Red Raspberry Seed Oil: Nature’s Sunscreen?

red raspberry seed oil

Have you heard that red raspberry seed oil can naturally protect the skin from UV damage? That it’s an all-natural, single-ingredient sunscreen? Let’s take a closer look at this antioxidant-packed oil and whether or not the rumors are true…


Move it on over, hemp and chia. There’s a new seed on the block: red raspberry seed.

I admit that I used to think of these little buggers as a real nuisance — they’re so darn hard to get out of your teeth!

But I’ve recently discovered a new-found appreciation for red raspberry seeds and it’s all in the oil, baby.


Red raspberry seed oil is jam-packed with skin-loving goodies.

I really don’t need to remind you again that I’m obsessed with face oils… but I will because, hey, it’s one of my favorite topics of discussion.

Related: The Best Face Oils By Skin Type

I’m convinced that oils are the perfect, single-ingredient, all-natural moisturizers for your face.

Oil on your face!? HECK YES!

Not only was I finally (FIN-AL-Y!) able to beat my adult acne with face oils, but they’ve also helped fade my acne scars and even my skin tone… all without adding to my body burden.

red raspberry seed oil: nature's sunscreen?

Back to red raspberry seed oil. This liquid gold is filled with…

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Since free radical damage causes wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and age spots, vitamin E protects the skin from these common signs of aging.

Polyphenols

More antioxidant power!

You may have heard of this group of antioxidants before since green tea, red wine, and olives are also rich in polyphenols — one of the main reasons they are so healthy!

Studies have shown that when applied to the skin, polyphenols protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and enhance skin cell regeneration, improving skin tone and elasticity.

Essential Fatty Acids

Red raspberry seed oil contains 83% essential fatty acids (EFAs). According to Naturopathica,

“EFAs are necessary for proper skin function… Increasing the levels of key EFAs increases call membrane fluidity, enhances barrier function and repair, decreases trans-epidermal water loss, improves moisturization, cell signaling, cell immunity, and anti-inflammatory activity.”

For these reasons, EFAs greatly soothe and remedy skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

red raspberry seed oil


Now you may have heard that red raspberry seed oil protects skin from UV rays.

In other words, that it acts like a single-ingredient, natural sunscreen.

This is all thanks to a 2000 study that concluded that raspberry seed oil provides UVA and UVB protection similar to titanium dioxide with an SPF protection factor against UVB rays of 28-50, and an SPF protection factor against UVA rays of around 8.

Well that’s pretty impressive, huh?

And this natural sun protection is very likely due to the oil’s high antioxidant content — the vitamin E and polyphenols — which, again, neutralize free radicals.

But before you toss your sunscreen lotion in the trash, I do think it’s important to know that this is the one and only study that’s ever been conducted on the SPF properties of red raspberry seed oil. And I personally think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

After all, while sun exposure is totally necessary for vitamin D synthesis, there’s no doubt about the fact that excess UV exposure will cause premature damage and potentially skin cancer. So it’s nothing we want to mess around with, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun, are very fair, or have a family history of skin cancer.


“So will red raspberry seed oil protect my skin from the sun or what?”

Thanks to its high antioxidant content, red raspberry seed oil can help to neutralize and prevent the free radical damage caused by UV rays.

But does it “block” or “screen” sun? No, it does not.

Red raspberry seed oil may be all you need to protect your skin from everyday, minimal sun exposure. But for extended sun exposure I recommend a natural mineral sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Check out these 6 Safe Sunscreen Options + Why They’re Better for my recommendations and to learn more about why mineral sunscreens and zinc oxide in particular are the best choice!


But that doesn’t mean red raspberry oil won’t make a great addition to your skincare routine!

Because it’s so rich in antioxidants, it would be an especially great addition to anti-aging skincare routines.

My personal experience with this oil: it does not clog my pores whatsoever and leaves my skin super smooth. It’s also very quickly absorbed — I’d say it falls in between a dry oil like rosehip and a more moisturizing oil like jojoba, which is perfect since I personally blend the two to get the best balance!

I recommend this particular red raspberry seed oil. It’s certified organic and I actually know the family that produces the oil — they’re absolutely lovely people who are so incredibly passionate about what they do! They use only the highest quality seeds to produce an extremely high-quality, certified organic red raspberry seed oil.

