Can Sea Buckthorn Oil Cure Rosacea ? Can it Touch Demodex ?

Written by on July 19, 2006 in Demodex Mites, Natural Treatments with 85 Comments

You don’t have to look too far on the internet to find grand claims about how good sea buckthorn oil is at treating rosacea.

One vendor selling sea buckthorn products has a research page that makes claims using words like `breakthrough’, `dramatically reduces redness’ and `Seabuckthorn kills mites that cause Rosacea’.

Another rosacea website touts sea buckthorn being as able to kill demodex mites and the bacteria that they produce.

It seems to be a good marketing story – play on our fears that demodex mites cause rosacea and try to sell us a natural product to clear the mites and our rosacea.

Are these press releases and unproven promotional pages supported by published research ? Further, does the rosacea community echo this confidence ?

The list of research on sea buckthorn products – its oil, pulp, seeds and all of the active constituents is growing rapidly. The following paper from 2004 looks to be a good summary of where research is heading. As far as applicability to skin, this paper describes studies related to skin burning, atopic dermatitis and `other skin diseases’ in humans and rats.

Another paper describes how SBT taken systemically may be useful in treating atopic dermatitis.

This list is as good as it gets ; I was not able to find any published research linking either sea buckthorn and rosacea, nor sea buckthorn and demodex mites. So it would appear that that association between sea buckthorn and rosacea is fairly light. So be careful out there, read websites carefully. Don’t let your search for rosacea relief taint your critical thinking.

I would be happy to be proven wrong, but it is clear to me that there is no proof of any kind that sea buckthorn oil has any effect on either demodex mites or directly on rosacea.

Sea Buckthorn may be good for you and good for your skin, but cure your rosacea – I doubt it.

Killing Demodex Mites

My research has found the list of known agents that can indeed kill demodex mites. The list includes mostly dangerous and harsh chemicals – nothing that could be considered universally safe topically.

We now know that 100% alcohol, tea tree oil, carraway oil and dill weed oil and ether, xylol, benzene, Danish (sulfur-containing) ointment can kill demodex in several minutes.

Nothing on the list looks remotely like a skin supplement. So I call fake on the claims that SBT Oil can kill demodex mites.

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Read more about: Demodex Mites, Natural Treatments

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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85 Reader Comments

  1. Devon says:

    Hey Lady, I’d like to recommend trying an H2O2 Borax treatment.
    It really seems to kill the mites almost instantly.
    Whenever I start to see the redness and slight inflamation I realize that I am overdue for the treatment.

    Within a day or two my face pretty much clears up.
    At least for what clears-up means for my skin.

    I went years using cortizone cream because it was the only thing that would clam my skin.

    Then one day I discovered h2O2 and Borax.
    IT kills the mites.
    It can dry out the skin a little.
    But you can even put some organic moisturizer on top after a treatment.

  2. Misha says:

    I’m giving it a shot, so many people on here have had good experiences! Adding a little pure seed oil to my liquid castille soap and to my moisturizer. So far looks pretty fab, better than I’ve looked in as long as I can remember… but you know, products tend to turn on you after a while, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 🙂 Thanks to all who’ve posted here.

    I must say, Leslie, it’s discouraging that after 7 years of something working, you still have to tweak your routine. I hope the new one keeps working for you! I really hope to never have to do antibiotics again, too. They wreak total havok on my system. I had to take all kinds of supplements to stay functional while on them. (Flora, b12, calcium.)

    Best of luck from this pink lady, –Mish.

  3. Misha says:

    P.S. I’m glad drinking a lot of water is working for some people, but I’ve ALWAYS been a huge water drinker and for me, that’s clearly not the issue.

  4. Kath says:

    I’ve been using a cream with Buckthorn Oil for a month and my roceasea is almost gone. I’ve tried numerous fixes including laser treatment but this is the first time I’ve had success.

  5. Dre says:

    I found this website because I had been trying to figure out when I ingest my Sea Buckthorn oil (a Dr. Oz favorite for anti-cancer) if I should take it with or without food. I ended up reading everyone’s post. I want to contribute my “cure” for Rosacea, which was diagnosed 20 years ago. When I told my chiro about the tetracycline and topical pharmaceutical I had been prescribed, he said that the medicine is powerful and harsh, and “why don’t I try something natural first?” So he consulted his book and recommended alfalfa and primrose oil (both ingested). I found Primrose oil at TJ’s so I picked up a bottle and had such amazing results that I didn’t bother with the alfalfa. In that time I once tried a Safeway brand Primrose Oil but that didn’t work at all, so I went back to TJ’s and haven’t looked back. In addition, I want to share what had prompted a visit to the Dermatologists office was that after I had worked on a few commercials (as an on-camera actress), I noticed severe breakouts and pain within a day or two of having worked on the gigs. That’s when I learned that all makeup MUST be OIL FREE, or I’ll regret it.

