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Plants and the chemicals they make. Why should you care about rosehip oil?

Because it contains essential fatty acids.

But, you may ask, what is an essential fatty acid?

Essential fatty acids are, like essential amino acids and vitamins, chemicals we need for life but do not have the ability to make ourselves. For this reason, they must be in our diet and, for the skin they must be applied topically.

Why can’t we make those very important fatty acids ourselves? During evolution we lost the enzymes required to make them. Just like we can’t make vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). Unless you ingest ascorbic acid (in a vitamin pill or orange juice), you get very sick!.

Why do we need essential fatty acids? They are present in cell membranes and the cell cannot function properly unless these vital fatty acids are there. Unless you ingest linolenic acid, or for your skin, you apply it topically, you get sick. We lack the enzyme that makes this essential fatty acid and we must get it from a plant oil.

Some plants have lots of fatty acids as storage in their seeds. We can use these fatty acids for food but they may not be what we need to keep our cell membranes intact. Put coconut oil on your skin and it will feel oily but will not do the job rosehip seed oil does. How can you tell which oil is good for your skin? You must look at the fatty acid composition. Coconut oil is great for food (for us to eat and to keep the acne bacteria happy) but it will not help your skin if what it is missing is linolenic acid! Look for α-linolenic (ALA, 18:3, n-3) and linoleic acid (LA, 18:2, n-6).

Rosehip seed oil is made of mostly essential fatty acids (55% linoleic, 20% linolenic), while coconut oil contains just a hint (less than 2%) of linoleic acid..

For anything that requires nutrition, make sure you get at least some rosehip oil or another that contains essential fatty acids. Your skin will do great without coconut oil, but will NOT do well unless you provide it with essential fatty acids.

  • Use rosehip seed oil for baby skin
  • for dry skin with a tendency to acne
  • for inflamed skin.
  • Use rosehip seed oil if you bang yourself while running around the house way I do, and want to prevent a bruise from appearing.
  • Use it to remove make-up (although our oil based cleanser is better).
  • massage your tummy with rosehip oil during pregnancy will help prevent stretch marks
  • use it instead of massage “oil”, usually not a real oil but a cheap substitute


Orsavova, J. et al. (2015) Fatty Acids Composition of Vegetable Oils and Its Contribution to Dietary Energy Intake and Dependence of Cardiovascular Mortality on Dietary Intake of Fatty Acids Int. J. Mol. Sci.2015, 16, 12871-12890.   doi:10.3390/ijms160612871