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  1. Thanks for the info and for the other non toxic sunscreen suggestions in your newsletter. I actually just started using Ava Anderson Non Toxic’s sunscreen and I love it!! No nasties, it smells good and it rubs in well. Fingers crossed that people become more educated about the toxins in regular sunscreen (as well as other beauty products). Thanks for helping to raise awareness!!

  2. Sue, I thought about this for awhile since I usually buy all of my oils organic. But since I had such a hard time finding a red raspberry seed oil and want all of the oil’s properties, I am fine with this for now particularly since it is otherwise a 100% natural product (and one that helps neutralize free radicals). I will continue my search for an organic option while enjoying this one!

  3. Hi Nadia, I just love your website, and I generally enjoy this sort of DIY because I research a lot before I buy a product too. Yet I realized pretty soon companies have already recognized this emerging online community of organic DIY. And it troubles me that their marketers are already making full use of it especially on youtube. SO, I was just wondering where you stand on ‘sponsored’ reviews and such (aka being sent free products for trail and review)? I don’t want to question your intentions, they seem really good and I think a lot of the information on here is really useful. But I still feel skeptical when I see a discount link. It just seems people are often easily drawn into these corporate machines with dubious intentions because it lets them make money or get free products in exchange for recommendations and such.

  4. Great question! I don’t accept free samples or write reviews for most companies that contact me. Rather, I actively reach out to those companies I want to work with, companies I already use and trust, which is exactly what I did with Berry Beautiful. I liked their product and really wanted to give readers a discount. It’s a partnership, and one that I really enjoy and have fun doing, particularly with small businesses that have a product I really believe in since I feel like I’m helping them grow. I’d never write about any products I don’t actually use myself – that would just be silly.

  5. So it’s been a little while since this post. What oils and oil combination are you using now and are you happy with it? I’m currently using a pre-made oil mix with essential oils, and I’m finding it to be a little irritating to my sensitive rosacea skin. It also has coconut oil in it which makes me nervous about clogging pores. I’ve only been using it for 8 weeks and I have been purging/detoxing from my skin the entire time. Scared to change and risk going thru that again, but nervous about continuing too. Sigh. Right now I’m looking at Jojoba (the first oil listed in the one I’m currently using) and Rosehip and now possibly this Red Raspberry. Any suggestions? My skin is aging (late 40s), normal to dry, sensitive with rosacea but also prone to breakouts this year for lots of possible reasons which I’ll spare you. 😉 What I’m currently using also has Seabuckthorn and Tamanu which both have great benefits but either oil isn’t for me or the essential oils added are bothering me….not sure. Face just doesn’t feel great. Thanks for any advice.

  6. Hi nadia! I’ve been reading your posts on natural sunscreens. Because I’m looking for one. I live in Thailand and sun is always a concern. Why do you not recommend this for a full day of sun exposure? And how does this hold up against acne prone skin?

  7. I really want to buy the raspberry oil for its SPF but just came across an article saying there is no way to know the SPF! Do you have any evidence it does? Also how good does it smell? Thanks so much!

  8. hi, i too am into oils, my routine is simple..i use all Face Natural products. this company is as pure as it gets!! AM their cranberry facial toner then apply a half pump of their rosehip seed oil (cold pressed) and immediatley after their red raspberryseed oil (cold pressed) AM ROUTINE DONE! PM their superfruit facial toner (the toners come in spray bottles) and then the same with the rose hip seed oil followed by red raspberry seed oil. PM ROUTINE DONE. IT;S THAT SIMPLE AND THE RESULTS amazing!! I am so glad to have found this certified organic, truly all natural company. not one product has a bad, nasty toxic ingredient. Also, their lotions are delicious, smell amazing and all truley natural, no artificial stuff in their products. Face Naturals can’t be beat, lowest scoring co. on ewg for everything. Great customer service and quick to receive orders. check them out!!!

  9. just a quick note, sometimes i alternate my face naturals toners, depending on my mood. i am using the superfruit facial toner now in am, smells divine and wakes you up.!!!

  10. I am interested in trying out the oil but the code no longer works. Is there another we could use?
    Thanks!

  11. Good question – has the scent changed? Have you had it for awhile? Do you think any moisture has gotten into it?

  12. Hi Nadia. Thanks for this great post. Can you tell me whether the red raspberry oil has ANY scent to it? I have significant MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) and so this would be an important consideration for me. Thank you!!