  6. Sally says:

    I’ve had Rosecea for over a decade now. It’s not severe but my face is constantly red and I get mild acne with it. I’ve been using Rosacure Plus with much success for this past decade (non antibotic cream) and it has worked wonders for me….but unfortunately they’ve just discontinued it! Hate when that happens! Luckily I found a few bottles left on a pharmacy website that I ordered to tide me over until I find another product. I can’t use Metrocream or any creams with antibotics as they give me oral flush (gross!). I’ve tried a couple of other non-antibotic creams but they either irritate my skin or make me break out so I was relived to find this site with everyone’s suggestions. I’ve read every single one of your comments and have written all of your suggestions down. I think I’ll start with the Sea Buckthorn Oil. I’m in Toronto, ON Canada so I’ll try looking for it at Wholefoods. I’ll be sure to give you an update!
    Ps. Can anyone recommend the name of a good SBO cream that I can try? My sheets are white so I’d prefer not to stain them with the oil. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Perferrably one that I don’t have to order on line. Thx. 🙂

  7. No MORE REDNESS says:

    Yes, Seabuckwonders Sea Buckthorn seedOil worked very well … I tried oral antibiotics for long time (Doxycline) and the gel, it worked but it is a lot more money that the seedoil and it hurts your liver.
    Seed oil was quick in eliminating redness … first week I used it twice a day and now I only use it once each two days and no more redness…

    Be carefull, pharma companies have people working on message boards to fight anything that might make them lose money … they don’t care about you … it is all about business.

    Anyways, the Sea see oil work perfect (at least for me)

  8. jason says:

    I am not aware of any studies that show that Sea Buckthorn Oil has been proven to kill demodex mites. I’m also not aware of any definitive study showing a causal link between these mites and rosacea although I’ve seen reports that some people who think they have rosacea are experiencing irritation and inflamation due to a proliferation of the mites. That said, I opted to purchase Sea Buckthorn Oil from Sidu because the majority of reviews regarding the oil are positive. I have noticed that (i) the redness of my nose where my rosacea is concentrated has clearly decreased within several days after I started using the product, (ii) I have had no inflammatory response to the oil, (iii) I’ve noticed a reduction in inflamation in other areas of my face and (iv) a little bit (a few drops) is sufficient to cover my whole face.

    So, I’m overall happy with this product. It also does not dry out the skin like sulfur containing products tend to do. Plus, although the smell is initially a bit earthy, it quickly dissipates unlike TTO which stinks up the whole house.

    I’m going to be very excited to see whether additional improvement continues over the next couple of weeks.

  9. Devon says:

    Once again I would like to reiterate my story: I had Rosacea for years and unfortunately used topical cortisone to relieve it. One day I discovered the demodex mite connection and applied H202 and Borax on my face and it went away immediately. Unbelievable. For the last 4 years I usually just do another treatment if the beginnings of the Rosacea start to appear; it always worked until this fall when for the first time the h202/borax spray did not stop the redness. I researched and came across dermatitis and zinc pyrithione. Maybe my rosacea mutated into something else but now I alternate between the borax/h202 and zinc zinc pyrithione and once again NO more redness and breakouts and inflammation most importantly — with its unmistakable face stinging!

  10. Michanne says:

    Hi Devon,

    I’ve read this entire thread and (forgive me if I’ve missed it) do not see a recipe for the Hydrogen Peroxide/Borax solution you use. I’d like to keep this in my arsenal of back-ups in case the Seabuck doesn’t pan out. Can you please post the recipe?

  11. Devon says:

    The basic recipe I believe is the same for dog mange: 1.5 % H202 saturated with Borax. However I usually just take 3% store h202 and mix in a little Borax then filter it through a coffee filter to get the excess borax out and then I use a sprayer and spray my face with my eyes closed. It will sting the eyes a bit and it can be a tad bit drying. But you can rub some shea butter on your face afterwards if you want to. That is after you let it dry. YOu can also dab your eye lids with a cloth before you open them to keep the sting away. Try this once and if the inflammation and redness subsides this probably means there is a connection between mites and rosacea. It worked for me and at the time was and still is a god send!

