Sea Buckthorn Oil: Spotlight on the Best Face Oils

Sea Buckthorn Oil: Spotlight on the Best Face Oils

As we continue through our article series about the best oils for your face, sea buckthorn oil is the next one up for discussion. This oil has some unique properties that make it excellent for aging skin and acne-prone skin. The comprehensive summary guide about face oils will get you started in how to choose and use them.

sea buckthorn oil summary graphic about benefits for the skin

Sea buckthorn oil is extracted from the plant's seeds and berries. It's very rich in fatty acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Used a lot in natural health and nutritional supplements, sea buckthorn also has many skin benefits.

In this guide, we will take a closer look at sea buckthorn oil and its many benefits for the skin!

Some History

Sea buckthorn's scientific name is Hippophae rhamnoides. The Greek botanist Theophrastus (372-287 BC) is credited with naming the plant "Hippophae". According legend, the ancient Greeks used seabuckthorn to revive their racehorses after long, arduous chariot races.

The plant is a deciduous shrub that grows up to six meters in height. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. The fruit of the sea buckthorn plant is rich in oil, which is extracted and used for various purposes. It has been used for food, as a medicinal plant, and for its cosmetic benefits throughout ancient history. The oil was used to treat wounds, burns, and skin conditions. It was also used to promote healing and tissue regeneration.

Pure sea buckthorn oil has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids and, as a result, can go rancid if not properly stored. When stored in a cool location and away from direct light, the shelf life is around two years. 

What Does Sea Buckthorn Oil Contain?

Sea buckthorn oil contains many beneficial compounds, including fatty acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. The fatty acid profile is impressive and includes a variety of beneficial fatty acids. The phytonutrients include carotenoids and tocopherols. Sea buckthorn oil is also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

    • Fatty acids: linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearidonic acid
    • Antioxidants & polyphenols
    • Vitamins – A, C, E, B1, B2, B5, B9, B12, D, K & minerals
    • Carotenoids & flavonoids
    • Beta carotene
    • Amino acids

What are the Skin Benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil?

The skin benefits of sea buckthorn oil are numerous. The oil is said to help with various skin conditions, including eczema and acne. Sea Buckthorn oil Is good for anti-aging and skin lightening because it has a high amount of carotenoids, vitamin A and vitamin C. Sea Buckthorn oil is also suitable for sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, and age spots. It's also helpful in repairing stretch marks and scars. The fatty acids in sea buckthorn oil help moisturize the skin and keep it healthy. The antioxidants fight free radicals and help to prevent cell damage.  

There has been a fair bit of animal research done looking at things like wound and burn healing, sun protection, anti-cancer properties, and anti-inflammatory effects. While interesting, there's no strong scientific evidence that it's a miracle cure for anything. 

There is some limited human data showing improved skin elasticity, reduced transepidermal water loss, improved hydration, improved sebum levels, and improved barrier function. 

The general benefits your skin experiences are from the high levels of known beneficial classes of chemicals, more research is needed to figure out exactly what makes sea buckthorn specifically beneficial compared to other oils.

What's the Difference Between Cold-Pressed and CO2 Extracted Oil?

The difference between cold-pressed and CO2 extracted sea buckthorn oil is how the oil is removed from the plant. Cold pressing involves extracting the oil from the seeds or berries using pressure. CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide to extract the oil from the plant material. CO2 extraction is a more gentle process, resulting in a higher quality oil.

What's the Difference Between Seed Oil and Fruit Oil?

There are some differences in phytochemical composition depending on whether the oil is obtained from sea buckthorn seeds or fruit (berries). All sea buckthorn oil will have benefits for your skin and getting too caught up in the details just gets overwhelming. The composition of all oils is affected by the method of extraction, the location the plant was grown (microclimate, water table, soil acidity), the age of the plant, etc. Even batch to batch you'll notice differences. 

If the cold-pressing process includes the entire fruit, the resulting oil tends to be more red/pigmented and higher in vitamin C. It also contains more of the rare omega 7 fatty acids. Some of the vitamin C is lost because it goes with the water when the oil is separated.

