by Angela Leigh
Rosehip oil and Argan oil seem to be buzz words these days, with adverts regularly touting them as wonder-ingredients in all types of products from anti-ageing moisturisers to fortifying hair shampoos. But what is all the hype about? And are these oils only helpful for maturing skin or are do they have other uses? With both oils carrying numerous benefits, this article sets out to discuss the facts on Rosehip oil vs Argan oil…
What is rosehip oil?
Rosehip oil is an oil made from the seeds of wild rose bushes that grow in the Southern Andes Mountains, known as the Rosa Moschata or the Rosa Rubiginosa. Rosehip oil can also be made from the Rosa Canina variety which is found growing predominantly in South Africa and in parts of Europe. It is made by extracting the oil from the plant’s seeds.
Note: Some Rosehip oil is made using the oil from both the seeds and fruits of the tree, however, the inclusion of the fruit within the production process results in a lower quality oil with a differing antioxidant profile that some manufacturers may still label as “Rosehip Oil”. Be sure to always check the label before you buy.
What is argan oil?
Argan oil has both cosmetic and food-based uses with an excellent fatty acid composition made from the kernels harvested from the Argan tree (Argania Spinosa) found growing chiefly in Morocco. This highly valuable oil contains a range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Rosehip oil vs argan oil – Nutritional Composition
Rosehip oil and Argan oil have amazing benefits, the latter being both nutritionally and cosmetically beneficial, while the former has cosmetic benefits and can’t safely be ingested. However, the Rosehip fruits can be made into a delicious tea providing some excellent levels of vitamin C.
Argan oil on the other hand, can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as drizzled on salads or added to smoothies, in moderation.
Topical usage is certainly the most popular use for both of these oils, and both have an excellent reputation as key ingredients in anti-ageing preparations. This is just one aspect of their benefits though! I’ll go into further detail about these later in the article, but for now, let’s take a look at the nutritional profile of each of these oils:
As mentioned above, Argan oil contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, with oleic acid and linoleic acid making up 43% and 36% respectively. These two fatty acids are essential in our diets, hence having the name, “essential fatty acids” (EFAs).
Argan oil does contain some saturated fatty acids too, but in a significantly lower quantity than the other fats (20%). It is high in free-radical scavenging vitamin E and this is one of the main reasons it’s such an exceptional product in skincare regimes. Other antioxidants found in Argan oil include carotenes, phenols, co-enzyme Q10 and melatonin.
As noted briefly above, the type of Rosehip oil which is most beneficial and is made from the valuable seeds rather than from the fruit (or made using a combination of both seeds and fruit), is the Rosehip Seed Oil. Some Rosehip oils are not labelled as explicitly as this and may simply be called “Rosehip Oil”, so be sure to double-check the label.
Rosehip oil contains a range of nutrients including essential fatty acids, vitamin A (in its natural retinol form) and vitamin E. Depending on the specific Rosehip oil you purchase, some may also contain small concentrations of vitamin C. Where a Rosehip oil contains higher levels of vitamin C or claims to contain it within its advertising or on its packaging, it will almost always be Rosehip oil made predominantly from the rosehip fruits of the plant.
As you can see, there are similarities between these two oils with the main ones being that they both contain high concentrations of EFAs as well as high levels of antioxidant vitamin E.
Rosehip oil vs argan oil – The benefits
The benefits of both Rosehip oil and Argan oil are numerous, however, each one has its specific uses while also having some similar uses.
Rosehip Oil Benefits:
- Skin regeneration. Due to its high concentration of essential fatty acids, this oil works to help increase the skin’s elasticity and preserve oil and water moisture balance. This is able to happen because the fatty acids help to create a type of barrier on the skin which prevents the loss of water and beneficial oils through the skin’s surface.
- Skin smoothing and acne treatment. Retinol, the naturally occurring form of vitamin A, works wonders on lines and wrinkles that are formed as one matures. Vitamin A is also used in skin preparations to help treat acne, with natural sources being far better for us than their synthetic counterparts.
- Anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties and as this is found in high concentrations within Rosehip oil, we can see why this oil might have benefits for anyone suffering from skin conditions linked to inflammation such as psoriasis, eczema, unclassified rashes and other forms of dermatitis.
Argan Oil Benefits:
Argan oil can be consumed as part of a balanced diet as well as be used topically on the skin.
Alimentary benefits of Argan oil:
- Anti-cancer properties. Virgin Argan oil has been shown to inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells due to the polyphenols and sterols found in its composition.
- Antioxidant properties. Continuing on from the above point, the vitamin E in Argan oil has powerful effects on free radicals, which cause oxidisation within the cells of our body and can lead to the development of cancer cells.
- Beneficial in diabetics. In research, Argan oil has been shown to minimise spikes in blood sugar levels and can potentially contribute to lowering the risk of diabetes development in some people.
Cosmetic benefits of Argan oil:
- Hair health. If you suffer from damaged or weak hair, Argan oil aids its repair if used regularly. It can even help with the growth and renewal process by massaging regularly into the scalp thereby helping to feed the hair’s roots. To soothe dry, chemically treated hair, smooth the oil onto lengths and ends as if you would a serum.
- Nail health. If you experience brittle, peeling or weak, bending nails, Argan oil can be an effective nail strengthener. Place a small dot of the oil on the base of each nail and massage it in. Ideally, do this at night so that the oil can stay on for a good few hours and you won’t need to worry about having oily fingertips.
- Acne help. Argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties as well as sebum-regulating properties. Argan oil massaged into the skin will help to regulate the skin’s oil production and also, over time, contribute to calming the redness associated with acne pustules.
- Skin anti-ageing. Thanks to its high concentration of vitamin E, Argan oil has free-radical scavenging effects on the skin when used topically as well as the ability to help moisturise, refine and minimise fine lines and wrinkles.
