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Everything You Need to Know About Sea Buckthorn Oil, the Latest “It” Skincare Ingredient

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Photo by Irina Chetverikova / Getty Images

From hyaluronic acid to retinol, there’s no shortage of skincare ingredients that offer a solution against dryness and signs of aging. But a new ingredient, sea buckthorn oil (or sea buckthorn berry oil), has recently been making waves for its healthy skin benefits—and it’s already in some of your favorite products. To learn more about sea buckthorn oil, we tapped board-certified dermatologist Jessie Cheung, MD, for her insight on what it is, how to incorporate it into your skincare routine, and everything else there is to know.


About the Expert:

Jessie Cheung, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Cheung Aesthetics & Wellness in Chicago.

What Is Sea Buckthorn Oil?

The name is a tad confusing as it doesn’t actually come from the sea. Rather, “Sea buckthorn oil is extracted from the fruit and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant, which is also known as the Siberian pineapple, as it grows in the cooler regions of Europe and Asia,” explains Dr. Cheung.

The nutrient-rich ingredient is becoming increasingly popular in skincare products, but it also has dermatological health benefits that go beyond glowing skin. “Sea buckthorn oil has been used topically to promote healing for burns, ulcers, and other skin diseases, as it increases oxygenation of the skin and contains fatty acids that facilitate skin regeneration and skin barrier repair while also increasing prostaglandins to eliminate inflammation,” explains the derm.

What Are the Benefits of Sea Buckthorn Oil?

  • It’s full of nutrients and phytochemicals. According to Dr. Cheung, sea buckthorn oil is a rich source of vitamin E and vitamin C, “in greater concentrations than oranges,” as well as carotenoids, sterols, omega fatty acids, and flavonoids such as quercetin.
  • It’s protective. All of those nutrients provide “a wide spectrum of therapeutic benefits when ingested or applied topically,” including antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, says the derm.
  • It’s moisturizing. In addition to preventing water loss, its nourishing properties can help with certain skin conditions.“Sea buckthorn oil can be used to treat dry skin and hair, eczema, sores and sunburns,” says Dr. Cheung.
  • It helps control sebum production. The ingredient can also help with breakouts, as it can help “normalize oil production to reduce acne and decrease scalp oil production,” says Dr. Cheung.

Are There Any Side Effects?

In short, no—and it works for all skin types. ”There are no reported side effects, and sea buckthorn oil plays well with all cosmetic ingredients,” says Dr. Cheung. Still, says the derm, “Use the same caution as with any new ingredient.” In other words, do a patch test—especially if you have sensitive skin—and immediately stop using it if you experience irritation or a reaction.

How to Use Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn can be found in all kinds of skincare products, from cleansers to facial oils. “As sea buckthorn oil is safe and improves the health of your skin, it can be applied twice a day,” says Dr. Cheung, who also warns that the ingredient can stain. “Just be aware there is a natural orange tint that can impart a ‘glow’ to your skin, but may stain white clothes and sheets.”

5 of the Best Skincare Products with Sea Buckthorn Oil

1. UPCIRCLE BEAUTY Cleansing Face Balm

UPCIRCLE BEAUTY Cleansing Face Balm
Courtesy of UPCIRCLE BEAUTY

This multitasking cleansing balm removes makeup and excess oil as it nourishes your skin. In addition to sea buckthorn oil, it features upcycled apricot stone powder, calming blackcurrant seed, and blue tansy.

2. COMPLETONE Youth & Glow

COMPLETONE Youth & Glow
Courtesy of COMPLETONE

The tiny bubbles you see suspended in this serum? Those would be encapsulated sea buckthorn oil and shikonin oil, another anti-inflammatory ingredient, along with moisturizing jojoba oil. The result: impossibly radiant, younger-looking skin.

3. THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Defying Gravity™ Transforming Moisturizer

THRIVE CAUSEMETICS Defying Gravity™ Transforming Moisturizer
Courtesy of THRIVE CAUSEMETICS

This do-it-all moisturizer hydrates dry skin thanks to sea buckthorn oil and red algae extract; helps fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; and helps protect against free radicals with ferulic acid, rooibos leaf extract, and vitamin E. It’s the perfect addition to any anti-aging routine—and is also vegan and cruelty-free.

4. VERSED Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum

VERSED Sunday Morning Antioxidant Oil-Serum
Courtesy of VERSED

This skincare hybrid has the moisturizing power of a face oil with the ingredient power of a serum. Simply shake it up to emulsify the two layers, which feature sea buckthorn oil, vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate, and more ingredients to boost elasticity and enhance skin’s glow.

5. KINSHIP Supermelt Vegan Lip Jelly Mask

KINSHIP Supermelt Vegan Lip Jelly Mask

Sea buckthorn oil’s nourishing properties are beneficial in lip products, too, like in this plumping lip mask from KINSHIP. You’ll love the tropical scent, jelly texture, and extra-hydrating formula, which you simply apply before bed to wake up to smoother, plumper looking lips.

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About the author
lindy-segal-headshot
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated April 29, 2022 12:00 AM