  13. Hey, Nancy. It does have a slight natural odor to it, yes – earthy but definitely noticeable.

  14. Ummm LOL I mean it’s 100% natural so… yes? But that’s not exactly the point here.

  15. I use your recipe for acne prone skin and I LOVE IT, Have broken out once in 3 months. Your blog is awesome! I wonder if you have (or can think of) a similar recipe but with rasperry seed oil instead? I am thinking adding frankinsense or geranium, and carrot seed EO to make it even better for the sun? (for days of shopping outside or driving with windows down) What else would you add and in what proportions? Something that can work as every day moisturizer, blemish fighter and with a decent amount of SFP? You are my oils skin care guru!

  16. Could you give a link to the study you cite? I came across this elsewhere and was looking for the original paper but I couldn’t find it. I found your blog post. Thanks.

  17. Hi Nadia! I really like your blog about this raspberry seed oil. Very detailed. It surely gives the information that I people should know about this oil. I’ve been using this oil since then, and been getting the great result as well! Thank goodness for this awesome oil.

  18. Hello! It gives the option of “canada” as the shipping location…But I am having trouble putting my order through*** Does Berry Beautiful ship to Toronto Canada?

    Thankyou~~

  19. Hi Nadia, thank you for your informing post. I have dry skin with a tendency toward rosacea as well. I want to experiment using R.R. seed oil as a day oil and am wondering how to do it! I am curious to mix it with jojoba like you suggested and geranium seed oil as I heard its helpful for rosecea prone skin. What would you recommend for the measurements of each oil?
    Thanks, Susan

  20. Hi, Susan! Great questions – I address the measurement issue here: https://bodyunburdened.com/essential-oils-for-skincare/

    I haven’t personally had experience with rosacea but do have very sensitive skin and have had amazing results with jojoba. With things like this, it can be a matter of trial and error since everyone is different! But I would look into posts other healthy living bloggers have written about rosacea specifically (like this one http://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-blog/bye-bye-rosacea-glowing-skin-for-the-bride-to-be/ and this one http://realfoodliz.com/ask-liz-natural-skincare-rosacea-eczema/).

  21. I just bought some organic cold pressed red raspberry seed oil and it has a rancid smell. What is this oil suppose to smell like?

  22. Can you please link to this supposed study? It is dangerous and negligent to be promoting oils as an SPF. There is NO scientific research to back it up. Skin cancer is one of the most deadly and fastest growing cancers. Please do not tell people to use oils in place of proper SPF. There are plenty of natural clinically tested and proven SPF’s on the market. It is actually illegal to claim Oils have an SPF as it is something that is regulated by the FDA. SPF is considered an over the counter drug.

  23. Here is the study. I will include this in the post and am surprised it was not there. Thanks for pointing this out.

    I am NOT telling people to use oils instead of physical SPF such as zinc oxide, though many natural health practitioners and advocates do so and I don’t necessarily disagree with them. I even note that I would NOT use this oil for full-coverage sun-protection since the UVA coverage is purported to only be SPF 8.

    As an aside: people are being scared sunless and it’s creating an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. (Safe) Sun exposure is critical for vitamin D synthesis – it’s the only way the body can naturally create vitamin D, which is absolutely critical to health including preventing all cancers, which is the irony here.

    I will change the main image to make it more of a question and discussion rather than statement.

  24. Hi, Ana! Sorry for the belated reply (somehow your comment missed my radar)… Yay I’m so happy to hear that! Whatever you do, just remember to keep the EOs diluted to a maximum of 5% of the final product – they’re so potent, you don’t need any more than that!

  25. “The SPF number on sunscreens only reflects the product’s ability to screen UVB rays. At present there is no FDA-approved rating system that measures UVA protection levels.” – I found that info on the Melanoma Foundation website. It also stated that a sunscreen with spf 30 will block 97% of UVB rays, and spf 15 blocks 94%. So while I understand why you do not want to recommend that people replace traditional sunscreen with red raspberry seed oil, I really think it would make a great replacement. The statement I quoted above actually concerns me as you don’t know from the spf factor how much UVA rays are being blocked by traditional sunscreen. A broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunblock could actually block LESS UVA rays than RRS oil. Further research also shows that unless you are living in a broad spectrum sunblock and regularly applying it you are being exposed to UVA rays year round, even indoors as it passes through glass. I guess I’m just not sure the possible higher UVA protection of traditional sunscreen is worth it. I’ll just keep living in my RRS oil and know I’m at least partially protected from UVA and well protected from UVB 24/7 without irritating my sensitive skin.

