Your beauty stash may already rival that of a Priceline, it’s hard not to wander down the skincare aisle in search of new and interesting products. During your scouting trips, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in serums, moisturisers, and toners that contain rosehip oil (also known as rosehip seed oil), a skin care ingredient that celebs like Rose Byrne and Duchess Kate Middleton reportedly swear by.

Extracted from the seeds of rose plants, rosehip oil may help reduce redness, turn back the signs of ageing, calm acne, and act as a foolproof moisturiser-at least, that’s what reviewers, bloggers, and natural beauty lovers claim online. But does rosehip oil live up to the hype? Yes, according to the dermatologists we talked to.

Here, exactly how rosehip oil benefits your skin and the easiest way to add it to your beauty routine.

What is rosehip oil, exactly?

Hips are the fruits of rose plants. As the seeds mature, they swell and a layer called the pericarp forms around them. Hips are also often used in teas and jams, most commonly from the dog rose plant.

Rosehip oil is mechanically extracted from the crushed seeds of specific wild rose plants using a cold-pressing method, says dermatologist Dr Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce. This process helps to maintain the nutritional value of the oil, which contains several vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids that make it an ideal skin care product.

Currently, research on the skin-related benefits of rosehip oil is slim-mostly, studies done on animals and human studies involving rosehip powder, not oil-but because the skin care benefits of individual ingredients within rosehip oil (like vitamins A and C) have been well-documented, the assumption is that rosehip oil can offer up similar perks.

How rosehip oil benefits your skin

Reduces wrinkles and firms the skin

Rosehip oil is rich in vitamin A (street name: retinol), which can help reduce signs of skin ageing, including smoothing fine lines and thickening the dermis (deeper skin layers), making the skin feel firmer and tighter, says plastic surgeon and anti-ageing expert Dr Anthony Youn.

Brightens skin

Rosehip oil also contains vitamin C, a collagen-stimulating nutrient that can help improve skin’s firmness and prevent fine lines. Vitamin C is also known to have a skin-brightening effect, which gives your complexion a radiant appearance.

Protects the skin from damage

The antioxidants that rosehip oil contains, such as tocopherols and carotenoids, help to protect the skin from oxidative stress, according to a 2018 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. They ban together to neutralise free radicals (a type of molecule that damages your cells) by donating an electron to each of them, says Dr Youn, ultimately cancelling out their skin-damaging agenda.

Soothes redness and irritation

Rosehip oil contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, and oleic acid, says Dr Youn. Because skin conditions like rosacea and atopic dermatitis (aka, eczema) are inflammatory disorders, rosehip oil may help to reduce the subsequent inflammation and redness, resulting in a decrease in symptoms.

Plus, rosehip oil is particularly high in beta-carotene-an antioxidant from the carotenoid family that promotes normal growth and renewal of skin cells, says dermatologist Dr Debra Jaliman.

Calms acne

While oil sounds like the last thing you want to apply to oily, acne-prone skin, the anti-inflammatory powers of rosehip oil may also calm the redness and irritation associated with breakouts. What’s more, retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) are commonly prescribed as prescription acne treatments, since vitamin A helps to speed skin cell turnover. Bonus: “Most people find that rosehip oil is noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores,” adds Dr Youn.

Moisturises skin

Fatty acids also act as excellent moisturisers for the skin, says Dr Youn. They offer up a one-two punch of hydration by soaking into the skin to hydrate and soothe, while also playing a role in ceramide formation-a substance that keeps the walls of skin cells strong so they can better retain moisture.

Fades dark spots and scars

Besides smoothing and firming, vitamin A may mildly even out your skin tone, especially if you have acne scars. After several months of applying rosehip oil, you may find that your dark spots aren’t so dark, says Dr Youn. Research suggests that this multi-talented oil may also improve the texture and appearance of scars-perhaps because of the role that fatty acids play in how skin cells rebuild post-injury, say researchers.

Prevents stretch marks

There are tonnes of creams on the market that pregnant women use to reduce and prevent stretch marks on their bellies. Consider adding rosehip oil to the mix: One 2012 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that women who used an anti-stretch mark cream containing rosehip oil during pregnancy were less likely to experience stretch marks-and those who already had them found that they didn’t progress further or become more severe.

How to choose the best bottle of rosehip oil

“The most important thing is to make sure the rosehip oil you’re using was obtained by cold-press methods, as high heat can degrade some of the key, active ingredients,” says Dr Geddes-Bruce.

Also, look to make sure the rosehip oil is organic-this guarantees it was extracted from plants grown sans pesticides and herbicides, and is as pure as possible. 

How to use rosehip oil on your face

No matter which brand of rosehip oil you choose: “With all botanical agents, it’s best to start by testing the product on a small area (like the inner forearm) to make sure you don’t have a reaction,” says Dr Geddes-Bruce.

Then, if all goes well, try adding a few drops to cleansed skin at bedtime-after toner, but before applying thicker products like heavy moisturisers. If irritation strikes, discontinue use.