  12. emjoule says:

    I decided to find out for myself whether or not the claims that Sea Buckthorn oil kills demodex are true, so I “captured” a live mite from a sebaceous gland of my nasolabial fold and put it on a microscope slide in a drop of Sibu Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil. Two hours later it was very much alive and actively trying to escape from the microscope light when I turned it on. I am using 400x magnification and will continue to watch this mite as long as it is alive. From what I’ve seen so far, it will probably die of starvation and exposure before it dies from the sea buckthorn oil.
    Update, after 8.5 hours my Demodex is still alive and well in its pool of Sibu Sea Buckthorn oil and is still just as anxious to get away from my microscope light.

  13. Devon says:

    DO me a favour please, just for fun: put a drop of 3% H202 saturated Borax solution and see what happens. I guarantee he will die quickly!

  14. Awesome work emjoule,

    Thanks for proving to us all what we all knew … that seabuckthorn oil is a nutrient and will have no effect on demodex mites.

    Demodex is a parasite, so it needs something considerable to kill it – something otherwise noxious and unpleasant.

    thanks again !


  15. emjoule says:

    You’re welcome!
    Sea Buckthorn oil may be wonderful for your skin, but it does not seem to kill demodex. The one I was watching survived for almost 24 hours in it’s oil bath. I have no idea why the demodex finally died, but in the end it looked pinched in like it was hungry. I hope my little experiment helps others who are trying to control or eliminate their own demodex populations chose products that are scientifically proven to work.

  16. rosa says:

    Seabuckthorn oil works, but it takes about four weeks, not a few hours. The die-off over the four-week period can be pretty horrible and the condition will definitely worsen before it improves.

    A better experiment might be to find a willing rosacean with P&Ps on both cheeks, and treat one cheek with the oil twice a day while leaving the other one untreated. I repeat this is *a four-week initial treatment* and it also requires regular use after that to break the breeding pattern. I use it about three times a week now.

    Maybe any oil would work (tea tree kills demodex rapidly I believe), but SBT oil also works very quickly on red/swollen nose attacks so I’m inclined to think it has generally beneficial results on rosacea.

    Science in the form of metronidazole gel and antibiotics only gave me peripheral neuropathy and a constantly painful stomach, respectively. I’d rather use a reliable and harmless topical costing around £12 for a big, long-lasting bottle.

  17. emjoule says:

    Sounds like a good experiment if the volunteer first determined that demodex were the cause of his or her rosacea, then had population counts done on both the control and the experimental cheek before applying SBT with counts repeated weekly during the entire course of treatment.
    I’m glad the SBT works for you and that you’ve had long term as well as very quick results with its use.

  18. rosa says:

    Or, the volunteer could simply coat one cheek repeatedly and watch it improve, against the other cheek 🙂 Or you could have several volunteers.

    In any event, it must be quite something to see a demodex mite x 400 magnification.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to give up on SBT oil products because the effects aren’t instant, though. At worst it’s four weeks of your life, during which you’d only have continued having rosacea.

  19. emjoule says:

    From a scientific perspective, coating one cheek with SBT and seeing improvement over time when compared to the untreated cheek does not prove that SBT’s effective against demodex mites. The improvement could be due to any number of benificial factors derived from the application of Sea Buckthorn oil.

    You are right, watching a demodex mite under 400x magnifcation is pretty creepy…it makes my skin crawl. You can see the little claws on the end of their short legs and their spiny mouth parts opening and closing. They really don’t like the light and scramble really hard trying to get away from it!

  20. Perka says:

    Interesting comments about it trying to get away from light. I bought a Hair Pro
    laser light that ‘s supposed to stimulate the scalp and thicken hair. I paid a couple hundred dollars for it and have been afraid to use it. It just seems too science fiction. I’m thinking now that maybe laser light might kill demodex. Maybe I’ll find the courage to try it now.

  21. Jayne says:

    4 months ago I began using sea buckthorn oil 3 times a day on clean skin for 4.5 weeks and it definitely got rid of the burning red rosacea which was also starting into rhinophyma. I am a believer that sea buckthorn oil killed the demodex mites permanently. Still no more problems with rosacea. YEA

    • Diana says:

      Hello, Jayne. Did you use seabuckthorn oil pure or diluted in a carrier oil? If so, at which concentration did you use it? Thank you.