  26. Referring to the black light test video posted by James concerning sunscreens.
    This rudimentary experiment tested for the absorption of UVA rays by: water, vegetable oil, sunscreen, essential oil and coconut oil. James’ conclusion from his experiment was that of the five materials tested only the sunscreen effectively absorbed UVA light, and that therefore only the sunscreen offered protection from UVA rays. James is ignoring that sunscreens can function in two different ways, not just one: either via absorption or reflection and dispersion. Plant based sunscreen ingredients such as raspberry seed oil or carrot seed oil function through dispersion and reflection, not absorption. The ability of RSO to disperse and reflect UV light was demonstrated by Oomah (2000) in a legitimate laboratory by a legitimate scientist and his findings were published in a legitimate scientific journal that was peer reviewed.

  27. Yeah, that one single paragraph in “Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil”, by B.Dave Oomah is the ONLY scientific article I found to corroborate this assertion. I have yet to find any other scientific article that confirms these findings. I’ll be back with more video tests at the end of the week.

  28. I did yet another test, this time putting raspberry seed oil up against Titanium Dioxide, which the science paper “Characteristics of raspberry seed oil” (Oomah, 2001) states that they have the same SPF rating. I also tested carrot seed oil.

    Both oils were completely ineffective.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty8SPF2wnL0

  29. I just bought my first bottle of RRS EO 2 nights ago on Amazon, after reading so much about this oil recently, should be here tomorrow. Thank you for sharing about Berry Beautiful!!! I know I’m going to love the oil, so going forward I’m going to buy from Berry Beautiful! I love supporting any small USA business and just visited their site and read about them and their products. I only wish I had read your blog two days ago because I totally would have bought from them instead (forehead smack). Thanks again for your tip, and thanks for your blog!

  30. I saw this recommended as a sunscreen. Looking for a biodegradable sunscreen for a cruise. If you wanted to use this for the whole body, would you suggest mixing it with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil? If so, what mixture? How many drops say, to an ounce of the CO? I like the idea of this better than buying a sunscreen with zinc oxide. Thanks

  31. Well, great. I just found your website and now don’t see myself getting work done for the foreseeable future. I have become obsessed with face oils for oily skin in the last years and am now asking myself, why do I buy skincare with chemicals when I can make it myself?? Love this article and am buying this oil righhhhhhht now. Thanks!

  32. Oh wow, I just checked the Berry Beautiful website. They now have certified organic red raspberry seed oil!

  33. Love the article and love that you provide links to the studies! I really appreciate your insight into a specific trusted source, too. It seems hard these days to find trustworthy companies. What do you think of a company that claims their oils are unrefined, yet their raspberry seed oil is clear and virtually odorless? And same with their argan oil. And same with one of their rose hips oils but the other was dark and fragrant. They assured me their oils were unrefined when I brought this issue up, but didn’t give me any reason to trust their claims. Their excuse was “our products vary batch from batch” and also stated that they get the same oils from multiple sources yet their image is that of a very small, personable company with the best oils. They also say that their oils are organic but provide no certification. When I asked them about this they did not give me an answer. Would love to hear your thoughts!

  34. Someone above posted a video on an experiment they did and concluded or seemed to concluded that red raspberry seed oil has no or may have no sun protective qualities. However, their study was flawed and irrelevant for reasons I’ll explain, although I appreciate their search for the truth and critical thinking.
    Their study is based on BLOCKING UV light which is what zinc oxide and titanium oxides are able to achieve (but zinc oxide is safer and titanium oxide may potentially cause damage as it reacts negatively to light), however the way the sun protective compounds work from natural antioxidants is NOT by blocking the uv rays but rather by quenching free radicals produced by them. So this study only shows that antioxidants do not block light from entering the skin, which was never the claim.
    Actually chemical sunscreens are made to try to mimic antioxidants in that the lab produced chemicals neutralize free radicals from UV light, however it turns out that the chemicals are actually harmful to our skin and bodies.
    All the better that you can receive the highly beneficial light we’ve evolved to live in for millions of years, while protecting the skin with topical antioxidants at the same time! Of course I agree that if you’re out in the sun for long periods at a time (swimming, biking, boating,etc.), adding some zinc oxide is a good idea.