Sea Buckthorn Oil Is the Most Underrated Skin Care Ingredient for Anti-Aging

This golden-hued serum might just be your new skincare bestie.

Natural ingredients make their way into skincare products all the time and are celebrated for their surprising benefits. Coconut oil is a mainstay, cica is a soothing superstar, and green tea protects and energizes skin. Sea buckthorn oil in skincare is more under-the-radar compared to these giants, but it’s arguably just as worthy of the spotlight thanks to its moisturizing, calming, and anti-aging properties. Ahead, we’re diving into what sea buckthorn can do for your skin, how to use it, and which products are worth the spend.

RELATED: Ask a Beauty Editor: The Best Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients for Irritated Skin

<p>Irrin0215/Getty Images</p>

Irrin0215/Getty Images

What Is Sea Buckthorn Oil?

Sea buckthorn is a thorny shrub that typically grows near the sea. It produces tiny, orange berries that, when crushed, produce a red-orange oil rich in beta carotene (the same stuff you find in carrots). It’s also rich in vitamin C, and is naturally very moisturizing. As such, this natural ingredient is primarily found in skincare products meant to moisturize, soothe, and protect skin.

“When used in cosmetics, sea buckthorn oil is often acquired through a cold-press extraction process,” explains Ryan Turner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and the co-founder of TRNR Skin. “Cold-pressed extraction does not use chemical solvents or high heat; it is simply the mechanical crushing of a plant’s seeds, fruit, leaves, or other plant parts to release the natural oils.”

It’s also sometimes cultivated through a process called “supercritical CO2 extraction,” which involves passing carbon dioxide gas through plant material under a certain temperature and pressure to pull out the oils.

Benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil in Skincare

Sea buckthorn oil’s key components include vitamin C, carotenoids, and polyphenolic compounds. It has a handful of notable benefits for the skin:

  • Moisturizing: This botanical oil is rich in essential fatty acids and absorbs quickly to hydrate and moisturize skin.

  • Rejuvenating: Dr. Turner says that sea buckthorn’s “phytosterols, amino acids, and minerals contribute to its nourishing and rejuvenating qualities.”

  • Protective: High levels of vitamin C and beta carotene make sea buckthorn oil an antioxidant powerhouse that can help protect against harmful free radicals.

  • Reparative: “Sea buckthorn oil may also facilitate wound healing and tissue repair, owing to its regenerative properties and anti-inflammatory effects,” Dr. Turner says.

All the above benefits make sea buckthorn oil a natural anti-aging ingredient. Its moisturizing properly plumps skin and smooths fine lines, it protects from the free radical damage responsible for key signs of aging, and can visibly repair existing damage.

How to Use Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil is suitable for pretty much every skin type, but make sure to do a spot test before using if you have sensitive, acne-prone, or reactive skin.

“It can be used alone or along with moisturizer and oil blends,” Dr. Turner says. “It is best applied after cleansing the face. However, if you have a multistep skin care routine, remember to apply oils at the end of your routine, as oils can block the absorption of any product that comes after it.”

5 Sea Buckthorn Oil Products to Try

Sold on sea buckthorn? Nab one of these skincare products that put this ingredient front and center.

1. Herbivore Botanicals Phoenix Rosehip

“This formula has a stripped down ingredient list and contains one of my favorite moisturizing ingredients, jojoba oil, in addition to sea buckthorn,” Dr. Turner says. 

2. InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

This morning serum from InstaNaturals is packed with antioxidants via sea buckthorn, vitamin C, and ferulic acid to protect against environmental damage and ward off signs of aging. Plus, it hydrates with hyaluronic acid. 

3. The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

Get your sea buckthorn oil fix without dropping too much cash. “The Ordinary is pure sea buckthorn oil that is unrefined so you know you are getting all of the natural actives in a high quality preparation,” Dr. Turner says. 

4. Versed Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil Face Serum

If you can’t choose between a serum or an oil, consider this hybrid between the two textures. It moisturizes and nourishes without clogging pores and imparts a dewy, glowy finish.

5. Summer Fridays Heavenly Sixteen All-In-One Face Oil

A bouquet of botanical oils is packed into this formula from Summer Fridays. Among the headliners are sea buckthorn, meadowfoam, hemp, sunflower, and cranberry. It supports a strong skin barrier and helps protect against free radicals.

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