Study Review: Sea buckthorn oil protects against UV radiation and photoaging

Sea buckthorn is a natural antioxidant that reduces the concentration of free radicals and glycation by-products and thereby slows down the rate of natural aging. Another reason why sea buckthorn products help prolong youth is its ability to protect cells from harmful UV radiation. A 2018 study proved that sea buckthorn oil affects the redox balance and lipid metabolism in UV-exposed cells, thereby reducing the negative effects of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and providing skin photoprotection. [1]

Photoaging is changes associated with chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the accumulation of photodamage to the skin. Photons of ultraviolet rays are absorbed by specific photochromophores in the skin and transfer their energy to them. Absorbing the energy of photons, the DNA molecule is damaged and mutated, and then the body produces new damaged molecules. Outwardly, this process is manifested in the appearance of fine wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity, slowing down the natural regeneration processes, and pathological expansion of pores. Due to photoaging, noticeable age-related signs can appear even at an early age, at 30-35 years.

To study the effect of sea buckthorn on the rate of photoaging, scientists used high performance liquid chromatography, electron spin resonance, mass spectrometry, and a number of other high-precision techniques. Sea buckthorn has been found to:

  • significantly reduces the level of formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), including free radicals, caused by UV radiation;
  • increases the level of antioxidants in the human body: glutathione (GSH), thioredoxin (Trx), and vitamins E and A;
  • stimulates the activity of Nrf2 – a transcription factor that protects cells and tissues from toxins, oxidative stress, and carcinogens. As a result of its stimulation, the activity of antioxidant enzymes is enhanced;
  • increases the level of phospholipids and free fatty acids. These substances strengthen the natural protective barrier of the skin;
  • reduces the expression of a number of receptors in UV-irradiated keratinocytes and fibroblasts (cells that make up the epidermis and deeper layers of the skin), thereby reducing inflammatory responses to UV radiation.

These results prove that sea buckthorn “exhibits prevention of UV-induced disturbances in redox balance as well as lipid metabolism in skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes, which indicates it is a promising natural compound in skin photo-protection.”. Thus, the external use of pine nut oil enriched with sea buckthorn prevents premature aging caused by the negative effects of sunlight.


[1] Gęgotek A, Jastrząb A, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Muszyńska M, Skrzydlewska E. The Effect of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) Seed Oil on UV-Induced Changes in Lipid Metabolism of Human Skin Cells.

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