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Can Sea-Buckthorn Treat Acne and Eczema?

Extracts from sea-buckthorn berries (also known as seaberries) have been shown to treat both acne and eczema, two common skin conditions that together affect an estimated 60 million adults and children in the US, and another 9 million people in the UK.

Sea Buckthorn for Acne and Eczema

Sea-Buckthorn as a Topical Treatment for Acne

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences evaluated the anti-sebum effects of a topical skin care cream containing sea buckthorn fruit extract derived from the berries of the Hippophae rhamnoides plant. Excessive amounts of sebum, the oily/waxy substance that lubricates your skin and hair, are one of the main causes of acne vulgaris, both in teenagers and adults. Unusually large amounts of sebum on the skin are typically caused by a hormonal imbalance which causes the sebaceous glands (microscopic glands in the skin responsible for secreting sebum) to become overactive. When sebum mixes with dead skin cells and common skin bacteria (especially Propionibacterium acnes), it clogs the pores, leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of pimples and blemishes associated with acne.

In this study, the cheeks of 10 healthy volunteers were treated with a formulation containing a base plus 1% of sea-buckthorn fruit extract for 8 weeks. A skin care product containing the same base, but no sea-buckthorn extract, was used as a control. The researchers found that the formulation containing the sea-buckthorn extract had statistically significant inhibitory effects on the secretion of sebum, suggesting that sea-buckthorn might indeed be a valuable ingredient in topical skin care products designed to treat acne.

Note: Unlike acne vulgaris, acne rosacea is not caused by an overproduction of sebum, and therefore any potential benefits for skin prone to rosacea should be assessed in another study.

Effects of Ingestion of Sea Buckthorn on Eczema-Prone Skin

Many people with eczema (atopic dermatitis) find that moisturizing their skin with oils and creams regularly helps bring them relief from the itching, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with eczema flare-ups. But research now suggests that certain oils might also help treat eczema from the inside out! A placebo-controlled, double-blind study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that supplementation with sea-buckthorn pulp oil effectively alleviated eczema symptoms in eczema patients during the four week study period. Interestingly, however, no significant improvement was observed in the group that received capsules containing sea buckthorn seed oil (instead of the pulp oil).

Although both sea-buckthorn seed oil and sea-buckthorn pulp oil come are derived from the berries of the Hippophae rhamnoides plant, there are some differences in their fatty acid and vitamin compositions, which might explain the results of the eczema study described above. In the seed oil, the major fatty acids include linoleic (34%), alpha-linolenic (25%), and oleic (19%) acids, while the pulp oil mainly contains palmitic (33%), oleic (26%), and palmitoleic (25%) acids. Both the seed and pulp oils are rich in vitamin E and plant sterols, but the pulp oil contains significantly higher levels of carotenoids.

Where to Buy Sea-Buckthorn Products

When looking for sea buckthorn products in the UK or US, keep in mind that this superberry goes by several names, including Hippophae rhamnoides, Hippophae tibetana (or Tibetan sea buckthorn), sandthorn, sallowthorn, and seaberry. If you still can't find sea buckthorn products in the stores in your area, you can always buy seaberry products from or And, by purchasing through the Amazon links below you can help keep up and running as Amazon will give a small commission for any purchases made through these links.

Organic sea buckthorn seed oil for the skin by Sibu Beauty. This skin care product, designed for all skin types, is quickly absorbed, and according to the supplier, it can help fight acne, rosacea, eczema, wrinkles, age spots, wounds, and burns.

Order it here if you live in the US     Order it here if you live in the UK

Pure, unfiltered, undiluted wild sea buckthorn berry juice which contains the whole seaberry, including its freshly pressed juice, meat and natural oils. Use this concentrated juice to add a real antioxidant kick to smoothies, salad dressings, yogurt, etc.

Order it here if you live in the US     Order it here if you live in the UK

1. N. Akhtar et al (2010). Formulation and evaluation of antisebum secretion effects of sea buckthorn w/o emulsion. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2010 Jan-Mar; 2(1), 13-17.
2. T. Beveridge et al (1999). Sea buckthorn products: manufacture and composition. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47 (9), 3480-8.
4. Dharmananda S (2004). Sea Buckthorn, Institute of Traditional Medicine Online, 2004.
4. H. Kallio et al (2002). Triacylglycerols, glycerophospholipids, tocopherols, and tocotrienols in berries and seeds of two subspecies (ssp. sinensis and mongolica) of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50 (10), 3004-9.
5. B. Yang et al (1999). Effects of dietary supplementation with sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) seed and pulp oils on atopic dermatitis. J Nutr Biochem. 10(11), 622-30.
6. B. Yang and H. Kallio (2001). Fatty acid composition of lipids in sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) berries of different origins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 49 (4), 1939-47.