Argan oil vs rosehip oil – For anti-ageing
Both Rosehip oil and Argan oil are found in anti-ageing skincare preparations, but even used “neat” and directly on the skin, they are both safe and will provide their beneficial properties in higher concentrations. Argan oil is highest in oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid), while Rosehip oil is highest in linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid).
Oleic acid, thanks to its ability to penetrate the skin’s top layers with ease, boosts the anti-ageing properties of Argan oil, and may also help to improve memory which can very often decline with age.
In studies, Argan oil has been shown to have an effect on the skin’s elasticity, increasing its resilience and helping to restore the skin’s natural barrier function which so many of us have experienced a decline in thanks to the wind, rain, excessive sun exposure and poor skincare regimes to name but a few. With the skin’s barrier repaired, its capacity to hold water molecules is improved and therefore the skin feels moisturised and appears plumper.
Linoleic acid has the beneficial property of boosting cellular activity, stimulating cell regeneration and acting as an anti-inflammatory. (You may be aware that the ageing process is sped up by inflammatory processes within the body).
Because of Rosehip oil‘s antioxidant properties, it is a significant source of phytonutrients and various studies have demonstrated the anti-ageing capabilities of these compounds.
Of the two oils, Argan oil is the one that is more easily absorbed by the skin, and because of its vitamin E content being higher than that of Rosehip oil, the antioxidant properties are slightly higher.
Neither of the oils has been shown to have skin lifting properties but they certainly have been shown to have an effect on minimising the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Rosehip oil or argan oil for acne?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples, and usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.”
With this description in mind, a compound with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties would therefore logically be something to use on acne-prone skin. Considering that both Rosehip and Argan oil contain vitamin E, they are both soothing for the skin when topically applied. And due to the high levels of essential fatty acids in both oils, their action will help to calm inflammatory reactions occurring within the skin as well as calm the skin topically along with the vitamin E. Since essential fatty acids are also important in one’s diet if they have acne-prone skin, a daily dose of Argan oil could be highly beneficial.
As for ratings on the comedogenic scale, both oils are considered non-comedogenic (not causing blackheads or breakouts), however, Argan oil’s rating is 0 while Rosehip oil’s rating is 1.
Rosehip oil vs argan oil – Which oil is more suited to oily skin?
As briefly discussed in the acne section above, due to the very low non-comedogenic rating of both oils, they are both suitable for oily skin, but people with excessively oily skin would do better opting for an oil high in linoleic acid (Rosehip oil) as this is what oily, comedogenic skin needs to balance the excess oleic acid produced in the sebum of those with oily skin.
Rosehip oil or argan oil for stretch marks?
Stretch marks are small tears in the skin which look like uneven stripes along the skin. Their medical name is striae gravidarum and they tend to occur when the skin is stretched beyond its natural capacity, hence the name, “stretch marks”.
Argan oil has been shown to improve the skin’s elasticity which can both help to prevent stretch marks if used regularly prior to the marks appearing, while retinol – the form of vitamin A found in Rosehip oil – has been shown to have a positive effect on newly formed stretch marks.
It is important to note that application of either of the oils should be started before any marks even begin to show because prevention is easier and more achievable than cure. This is especially relevant for pregnant women – start using your chosen oil as soon as you find out you’re expecting! In the case of the red or pink coloured stretch marks, medically known as striae distensae or striae rubria, these early-stage marks will most likely see an improvement by using either of the oils regularly. Once the stretch marks have become white or silver in colour, there are very few known or researched treatments that will repair these.
Rosehip oil vs argan oil – Which oil is better for dry skin?
Both Rosehip and Argan oil are excellent for dry skin. The latter could have a slightly less greasy feel for those who don’t enjoy the oily feel on the skin after using moisturiser. Some people would disagree, however, and feel that Rosehip oil is the less greasy option.
To decide which is better for your dry skin, test both and then make your decision based on which you felt better using, safe in the knowledge that both types of oils are excellent natural moisturisers.
Can argan oil and rosehip oil be used together?
This is a common question with a simple answer: yes! Combining Rosehip oil and Argan oil and using it as a topical moisturiser combines the benefits of both types of oils and provides a nicely balanced ratio of oleic and linoleic fatty acids. With the vitamin E from both oils alongside the vitamin A from the Rosehip oil, you’ll be left with a great oil perfect for covering all skincare bases.
CONCLUSION – WHICH IS BETTER, ROSEHIP OR ARGAN OIL?
In conclusion, it is clear that both Rosehip oil and Argan oil are highly beneficial for the skin, with Argan oil also being beneficial when consumed as part of the diet. So, which is better? There is no set answer to this question – it will depend on the intended use of the oil. But, to recap the above in a nutshell, for anti-ageing skincare properties it’s Argan oil, for acne-prone skin it’s Argan oil, for oily skin it’s Rosehip oil and for stretch marks, both Argan oil and Rosehip oil have been shown to be effective on newly formed ones.
What’s great is that with both of these oils having so many similar benefits and uses, these don’t need to be hard and fast rules – rather choose the oil that suits your five senses best!
Angela has a keen interest in nutrition and all things vegan and vegetarian. Having been a vegetarian for over 20 years, she is always on the look-out for nutritious snacks to ensure a balanced and healthful diet. She began with a Diploma in Fitness and Nutrition through Intec College and before studying Nutritional Therapy at ION (Institute of Optimum Nutrition), she qualified as a health and skincare therapist and went on to work at a variety of five-star hotel spas globally. During this time, she was additionally trained by some of the top skincare, holistic and aesthetic professionals in their field and in constant pursuit to provide her own clients with a superlative holistic approach to their skincare needs, Angela also studied supplementation with vitamins, minerals and herbs and truly believes “you are what you eat”.