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7 min read / 18 April 2023 / Laura Garvin Gomez

How to Use Sea Buckthorn Oil

Bright, bold, and brimming with benefits, sea buckthorn is the carrier oil you didn't know you needed.

Sea buckthorn berries on their shrub.

When it comes to skincare, there seems to be a new kid on the block every week promising great results.

Initially thinking about sea buckthorn oil, you may be tempted to resort to the same conclusion - but this plant-based carrier oil offers so much more than you'd assume.

Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids, sea buckthorn oil was once heavily praised by Ayurvedic and ancient Chinese societies, and continues to gain positive credentials from dermatologists in the present day.

Popular skincare regimens like "slugging" - which is normally done using petroleum jelly - can also be performed in a much safer way using sea buckthorn oil, thanks to its natural sustainability.

We'll be running through all the sea buckthorn oil benefits and how to use it as a part of your routine.

What is sea buckthorn oil?

In spite of its name, sea buckthorn oil is not derived from a marine-based botanical. Instead, it's extracted from the brightly coloured berries, leaves, and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant, also known as Hippophae rhamnoides.

This small shrub grows in the high altitudes of the northwest Himalayan region and has thus earned the nickname of "the holy fruit of the Himalayas" due to its extensive health benefits.

Consumption of sea buckthorn berries can largely be found in China, though the oil has been used extensively throughout the globe as a luxurious skincare treatment with a dense nutrient profile.

Sea buckthorn oil tends to be dark orange to red in colour and has a rather thick consistency. This separates it characteristically from most carrier oil types.

Sea Buckthorn Branch

What are some sea buckthorn oil skin benefits?

Because it's so rich in unsaturated fats and vitamins, the widespread applications of sea buckthorn oil to skin are certainly not new.

That being said, it can be hard to pinpoint its exact benefits if you're a complete beginner to using the oil. So, we've detailed some of its strongest assets for your routine below.

1. It's rich in antioxidants

Sea buckthorn oil is not only a great source of antioxidants, but arguably the best source amongst plant-based oils of its kind.

It has one of the highest concentrations of flavonoids and phenolic compounds - two factors that are essential for protecting and maintaining skin health - and can protect against harmful UV rays that cause damage to the skin over time.

Sea buckthorn is also rich in vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2, and B6, vitamin A (both alpha - and beta-carotene varieties), and vitamin E.

In total, this oil contains around 190 bioactive compounds as well as omega 3, 6, 9, and rare omega 7 to help keep your skin looking its very best.

2. It regulates oil production

One of the major culprits of acne breakouts is excess sebum production.

While applying oil to acne-prone skin may seem counter-intuitive, certain non-comedogenic oils like sea buckthorn can actually work to prevent breakouts without clogging pores in the process.

Sea buckthorn oil in particular can help normalise sebaceous glands and halt the overproduction of sebum in the skin, leading to smoother, breakout-free skin with regular application.

3. It's deeply hydrating and can prevent moisture loss

Sea buckthorn oil contains linoleic acid - a deeply hydrating ingredient that is found naturally in sebum.

This feature, alongside the countless other powerful antioxidants and fatty acids found in sea buckthorn, can help seal moisture into the skin barrier to reduce the possibility of transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

This leads to glowing skin throughout the day and is also a helpful benefit for those with particularly dry skin or drying conditions like eczema.

4. It reduces signs of aging

Just like any powerful antioxidant, sea buckthorn oil is a fantastic natural remedy against signs of aging.

When free radicals make contact with your skin, they cause oxidative stress that can lead to accelerated skin aging. Antioxidants like sea buckthorn can successfully break down free radicals and safely protect your skin against further damage.

This, over time, leads to a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin. Sea buckthorn oil can also fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation by increasing elasticity and improving overall skin tone.

5. It's great for all skin types

Sea buckthorn oil has an incredibly unique omega fatty acid composition - unlike almost any other carrier oil available.

This makes it a safe oil for all skin types, including acne-prone and rosacea-prone skin which is often more difficult to treat.

While studies are ongoing, many sources have shown the potential anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-psoriatic benefits of sea buckthorn. These properties can help cleanse the skin from harmful microbes as well as aid in treating chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis.

In fact, one supported the use of sea buckthorn oil against atopic dermatitis to help manage symptoms.

