Rosehip Oil & Acne: A Natural Way to Treat & Prevent Breakouts?

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There are some fantastic acne treatments out there, but they often contain harsh ingredients that come with unwanted side effects. This leads many to seek out natural alternatives, but most of those simply cannot compare with the results that the stronger chemicals bring.

Of course, there’s always an exception, this time in the form of rosehip oil. With numerous studies now proving the anti-acne benefits of this topical beauty ingredient, it’s time to take this botanical seriously as an effective treatment for both breakouts and acne scars.

What is Rosehip Oil?

rosehip oil essential

Rosehip oil is a cold-pressed oil that comes from the seeds that the rose plant produces. It’s often mistaken for rose oil, which is distilled from rose petals. While the two may come from the same plant, they’re very different. Rose oil is mostly used for its hydrating properties, while rosehip oil is brimming with a wide range of nutrients that make it an effective acne and anti-aging ingredient.

The Benefits of Rosehip Seed Oil for Acne-Prone Skin

Thanks to its high nutrient content, rosehip oil offers up several skin-boosting benefits. Let’s take a look at some of its most revered properties:

Rosehip Oil is a Natural Source of Vitamin C

Studies show that rosehips contain more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable [1], and this carries over into the oil too. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants in skincare. It fights free radical damage, something that not only contributes to fine lines and wrinkles, but also causes acne [2].

Vitamin C is also revered for its brightening and lightening properties. This makes it useful for those dealing with scarring or any other form of hyperpigmentation.

Rosehip Oil is Packed with Essential Fatty Acids

You’ll find a few different fatty acids in rosehip oil, but linoleic acid is the one to pay attention to.

Bag with rose hips

Studies have found that this essential fatty acid is capable of reducing pimples by up to 25% when it is used regularly for one month [3]. Scientists aren’t yet quite sure of exactly how this works, but they believe that it’s due to how people with acne-prone skin naturally have less linoleic acid in their sebum. Applying this topically balances things out, helping to curb acne.

It also helps that linoleic acid has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. With inflammation being responsible for pimples, redness, and irritation, anti-inflammatories are a great acne-fighting tool.

It’s also worth noting the effect that fatty acids have in keeping the skin hydrated. Research shows that linoleic acid plays a starring role in the integrity of your skin’s protective barrier [4]. This barrier is responsible for keeping moisture in, meaning that the more linoleic acid you have, the better hydrated your skin will be.

Skin hydration is not only important for general skin health, but it can also help to re-balance oil production. Very often, oily skin is actually dehydrated. In order to compensate for this lack of moisture, the skin starts to produce more sebum, resulting in the oiliness. Giving your skin the moisture that it needs in the form of rosehip oil will, over time, cut back on overall oil production.

Rosehip Oil Contains Vitamins A and E

In addition to vitamin C, rosehip oil contains vitamins A and E too. The three work incredibly together to repair skin cell damage, but let’s take a look at these two vitamins in more detail.

man holding veggies rich in vitamins a and e

Vitamin A needs no introduction. You’ll find it in just about every anti-aging cream and serum out there, but it’s also an ingredient commonly used to treat acne. Its exfoliating effect helps to keep the pores clear of blockages, and it also regulates pore size, which helps to restrict the amount of sebum produced [5]. This is a compound that can also regulate skin tone, lightening dark acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

You’re probably already aware of the fact that vitamin A comes in many forms. From retinyl palmitate, which is one of the least potent, to retinoic acid and tretinoin, which are so powerful that they’re usually only available with a prescription. We say “usually” because using rosehip oil is a clever way to get around this – it’s the only vegetable oil to naturally contain tretinoin.

Tretinoin aside, you’ll also find that rosehip oil is rich in vitamin E. This is an ingredient commonly used by people with dry skin, as it has significant moisturizing effects. However, as we’ve already mentioned, staying on top of hydration helps to cut back on breakouts too, making vitamin E a useful ingredient to feed to your skin.

Rosehip Oil is Non-Comedogenic

Many people with acne-prone skin often veer away from skincare products containing an oil blend. After all, surely adding oils to oily skin will only make things worse?

In some cases, yes. Certain oils will sit heavily on top of existing sebum, leading to blocked pores. However, other oils, including rosehip oil, are non-comedogenic. This means that rosehip oil doesn’t clog pores and can be safely used on oily skin.

picking fresh organic rosehip

How to Use Rosehip Oil for Acne

Sadly, not all rosehip oil is created equally. A poor quality rosehip oil may be tainted by impurities or fillers, so always look for a pure rosehip oil. Ideally, go for an organic product too. This will save your skin from being exposed to any extra chemicals or toxins.

Unlike many of the other beauty ingredients out there, rosehip oil is an easy one to add to your skincare routine, no matter your skin type. Since it’s an oil, it’s usually best used at the end of your skincare routine, after you’ve applied your moisturizer. Of course, those with oily skin may want to skip the moisturizer completely since rosehip oil works as a suitable alternative.

Simply rub a small amount of your rosehip oil in the palms of your hands and then massage this onto your skin. Don’t forget that rosehip oil can be used on your body too!

What About Rosehip Oil Oral Supplements?

While pure rosehip oil is a great beauty ingredient, there’s a limit to how deeply topical products can penetrate into the skin. They often leave those deeper layers lacking, since all of the skin cells above will have already soaked up the ingredient to maximize hydration and make the most of those antioxidants.

supplement on an asian girl hand

This is where oral supplements come in – they feed your skin from the inside out. Just like when it’s used in a topical way, taking an oral organic rosehip oil supplement will work wonders on your skin. It’ll still help with acne and oil production, but will have an even bigger effect on fine lines and wrinkles, giving you a healthier appearance overall.

Are There Any Side Effects?

When rosehip oil is used topically as part of a skincare routine, there aren’t any side effects to be concerned about. The ingredient can be safely used by every skin type, without causing any redness or irritation.

The only issue is if you’re allergic to rosehips, or to any plant from the rose family. If this is the case, be careful when using it on your skin – rosehip oil could end up triggering an allergic reaction.


woman enjoying the sun outdoors

Why is rosehip oil bad for acne?

Rosehip oil isn’t bad for acne. On the contrary, it’s a great acne-fighting ingredient that quickly calms redness, irritation, and inflammation, while also having notable anti-aging effects.

Which oils are best for acne?

There are quite a few oils that are good for acne, including rosehip oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and rosemary oil.

Do dermatologists recommend rosehip oil?

Yes, dermatologists recommend rosehip oil as a treatment for a variety of skin concerns, from pimples to dry skin to an uneven skin tone. Many experts have reviewed this ingredient, which is why it’s now recommended by so many professionals.


When it comes to using rosehip oil to treat acne, there really isn’t a downside. Science has proven this ingredient to be extremely effective, not only at clearing existing pimples, but also at preventing new spots from forming. Even better, add rosehip oil to your skin care regime and you’ll notice an improvement in other skin concerns too. Your skin will be better hydrated, well-balanced, and beautifully radiant, proving that this ingredient is one of the best natural acne treatments to turn to.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.