Skincare Oils: Sea-Buckthorn Oil

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Not too long ago, it was thought that oil was bad for skin and the primary cause of acne. Oil-free moisturizers dominated the market, and everyone I knew with acne (myself included) scoured, scrubbed, toned, and moisturized their acne-prone skin with oil-free products and astringents.

Fast-forward to the 2010s and oil-based products and luxury facial oils are everywhere.

Today though, I wanted to talk about an oil that seems to be getting more attention in the skincare world: Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil.

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Sea-buckthorn oil sounds like it is comes from a creature in the sea, but it is actually derived from the fruit of the sea-buckthorn berry. The oil is typically cold-pressed from the whole berries or the seeds of the berries, and is used in several types of products, from skincare to dietary supplements. [1]

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It is advertised as having multiple benefits – from anti-aging to anti-bacterial – and is rich in omega-7 (palmitoleic fatty acid) and omega-3 (oleic fatty acid). It contains a large amount of beta carotene, which gives it the deep reddish-orange hue.

While it varies by distributor, Rose Mountain Herbs gives their sea-buckthorn oil the following analysis:

Odor– Fatty/Characteristic
pH– 3.43

Fatty Acids and Constituents
Beta Carotene– 254 I.U./100 g
Vitamin E– 123 mg/100g
Lycopene– less than 1%
Linoleic– 6.8%
Oleic– 28.4%
Palmitic– 31.3%
Palmitoleic– 29.7%
Stearic– 1.1%

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Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of studies about the benefits of topical sea buckthorn oil, though the studies that do exist show that sea-buckthorn oil is a promising ingredient, with potentially some wound-healing [2] and UV protection [3] properties.

For use, I recommend diluting it with other facial oils or products, as it is indeed a very red/orangey oil and can make fairer skins look very fake-tan orange once applied. Some people also recommend sleeping with a towel on your pillow overnight when using it, though I’ve never noticed long-term staining of fabrics due to sea-buckthorn oil.

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I’d recommend it for skin that is acne-prone due to its wound healing properties, though anecdotal evidence seems to point to it having value for rosacean skin types. It may also do well with you if you’ve successfully used macadamia nut oil, as both contain a large amount of palmitoleic fatty acid.

I would also recommend heavy spot testing for people with malessezia folliculitis, fungal acne,  atopic dermatitis, or seborrheic dermatitis, as they are all conditions that can be caused by M. furfur yeast, which oleic and palmitic fatty acid can all cause to grow quickly. [4]

Sea-buckthorn oil can be purchased fairly easily online (it is much more difficult to find in stores) from a variety of retailers, such as The Ordinary, Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon.


Sources

  1. Wikipedia – Sea-buckthorn oil
  2. Influence of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) flavone on dermal wound healing in rats.
  3. Sea buckthorn products: manufacture and composition.
  4. Improved Detection of Malassezia Species in Lipid Supplemented
    Peds

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Game developer by day. Real-life gremlin. Amateur photographer. Mental health advocate. Skincare lover and science devotee. In 2011, I began a journey into skincare that became a life-long passion. I've written numerous articles on reddit.com on skincare and helped hundreds of people as they begin their own journey into a better understanding of their skin. I am an advocate for science-based skincare, and want to help others achieve their goals of better skin.

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