When just the seeds are used to extract the oil, it's thinner and less red in colour. The total fatty acid content is higher and the omega 3 and 6 are found in a near perfect 1:1 ratio.

The main differences between sea buckthorn seed and fruit oil really matters most when it comes to nutritional/dietary value. Both will be excellent additions to your skincare routine.  

Is it Good for Acne? Comedogenic? Will it Clog Pores?

Sea buckthorn oil has a comedogenic rating of two, which means it is unlikely to clog pores, but it is not considered a dry oil. Sea buckthorn oil may help reduce acne by reducing inflammation and helping regulate your natural sebum levels. 

Will it Stain the Skin Orange?

No, sea buckthorn oil will not stain the skin orange. You will notice some colour as you put it on, but it will sink in and not leave a stain. The colour of the oil is due to the carotenoids and they are highly desired for their actions against age related skin changes. Do be careful though because it will transfer onto cloth like white bedding, So don't put it on the right before going to sleep!

Will Sea Buckthorn Oil Lighten Skin?

Sea Buckthorn oil is not a lightning agent. However, it does contain vitamin C, which helps lighten hyperpigmentation and contains the antioxidant "gallocatechin," which may have some effect against excess melanin. 

What are the Estrogen Effects of Sea Buckthorn Oil?

There is no evidence to suggest that sea buckthorn oil has any estrogenic effects. The oil does not contain any known phytoestrogens, and there are no studies to indicate that it has any impact on hormone levels. There is some thought that oral intake could help with some of the changes experienced during menopause, but this remains to be seen from a research standpoint. 

Tamanu Oil vs Sea Buckthorn Oil

Tamanu oil is extracted from the nut of the tamanu tree, while sea buckthorn oil is removed from the fruit, seeds, and berries of the sea buckthorn plant. Tamanu oil effectively helps acne and other skin conditions, while sea buckthorn oil is more commonly used for its anti-aging properties. Both oils are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, making them good choices for use on the skin.

How Do You Use Sea Buckthorn Oil?

Sea buckthorn oil can be consumed and applied externally for health benefits. The nutritional benefits and uses are discussed in different articles.

It is typically diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba oil when used topically. It can also be added to lotions, creams, and serums. For best results, apply the oil to clean skin twice daily. If you have sensitive skin, it's always best to do a patch test.

DIY recipe for an excellent face oil for aging skin would be:

50g Squalane (plant-based)
30g Rosehip Oil
13g Pomegranate Seed Oil
5g Jojoba Oil

2g Sea Buckthorn Oil

Is Sea Buckthorn Oil Sustainable?

In our sustainability review, we couldn't find any red flags for humanitarian issues or agricultural exploitation. We did find several examples where sea buckthorn planting was used as a method to enhance soil quality, reduce soil erosion, reduce desertification, and provide a source of income to a local indigenous population. It is widely able to be grown throughout the world. 

 

 

References

Ezzeldi & Nahhas.Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research December 2012; 12 (6): 955-962

Solà Marsiñach M, Cuenca AP. The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health. Lipids Health Dis. 2019;18(1):145. Published 2019 Jun 22. doi:10.1186/s12944-019-1065-9 

Zielińska A, Nowak I. Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil. Lipids Health Dis. 2017;16(1):95. Published 2017 May 19. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7 

Jaśniewska A, Diowksz A. Wide Spectrum of Active Compounds in Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) for Disease Prevention and Food Production. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021;10(8):1279. Published 2021 Aug 12. doi:10.3390/antiox10081279

Akhtar N, Khan BA, Mahmood T, et al. Formulation and evaluation of antisebum secretion effects of sea buckthorn w/o emulsion. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2010;2(1):13-17. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.62698

Gęgotek A, Jastrząb A, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Muszyńska M, Skrzydlewska E. The Effect of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) Seed Oil on UV-Induced Changes in Lipid Metabolism of Human Skin Cells. Antioxidants (Basel). 2018;7(9):110. Published 2018 Aug 23. doi:10.3390/antiox7090110 

Khan BA, Akhtar N. Hippophae rhamnoides oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion improves barrier function in healthy human subjects. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014 Nov;27(6):1919-22. PMID: 25362595.

https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375688-6.10120-3

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