Rosehip Seed Oil Useful in Scar Treatment?

Rosehip seed oil, also referred to as rosa mosqueta, is considered to have many skin care benefits. This oil is a natural source of unsaturated fatty acids. It should have a rejuvenating action and diminish wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and even stretch marks by boosting cell renewal and collagen and elastin production. Moreover, according to research (by Horst Kehl and Bertha Pareja, 1990) rosehip seed oil should improve the appearance of scars. It is supposed to reduce redness and elevation and prevent keloid and hypertrophic scars from developing.

The use of rosehip oil as a skin care product is said to have a vitalizing influence on the innermost skin cell layers. Its beneficial effect on cells that produce collagen, elastin, and other compounds, is said to be responsible for skin firmness and elasticity (Kasayama S et al, 1994) That’s why it is thought to work on stretch marks as well.

The fact that Indians in the Andes in Chile have been using this oil for centuries also seems to be in favor of rosehip seed oils supposed efficacy. But what does science have to say? Let’s have a look at the available clinical studies.

Rosehip seeds

Rosa mosqueta, Rosehip seeds

Aforementioned doctors Pareja and Kehl attributed rosehip seed oil’s replenishing activity mainly to the presence of transretinoic acid (retinol, retin-A). However the presence of this vitamin is disputed. A study conducted in Chile states that “the analysis of a batch of rosehip seed oil contained 0.83 mg of trans-retinoic acid / 100 g of oil.” Another study carried out by King’s College London failed to find any trace of this vitamin in the soil samples they examined.

Rosehip seed oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids, known to be involved in cell regeneration related processes. Therefore this oil is of great use to promote wound healing. (Moreno Jiménez JC et al., 1990). But what about scar treatment?

Photo by Naturaleza | Creative Commons

A study was carried out with women between 45 and 68 years, who had undergone mastectomy (breast removal surgery). These women applied rosehip seed oil after suture removal, twice a day (morning and evening) for a three months period. After three month, less apparent scars, no skin thickening and improved skin elasticity and color were observed (Pareja B & Kehl H, 1990).

In another study, 10 patients suffering from varicose ulcers and post-surgery wounds were applied a 26% rosehip seed oily solution. Enhanced epithelization (wound closure) was observed in these patients as compared with a control group. No side effects were observed. These results lead the researchers to the conclusion that this preparation is helpful to treat this kind of processes (Moreno Jiménez JC et al., 1990). Source: (pdf file)

Camacho F et al (1994) also evaluated the effects of pure rosehip seed oil on post-surgery scars and defects. Unfortunately I could not find any results of this particular study.

The limited reports show rosehip seed oil has an anti-inflammatory action. Whether this is due to the possible presence of retinol or solely because of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is not clear. (according to Wikipedia also the effect of GLA on inflammation is disputed.) The large deal of the studies are concentrated on wound care and not specifically on scar treatment. So I can only conclude that rosehip seed oil will probably have some beneficial effects on wound healing but whether or not it works as an effective scar treatment product remains to be seen. It might be worth a try but there are better alternatives which do have evidence behind them.

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