Excerpt from American Spa Magazine.
The skin healing properties of sea buckthorn are endless.
SEA B U C K T H O R N IS NOT A SKINCARE ingredient you often hear about. Its praises aren't typically sung in cosmetics campaigns, and few celebrities talk about its benefits. Once you know about this little orange berry and the wonders it can work on the body, though, you may wonder why.
Sea buckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides) plants are native to Central Asia and parts of Europe, and the berries have been used by people around the world for centuries. Medical histories from the 8th century A.D. noted the medicinal and nutritional value of the fruit, and there are references to sea buckthorn in ancient Greek and Tibetan medical texts. Some historians believe the plant may even have been cultivated by a plant breeder many centuries ago, because it is remarkably rich in vitamins and nutrients. Legend has it that the Greeks fed the berries to their racehorses, thus its botanical name, “hippophae,” which means “shiny horse.”
The oil and juice expressed from the berries offer an abundance of healing properties for the skin, which is why they are now found in a host of skincare products. Those created for dry, mature skin are especially common. “Sea buckthorn has a very complex and unique lipidic content,” says Angela Eriksen-Stanley, director of education for Phytomer/Phytoceane. The oil found in the berry is a rich source of omega-3, -6, and the rare omega-7 acids and is easily absorbed by the skin. It’s these fatty acids that help to both moisturize skin as well as support its lipid barrier. “As we age, our skin’s ability to retain moisture weakens, it loses elasticity, and our cells divide slower,” says Rebecca Haight, spa director at Elements Spa Salon at the Great Wolf Lodge (Niagara Falls, Ontario).
Cell regeneration is indeed a big topic in the world of anti-aging these days, with many skincare companies now working to improve skin’s health and restore youthfulness from the inside. Sea buckthorn is a fantastic natural ingredient that offers these much sought-after beneits.
Many experts claim sea buckthorn oil is able to boost natural cell turnover, leaving skin vibrant, plump, and smooth. This could at least partially explain why researchers have found that the ingredient can help with wound healing.
Improved cellular regeneration can also be of benefit for those with acne. “In skin that is acne-prone or regularly breaks out, slow tissue regeneration can be a real issue, causing a simple breakout to last for a week or two,” says Eriksen Stanley, who adds that this slow healing can lead to scarring. Using products with sea buckthorn oil is perfectly safe for those with oily skin, as it actually helps regulate sebum production. And its anti-inflammatory properties are soothing for those with acneic skin, too.
Sea buckthorn is also loaded with high levels of vitamins C and E , as well as pro-vitamin A. These vitamins—along with beta-carotene—act as free-radical scavengers that help maintain healthy, youthful skin. Combined with its skin moisturizing and plumping capabilities, this antioxidant effect makes sea buckthorn a well-rounded ingredient that’s perfect for mature skin.
For spa-goers looking to detox and deepcleanse, sea buckthorn is again an ideal ingredient. It’s rich in sulfur, one of the main components of detoxification in the body. “Sea buckthorn is ideal for stimulating circulation, eliminating toxins, and warming muscles,” says Lesley Gordillo, spa director at Elemis Day Spa (Merrick Park, FL).