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Is Sea Buckthorn oil good for skin?

Kashish’s question…My sister is using some products from Seabuck Essence and she is getting very good results. I wanted to ask that is anyone else also trying this product and shall i use it? She told me that its made up of Seabuck Thorn, a herb which is very good for human body.

The Beauty Brains respond:

Sea Buckthorn is used by a few brands including Sibu Beauty (who’s website includes more information that Seabuck Essense’s). But is it really good for skin?

What is Sea Buckthorn?

You can read all about Sibu Beauty’s Sea Buckthorn Nourishing Facial Cream here. Sea Buckthorn (technically known as Hippophaë rhamnoides) is a berry grown in the Himalayas and the website points out that it’s known for being rich in a number of bioactive compounds including the following:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, K, & P
  • Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9
  • 42 Lipids
  • Organic Acids
  • Amino Acids
  • Folic Acid
  • Tocopherols
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Terpenes
  • Tannins
  • 20 Mineral Elements

But the key question is, is there any research showing what this stuff does for skin?

Sea Buckthorn science

Sibu’s website brags about the “130 modern scientific studies that have found that this berry promotes health.” And it’s true that there are many studies showing this berry has health benefits when ingested. Here are a few examples courtesy of PubMed:

  • A placebo-controlled, parallel study showed that eating 5 grams of sea buckthorn every day for 5 months increased certain skin lipids in patients with atopic dermatitis. (The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry )
  • Oral intake of sea buckthorn fruit prevented UV radiation-induced skin aging in hairless mice  (Int J Mol Med.)

There are enough studies like this to indicate that chowing down on this stuff might not be a bad idea. But what does it do when applied to skin?

The skinny on sea buckthorn

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research done on the effects of this super fruit on skin. We could only find a few relevant studies:

  • Topical application of a concentrated form of Sea Buckthorn (1% of the flavone) did show improvement in wound healing. (Mol Cell Biochem.)
  • The seed oil also apparently has light absorption properties and has promise as a UV skin protectant. (J Agric Food Chem. )
  • And finally, we read that it can help boost collagen production (Journal of applied cosmetology ) We’re a bit skeptical about this one because was no control vehicle included in the study so it’s impossible to tell if the effect is from the oil or just from other ingredients in the cream.

Still, over all, there’s enough evidence here to suggest that this ingredient is promising.

So is the product a miracle or not?

Even if topical Sea Buckthorn oil is good for skin does that mean Sebu’s Nourishing Facial Cream works? The company doesn’t present ANY research on their own product to prove efficacy so all we can do is look at the ingredients which are listed below. As you can see, Sea Buckthorn oil is the second ingredient which probably means the cream contains at least a couple of percent of the oil. Theoretically that’s enough to provide a benefit. Beyond that we can’t really say. And it’ll cost you about $20 for 1 ounce to try this “miracle” for yourself.

Sebu Beauty Sea Buckthorn facial cream ingredients

Water, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable), Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Sodium Steroyl Lactylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice powder, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Phytate

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Sea Buckthorn seed oil does contain a number of components that may benefit the skin. A few legitimate scientific studies indicate the oil may improve would healing, protect against UV radiation, and increase collagen production. And based on the ingredient list the Sebu Beauty product may contain enough of the oil to be effective.

Three “mays” do not make a miracle but there’s enough here that might make this product worth a try if you have an extra $20 to spend.

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • rozy July 10, 2014, 2:57 am

    “There are enough studies like this to indicate that chowing down on this stuff might not be a bad idea.” NOT? I think that’s a typo.

  • Randy Schueller July 10, 2014, 8:45 am

    @Rozy: The two studies that I cited indicate that there IS a benefit from ingesting Sea Buckthorn oil. So, it’s NOT a typo.

  • Karen July 10, 2014, 1:06 pm

    I am very much liking what I’ve read in terms of the research given here. Thanks, Randy! I just ordered the product and will report back after giving it some time. I’m seriously thinking of applying it to only one half of my face for a more valid assessment, too. If I decides it’s a “thumbs up” for long term use on my entire face (although I do rotate products, I better hope that the other side will catch up! Of course, I could always use the next tube on the control side. Hmm… this could be interesting but I’m up for the challenge! :)

  • Randy Schueller July 11, 2014, 4:31 pm

    Keep us posted!

  • Tiffani August 2, 2014, 10:17 pm

    The lemon and orange in the product are enough to tell me that the company doesn’t really know what they’re doing in terms of helping skin.

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