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Can You Use Rancid Rosehip Oil? And Should You?

What is rosehip oil, can it go rancid, and what to do with it when it does...? These are just some of the questions we are going to answer today, so stay tuned and read carefully...

The day and age we live in often get called the age of information. Education is its currency, and it's also the best way to protect yourself, your skin and your overall health from the potential dangers of expired natural beauty products. Not only that, we are turning more and more to natural products, while avoiding those that contain harmful chemicals.

can you use rancid rosehip oil

Speaking of natural oils, the main topic of today's article is rosehip oil. This is a fantastic oil offering numerous skin benefits, but what happens when it goes bad?

We'll talk about it in a minute, but first, let's talk a bit about the oil itself...

What Is Rosehip Oil And Where Does It Come From?

Rosehip is a small fruit that grows on the rose plant. The plant itself is not picky about the type of soil it grows on and also sustains high altitudes and lower temperatures.

And this is why you can find it pretty much everywhere: in the broad-leaved forests and meadows, by the roads and (probably) even in your backyard!

As for the rosehip oil, many people consider it to be a sort of a youth elixir; it's a fantastic natural source of essential fatty acids - including omega-6 and omega-9 acid.

It is rich in antioxidants (especially tocopherols and carotenoids that protect the skin from oxidative stress) and provitamin A which decreases damage to the skin produced by the action of free radicals.

Though rosehip oil might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you spot a pimple on your forehead (or acne scarring over your cheeks and nose), it is a good problem solver.

Above mentioned fatty acids hydrate the skin thoroughly and are also essential for the production of ceramide which makes the cell walls more powerful.

Fresh rosehip contains a lot of vitamin C which improves the integrity of connective tissue and decreases inflammation. Besides vitamin C, additional natural compounds located in rosehip may be suitable for a variety of health conditions.

How To Tell If Essential Oil Has Gone Bad?

Some of the first telltale signs of essential oil (or pretty much any other skincare product) gone bad are:

  • Color - visual inspection is always a good place to start. If you notice your oil beginning to change color (becoming darker or lighter than it used to be), it might be an indicator that something's wrong.
  • Consistency - every oil (used in skincare industry) has relatively the same fluid consistency. When it goes bad, the oil will generally thick up.
  • Smell - of course, every oil has a slightly different aroma to it, but the smell of rancid oil is something on a completely different scale and should be easily detectable.
  • Taste - I can already see you raising your left eyebrow at me, saying "Taste? You're not telling me to taste my oil don't you!?" Relax, there is no need to worry; I'm not telling you to chug the whole bottle. Just squeeze out one drop of the oil onto the tip of your finger then lightly touch it with the tip of your tongue. If the taste is pleasant everything should be fine, but should you notice a pungent, overpowering flavor, it should be a solid indicator that your rosehip oil is rancid.

Before buying, I also like to examine the bottle. If the oil container is well designed, it should not let too much light in or too much oxygen; under these circumstances, rosehip oil quickly oxidizes and loses its effectiveness.

One more thing to keep in mind is the carrier oil. Of course, we advise buying 100{285d6d0ec33f832d63ba71e7361dfa254e621171fe0222a0c97ebd34aa916c6a} pure rosehip oil, but should you choose one with the carrier oil, make sure you know the shelf life of that oil.

Normally, carrier oil lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on how well you preserve it. Make sure to keep this number in check.

Can Rosehip Oil Go Rancid?

I always recommend going for organic, natural products, but even a 100{285d6d0ec33f832d63ba71e7361dfa254e621171fe0222a0c97ebd34aa916c6a} organic oil can become rancid. In fact, natural oils are even more delicate and sensitive and can go bad way quicker, if you are not careful enough.

Rosehip oil is especially sensitive and, in ideal conditions, has a shelf life of just around 6 months. For this reason, manufacturers usually add something to the mix; one of the most common ingredients is vitamin E, which can add a full year to rosehip oil shelf life!

And as we've said in the previous paragraphs, exposing your rosehip oil to the direct sunlight or leaving the bottle out in the open without its protective cap, can cause your rosehip oil to go bad.

Signs Of Rancid Rosehip Oil

When something goes rancid, it usually means a chemical reaction took place which altered the chemical composition of the oil.

We can say the same for rancid rosehip oil as it will change color, the way it smells and may become thicker:

- Color: a good quality oil will usually be a bit darker, yellowish or orange; this is how you judge its quality. Generally speaking, if the oil is clear and transparent, you should look for a different manufacturer.

- Smell: rancid rosehip oil will have a particularly unpleasant aroma. We can compare this smell to that of Crayola crayons, salami or even plastic.

What Happens If You Use Expired Rosehip Oil?

You should not put anything harmful on your skin, especially something that has oxidized changed color or smell, and the same goes for rosehip oil!

Firstly, it will make you smell bad. Imagine getting out of the shower and lathering yourself with that sweet rancid salami smell...

Secondly, it may cause your skin to break out. You might even develop terrible rash, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Thirdly, use common sense and don't use it. You wouldn't put food that has gone bad into your body, why would you use a product that has gone bad on your skin?

How To Properly Store Your Essential Oil?

Proper storage will ensure long shelf life and prevent the oil from going bad. Here are some quick storage tips:

  • Store it in a cool, dark place, especially after you've opened the bottle
  • You can use a refrigerator
  • Keep away from direct sunlight
  • Keep the lid tightly closed
  • Close the lid as quickly as possible to prevent oxygen from coming into contact with the oil

What To Do With Rancid Rosehip Oil?

Short answer - throw it away; long answer - you don't really have to... let me explain.

Of course, you should not put rancid rosehip oil onto your skin, but you don't have to throw it away, you can repurpose it:

1. Make A Soap

Yes, the oil will start to smell bad, and the soap might stink a bit, but you can use to on your laundry instead of your hands (obviously not the greatest idea ever but hey, it's something!). 

2. Aroma Lamps

Another awesome idea, aren't I on a roll here! But if you are desperate, you can use the oil instead of the wax in your aroma candle or lamp. Never tried it though, let me know how that worked out for you 🙂

3. Polishing

Now, this is something I've tried, and I can tell you it's not such a bad idea. You can use your rancid oil to polish your shoes (instead of vaseline for example). The oil will give them a niche shine and might even help get the stains out.


  1. Totani, Nagao, Burenjargal, Munkhjargal, Yawata, Miho, Ojiri, & Yuko. (2008). Chemical properties and cytotoxicity of thermally oxidized oil. Journal of Oleo Science.
  2. Eng, M. (7 March 2012). “Has your food gone rancid? Consumers may have a kitchen full of dangerous products and not know it.” Chicago Tribune.
  1. Christensen LP. Galactolipids as potential health-promoting compounds in vegetable foods. Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric 2009;1:50–8.
  2. Kharazmi A, Winther K. Rosehip inhibits chemotaxis and chemiluminescence of human peripheral blood neutrophils in vitro and reduces certain inflammatory parameters in vivo. Inflammopharmacology 1999;7:377–86.
  3. Mabey R. The New Age Herbalist. New York, NY: Gaia books; 1988:106.
  4. The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal. Calgary, AB: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing; 1991: 293-295.

Igor Marcikic

I've struggled with acne and oily skin for the better part of my life. Along the way, I've picked up some valuable information, tips, and tricks, which helped me manage my "situation." This website is a way of giving back and trying to help others like me! Enjoy your stay, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.