Red Raspberry Seed Oil: Nature’s Sunscreen?
Face Oils Natural Beauty Sun Protection
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 that was then and this is now.
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
Related: Why Coconut Oil Does NOT Belong On Your Face + Which Oils to Use Instead
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.
What are the benefits of red raspberry seed oil when applied to the skin?
Red raspberry seed oil is rich in antioxidants, like vitamin E and polyphenols.
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 are another type of antioxidant. You may have heard of them before since green tea, red wine, and olives are also rich in polyphenols — one of the main reasons they’re all 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.
This golden oil is also rich in 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 also has a low comedogenic rating of 0-1, meaning it’s not likely to clog pores.
Not all face oils are created equally! Some are more comedogenic or pore-clogging than others.
Luckily, red raspberry seed oil isn’t likely to clog pores.
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?
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.
I’m making lotion with Raspberry seed oil and Zinc. I see you suggest to add 1.35 oz of zinc. Can you suggest how much Raspebrry seed oil would you use in a 8oz bottle? If I want it to be a 12-15 SPF.
Is raspberry oil healthy to ingest?
Thank you and kind regards
No, not really. It does smell good I think but not like raspberries.
Does this oil smell like Raspberry?
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.
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!
Oh wow, I just checked the Berry Beautiful website. They now have certified organic red raspberry seed oil!
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!
Do you know if red raspberry oil is comedogenic?
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
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!
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.
I’ve done another test, and I’m still able to refute the assertion that Raspberry Seed Oil can be used as sunscreen.
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.
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.
I tested this against regular kids sunscreen, water, vegetable oil, and coconut oil. This does not work.
Thanks for sharing that, Jessica!
“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.