Today, I’m here to introduce you to rosehip oil and answer some of the most popular questions people have about it.

Mainly, why people sometimes tend to break out from rosehip oil.

In my routine, I use rosehip oil as a pampering step, so I am not the most frequent user of rosehip oil. However, even my skin experienced a rosehip oil-induced breakout at one point.

Without further ado, let’s dive into why this happens and what to do about it.

What is rosehip oil?

If you’re into cosmetics and skincare, chances are that you’ve come across rosehip oil as a popular ingredient in some products.

You can find it in a lot of moisturizers, serums, and other products as it’s very easy to work with, blends well, and acts as a stabilizer.

To set the scenes, I’ll explain what rosehips are in the first place.

They’re simply the fruit of rosebush. It’s the bright reddish fruit you see on a rosebush once the roses die. They’re tiny, edible, and believed to carry a range of different medicinal properties.

The oil extracted from this fruit is what we know as rosehip oil.

It’s packed with vitamin C and vitamin A, but also contains valuable fatty acids like oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, and gamma-linolenic acid.

In fact, rosehip oil is considered a more powerful source of vitamin C than oranges and lemons!

It’s believed to have substantial anti-aging benefits for the skin and you can see it is recommended for acne.

Oh, and it’s also a natural source of retinol.

The acids that I mentioned above make rosehip oil extremely nourishing for the skin’s natural barrier. The oil also contains a decent amount of antioxidants that can penetrate the skin and work their best, helping the skin recover some of its own antioxidant properties that start to diminish as we age.

Rosehip oil is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as it contains phenolic acids such as vanilla acid. This helps protect the skin against radicals. The oil is also helpful for skin hydration, protection, and restoration.

It’s considered that the topical application of rosehip oil is effective for speeding up wound healing and for minimizing post-surgical scars. Some studies also suggest that topical application of rosehip oil can help with inflammatory skin diseases like eczema as well as dry skin.

However, the reality is that the existing studies and findings on rosehip oil’s effects on the skin are too limited to rely on fully. And although a lot of people experience positive effects from using rosehip oil, it remains a mystery whether it’s the actual oil doing the magic or other ingredients, or perhaps a combination of ingredients in a product.

Rosehip oil benefits for the skin

Can rosehip oil cause a reaction?

It is somewhat frequent for me to get questions the likes of “why does rosehip oil make me break out?”.

The use of rosehip oil is often associated with some skin reactions, like breakouts and purging.

And to be honest, that’s true – there are a few risks of using rosehip oil that you should know about before going all in with this ingredient.

But don’t worry.

There’s a perfectly logical explanation of why these risks occur. And it’s not 100% certain that you will experience these, as only some people do.

The largest risk with adding rosehip oil to your skincare routine is that it is an essential oil.

Essential oils are substances that are not entirely pure and often contain a range of different compounds. Now, a lot of these elements will be beneficial for the skin. However, such products can also contain other things that aren’t so magnificent. And the worst part is that they can contain elements that don’t stand out with stability.

Some of the compounds found in rosehip oil can degrade and become irritating to the skin. In addition, the oil you purchase is not always created in the exact same way. Every time rosehip oil is created, you’re literally receiving a completely different mix of compounds. This makes it extremely hard to put any standards on the process or the final product.

Possible side effects of using rosehip oil include irritation and allergic contact dermatitis. Some users can also report developing sensitivity to certain compounds in the rosehip oil or to other ingredients formulated with rosehip oil.

This is not to say that you can’t enjoy some significant benefits from rosehip oil. Just keep in mind that because it is an essential oil, it’s hard to conduct studies and extract reliable findings.

Purging vs breaking out

So far I mentioned that rosehip oil can be a cause of allergic dermatitis and irritation. But will rosehip oil cause breakouts? Does rosehip oil make your skin purge? And what’s the difference between these two things?

Both purging and breakouts are skin reactions.

However, the key point of differentiation is the duration of these reactions. If you’re purging, the reaction fades in a few weeks. However, if you’re breaking out, the pimples that appear on your skin won’t stop popping up until you stop applying the product.

Normally, breakouts can last between 27 to 80 days, as this is how long it takes for the skin cells to renew entirely. The duration of this process will vary according to your skin type, age, and other factors.

So what does rosehip oil have to do with purging and breaking out?

Well, it does contain a lot of linoleic acids – an ingredient known for its ability to cause skin purging.

And this is not always a bad thing.

Skin purging can be beneficial for the skin if you think of it as accelerated skin exfoliation. In the end, your skin can become rejuvenated as the dead skin cells and the contents of your pores will be pushed to the surface, making them easier to get rid of.

Is rosehip oil good for acne-prone skin?

Perhaps one of the most popular questions that I’ve come across when researching this topic is – Is rosehip oil OK for acne-prone skin?

While some people say rosehip oil can cause acne, others say that it has helped them solve acne problems.

So where is the truth?

It’s difficult to provide a yes or no answer to this question as it all comes down to the type of skin you have. I’ll explain in more detail, don’t worry.

In short, rosehip oil can cause acne for people with oily skin or skin that has cystic or infected acne.


Because of the compounds inside the rosehip oil which I mentioned earlier.

Some of them may have the ability to increase microorganisms, which only makes acne worse and causes more infections for the oily skin.

If you often get painful pimples or have acne that has pus, there’s a high chance that you’re one of the people who have infected acne. This acne occurs when excess sebum and bacteria merge together and get captured inside your pores. As a result, using rosehip oil will only make the situation worse for you.

On the other hand, if you have normal acne and acne scars, rosehip oil can be very beneficial.


Because it comes with a decent amount of vitamin C and trans-retinoic acid. These two substances are amazing when it comes to eliminating acne scars, tackling hyperpigmentation, and stopping the signs of aging. Furthermore, trans-retinoic acid lowers comedones or blocked pores and inflammation.

What to do if you’re experiencing a reaction to rosehip oil?

Rosehip oil breakout - what to do

But what if you’ve read all of this once you’ve already tried rosehip oil and you’ve gotten a reaction?

What can you do now?

For starters, keep calm and keep reading. Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Stop using rosehip oil – if you’re experiencing negative reactions to rosehip oil, one of the safest ways to prevent them is to not use it at all. You can substitute it with a few alternatives, like argan oil, jojoba oil, or peach kernel oil.
  • Lower the usage of the oil – alternatively, you can try waiting out to see if your reaction is just a purging phase and give your skin some time to adjust to the new ingredient. The reality may be different than what you assume and the oil may actually be working wonders on your skin rather than causing long-term negative effects.
  • Try a different product – perhaps there is another ingredient in the product that causes irritation. As I mentioned earlier, rosehip oil is an essential oil so no two batches will ever be the same. Maybe it’s just the batch that you’re using at the moment. Try buying a new one to see if the reactions continue and then make your decision.


In a nutshell, rosehip oil can be a useful ingredient to have in your routine. If you’re well informed about the risks and the opportunities, you’ll be able to make the right decisions and use the ingredient to the fullest potential.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and I’d definitely love to hear your thoughts and comments too! If you have any experience with rosehip oil don’t be shy to share! Leave your comments in the comment section below and let’s get more opinions to find the truth together.