6. It can support wound healing for burns and scarring

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in palmitoleic acid, which is a type of fat that is naturally found in human skin.

This fat can be used to treat the symptoms of burns and wounds, meaning the application of sea buckthorn oil to these areas may accelerate treatment and heal ailments much sooner.

Person applying a dropper of oil to skin.

Are there any sea buckthorn benefits for hair?

You can't have healthy hair without a healthy scalp, and sea buckthorn oil is ideal for polishing it to its best form.

If you suffer from a dry or inflamed scalp, either as a result of seborrheic dermatitis or otherwise, sea buckthorn oil can help hydrate, nourish, and soothe this area for a healthier look and feel overall.

Its fatty acids and vitamins can also help to support the structure of the hair, while a regular scalp massage with sea buckthorn oil has been proven to increase the chances of thicker, fuller locks.

Just as with the skin, sea buckthorn can help regulate oil production on the scalp too, leading to fresher-looking strands that require fewer washes.

For some other carrier oils that benefit the hair check out our rosemary oil for hair blend.

How to use sea buckthorn oil for skin

Unlike other carrier oils, sea buckthorn is a unique, highly pigmented orange-red colour that may stain your skin or clothes when used in excess.

For this reason, it's a good idea to dilute your sea buckthorn oil with another skin-loving oil like coconut, jojoba, or grapeseed before use. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of sea buckthorn oil to your existing skincare products.

Here are a few ways to use it.

As a hydrating face treatment (slugging)

Slugging is a common technique used to lock moisture into your skin overnight.

While it's normally performed using petroleum jelly, oils like sea buckthorn are more beneficial as they can actually penetrate the skin, instead of just sitting on top of it.

How to use:

  1. Wash your face thoroughly and perform any other steps in your skincare routine first.
  2. Mix a couple of drops of sea buckthorn oil in a bowl with another carrier oil, like grapeseed, to reduce its pigmentation.
  3. Once mixed, apply to the face in circular motions using your fingertips.
  4. Leave to absorb overnight.
  5. Wash your face as normal the following morning to rid of any excess oil.

As a scalp and hair oil

Sea buckthorn oil is just as good for your scalp as it is your skin, so performing a regular massage on your locks could help them to look fuller and healthier before long.

How to use:

  1. Combine your sea buckthorn oil with another desired carrier oil in a bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, work the oil through your scalp, being sure to massage it in thoroughly.
  3. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes and wash out as normal.

As a natural colour corrector

The radical hues of sea buckthorn oil are great for naturally colour correcting your skin.

Before applying your concealer, dab a small amount of diluted sea buckthorn oil underneath your eyes to greater remove the appearance of dark circles. Continue your everyday makeup routine overtop.

As an extra ingredient to existing skincare products

If you don't want to bother with mixing oils, but still want to feel the benefits of sea buckthorn in your routine, try adding a few drops to your existing serums, shampoos, or creams.

This will dilute the oil of its heavy pigment and seamlessly transfer its benefits across.

Are there any risks to using sea buckthorn oil?

Sea buckthorn oil is safe for all skin types and generally doesn't pose any health issues.

That being said, those with acne-prone skin, or those that are prone to allergies, should patch test the oil before use to ensure its appropriate nature.

It's also important to note that this oil may stain skin, clothes, or surfaces if used inadequately, so always ensure you're diluting the oil well and keeping it away from any soft furnishings.

If you plan on getting any sort of surgery or treatment, steer clear of sea buckthorn oil for at least two weeks before your procedure. This is because some sources have linked the oil to prolonged bleeding and bruising under these circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sea buckthorn oil safe for acne-prone skin?

Yes, sea buckthorn oil is non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.

Can sea buckthorn oil be used under makeup?

Yes, sea buckthorn oil is a useful colour corrector for dark circles thanks to its distinct orange hue.

Does sea buckthorn oil boost collagen?

Some sources note that sea buckthorn can successfully encourage collagen production in the skin, which can help get rid of fine lines and wrinkles over time.

Illustration of Sea Buckthorn

By now, it's clear to see that colourful sea buckthorn oil is so much more than just another skincare fad. When used properly and regularly, this oil can boost your skin's appearance in highly impactful ways that are sure to impress.

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