fact, rosehip seeds are about 77% fatty acids. It is worth reproducing the table that Mike posted, comparing the fatty acid properties of rosehip to argan oil.

Argan oil:
Palmitic - 12.0%
Stearic - 6.0%
Oleic - 42.8%
Linoleic - 36.8%
Linolenic - <0.5%

Rosehip seed oil:
Palmitic - 3.17%
Stearic - 0.83%
Oleic - 15.91%
Linoleic - 40.68%
Linolenic - 39.41%

Given that I have had such good results with Kaeline with argan oil (neck and décolleté) that I feel compelled to put rosehip oil through its paces. It can be bought from Skin Actives for $16 for 4 oz.

  • December 7, 2016

    by Roberta Wellmann

    Question, what is a pump measure compared to drops...all my oils are dropper bottle! I have been using rosehip seed oil, Argan and almond oil for years and love my skin. I am 61 years old and I believe my skin is wonderful.

  • July 25, 2016

    by Hannah Lu

    I tried both, but I think argan oil is easier to apply than rosehip.
    Argan's smell like ginseng, while rosehip has fishy smell.

  • December 2, 2014

    by nora

    hmm, yes, me too...this is not a conclusive article. What is the author's point?

  • March 14, 2013

    by Silke

    Since around 6 month I have been using organic Argan oil (2 pumps) mixed with Rosehip oil (3 to 6 drops) and Almond oil (1pump) on my face and eyes and décolleté with an amazing success. I need the Almond oil as this gives my skin the moist feeling throughout the day. I rub the oil in my hand palms and pat it on my face, neck and décolleté and then massage it in gentle. I am 39 and lines and wrinkles are heaps decreased or almost gone along with a really nice skin tone. Ones must make sure not to over saturate the skin with too much to avoid blocking the pores, so a little goes a long way, for some woman probably even less than I use. During the day I use Argan oil on my lips, awesome! I used to use Kanebo, Clinique and La Prairie eye serum for decades and seriously it wasn’t as good as what I am doing now. Whilst losing the point now it is still also worth to mention that I fatten up my skin by eating 60grams of virgin Coconut oil daily along with Vitamin C rich food. You eat what you are and is just as important for healthy and glowing skin.

  • August 26, 2012

    by Kathleen

    Can I buy this in stores? Or just online?

  • August 10, 2011

    by Tristen

    Great! Can I combine both oils. Rose Hip Seed Oil can also be used as a Carrier Oil....So,can I add Argan Oil to Rose Hip Seed Oil? If, so, How much? Getting all the benefits of both oils in one or using one in the morning and one at night.

  • August 5, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Yeemon, they are both good. I think the point is that rosehip is often less expensive, but is in many ways just as good as argan.

  • August 5, 2011

    by Yeemon

    I'm confused. So, which one is better? Argan oil or Rosehip oil?

  • August 17, 2008

    by Mike626

    <p>Can't wait to see how Rosehip Oil fairs in your trial.</p>

  • August 17, 2008

    by Julie Kay

    <p>I will be following this test keenly, Marta, and hope it proves a goldmine in results! </p>

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