Over the years, rosehip oil has been thought to help pregnancy-related skin conditions due to its healing and regenerating properties but is it truly safe for pregnancy?
When picking skin treatments during pregnancy, you need to be very careful as you do not want to apply anything to your skin that will hurt the baby.
If you already use this rich oil on your face and body and wonder whether or not to continue during your pregnancy, read on to discover everything you need to know about the safe use of rosehip oil during pregnancy.
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Rosehip Oil Composition & Benefits
Rosehip oil is a lightweight orange/ amber oil obtained from the cold press of the rosehip seed of the dog rose plant. This nourishing oil contains several bioactive ingredients that give it unique skin-improving benefits. These include:
- Essential fatty acids: Its fatty acid profile is made up of linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and oleic acids that give it moisturizing properties. These essential fatty acids help strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and reinforce its capacity to retain moisture.
- Antioxidants: This oil is packed with a bunch of phenolic compounds that give it potent antioxidant properties. It helps neutralize the effects of free radicals on the skin and prevent premature ageing.
- Vitamin E: Rosehip oil contains high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that equally has anti-inflammatory properties. It is, therefore, ideal for soothing irritated skin. This study revealed that rosehip oil shows tremendous potential for the treatment of several inflammatory skin disorders.
- Pro-vitamin A: Rosehip oil has a high concentration of carotenoids (vitamin A derivative) which gives it skin regenerating and antiageing and skin brightening properties. It is very beneficial for people dealing with acne, uneven skin tone, and wrinkled skin.
Is rosehip oil on the skin safe during pregnancy?
Although there is little scientific proof to support the benefits of applying rosehip oil to the skin during pregnancy, it is believed that this oil is safe for pregnant women.
The actual scientific knowledge on the efficacy of rosehip oil to treat pregnancy-related skin conditions such as stretch marks, acne, melasma, dry skin, and eczema highlights its capacity to hydrate, nourish and revitalize damaged skin. Its essential fatty acid profile, high antioxidant, and provitamin A content make it great at maintaining the skin’s elasticity and aiding skin regeneration.,
However, for precaution, doctors recommend that rosehip oil be used for short periods only (or at low dosages) during pregnancy. This natural oil is often used either as a complementary skin treatment or ‘ alternative’ medicine. So, make sure you check with your doctor or naturopath before application.
Are there any compounds in rosehip oil that could harm the unborn baby?
Many pregnant women tend to be concerned about rosehip oil harming their unborn baby due to its high concentration of vitamin A. This fear is justified. Although important for the baby’s development, too much vitamin A intake by the mother could lead to birth defects in the baby. However, this is not the case with rosehip oil.
There exist two forms of vitamin A: preformed (retinol) and provitamin A (beta carotene and carotenoids).
Retinol is the active form of vitamin A. It is derived from animal food sources or synthesized supplements and is used directly by the body. High intakes of this form of vitamin A can cause side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and coma. In pregnant women, it could trigger birth defects in the babies.
Provitamin A, on the other hand, is a plant-derived form of vitamin A. When applied topically, the body converts it into retinol. The US National Institutes of Health established that a high intake of this form of vitamin A does not cause any of the side effects caused by the use of preformed vitamin A.
Rosehip oil is a rich source of carotenoids. As such, it is unlikely to cause any harm to an unborn child. Pregnant women should rather stay clear of cosmetic products that contain high doses of synthesized retinol to treat acne, scars, or signs of skin ageing.
Rosehip oil for stretch marks during pregnancy
Up to 90% of pregnant women tend to be affected by stretch marks during and after pregnancy. To date, the cause of stretch marks is still unclear but that explains why no remedy has been found yet.
Just like acne, stretch marks have no cure and can only be managed. There exist several natural remedies, such as rosehip oil which help significantly improve this skin condition.
According to this 2013 study, a specific anti-stretch mark cream made with rosehip oil, Centella Asiatica, and vitamin E proved to be effective in reducing the severity, preventing the appearance, and stopping the progression of stretch marks during pregnancy.
Many pregnant women apply this oil on their bellies, not only to hydrate the skin but also to boost its elasticity. Rosehip oil also contributes to preventing the appearance of stretch marks. The provitamin A found in this oil helps fade stretch marks and regenerate skin cells for more firm skin.
How to buy the best rosehip oil for pregnancy
As a mother, you need to ensure that what you put on your body is safe for you and your unborn baby. With lots of versions available on the market, it can be tough to find the best quality.
Here are some pointers as to buying the best rosehip oil for your skin during pregnancy.
- As with all other plant oils, it is always best to buy pure, cold-pressed, unrefined, and undiluted rosehip oil. It reduces the risk of using oil that has been in contact with toxic solvents and guarantees the maximum nutrients are present in the oil.
- Colour and texture can also serve as indicators of the quality of your oil. Quality rosehip oil has a rich amber colour, a smooth feel, and thick consistency. A pale yellow colour indicates it has been diluted or heavily processed and will contain fewer nutrients.
- Unrefined Rosehip oil equally has a very distinctive smell which is hard to copy. If your oil smells like roses or flowers, it is an indication that a fragrance (chemical) was added to the product. It represents a risk of irritation.
- Make sure your oil is certified organic as it guarantees it was sustainably sourced and is chemical-free.
- High-quality rosehip oil comes in dark amber glass bottles that reduce sunlight exposure.