  22. rosa says:

    Nice to hear it is working – you have inspired me to do a refresher four-week course. The demodex often come back and have a defined lifecycle, so while I hope you don’t have to do the treatment again, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility.

  23. Cesca says:

    I have had Rosacae for about 5 years now and recently it has been getting worse with papules and pustels on both cheeks and the burning sensation becoming more and more frequent. I have tried all sorts of remedies from pharmaceutical creams to acupuncture. Nothing seems to have worked until I tried Sea buckthorn oil. I bought the gel capsules which I take two ,twice a day .Before I injest the capsule I pop it with a sterile needle and squeeze a few drops onto my cheeks and rub in. I have only been doing this for a week but my face has incredibly cleared up and is soft to the touch with no bumps at all . I look like I did years ago . The redness has almost gone and I haven’t had the flushes since the time I started the capsules.I am so amazed and so relieved and wish to pass this on to anyone who is desparate enough to use anything to clear this awful problem ,even if all the scientific evidence is not yet certain of it working . For the first time in years I am going out with out make up and keep having quick peeks in mirrors to amaze myself ! I hope it continues to keep my face clear and will try to update after a month.

  24. Misha says:

    Yeah it doesn’t really matter to me if it supposedly works on on mites. I don’t think there’s any proof that mites are really the problem when you have a rosacea papule outbreak. All I know is the sea buckthorn works! I don’t care if it’s been “proven” or not to work on rosacea. It works for a lot of people. The prescription medicines don’t even work for a lot of people, so it may not work for everyone. It seems we are all different. But this stuff is natural and inexpensive, so why not try it? I just use the oil straight from a bottle with a drip top on it.

  25. Devon says:

    Once again I recommend that everyone try the H202 treatment filled by a round of Zinc Pyrithione.

  26. Misha says:

    I just want to note that I have had some papules that were around for months, since snorkeling for some reason, and it appears the thing that worked for me this time was not the sea buckthorn. I tried it and nothing else for a couple weeks and it just seemed to get worse. But then a couple days ago (thanks to you guys reminding me) I just found my own old post on here explaining what worked for me before, and thus remembered the Ayurvedic neem soap and balm I had used before in conjunction with the sea buckthorn. This time I just switched to the soap and balm I still have in the cabinet, and left the sea buckthorn off. The only other thing I’m putting on my face is a zinc sunblock I made myself. I am remarkably clearer after just a few days! Granted it might have mattered that I did the sea buckthorn for a while first, you never know, but the results have only appeared after the Ayurvedic switch. It’s banyan botanicals, “neem and aloe” soap, and their “soothing skin balm.” Very nourishing, stopped my scaly skin flaking around the papules, and is shrinking this suckers away !!

  27. Steve Lord says:

    TO DEVON: Thanks for both your comments. Can you please give more details on how you do the borax in 3 percent water, do you bean the laundry detergent or some other form, I know borax half and half with flour will kill cockroaches so I want to try what you said. Is it safe in that solution to put on skin and how do you know that low a percentage will kill a mite? Also I think I read that zinc pyrothione will kill mites, not sure, Isnt that just head and shoulder shampoo? Is that correct, just use that, what makes you think it may work? Thanks

    FInally to EMPOULE, sounds like the new SBT website I just read is correct, Seabuckthorn doesnt work by killing mites it works by modulating the immune system, and I read that its the immune system effect on the mite bacteria that is the cause of the mite causing rosacea.

  28. Steve Lord says:

    PS Devon, I see now you men hydrogen peroxide, Id rather use rubbing alcohol, do you think that would work as well? Also do you mean a hand soap that they used to sell with borax as the ingredient, what exactly did you use? Fascinating. This may be the safe cure for all people because it had to work by killing the mite just like it does ants and cockroaches the internet says and I can attest to the cockroaches, they are gone after using the borax on them, dries them out, . What do you mean “saturated” how do I know when the solution is saturated. Did yo spray it on your closed eyelids, I have some rosacea there but was afraid it might hurt my eyes when I opened them. How long did you leave it on, all day and night or what? Tea Tree oil made my brain feel like it was being sand papered due to a toxic effect on my previously injured brain cells. Thanks a lot for your reply.

    • Devon says:

      Just store bought H202 mixed with Borax then filtered through a coffee filter to get any remaining particles out of solution. Then spray face. It will sting the eyes pretty good if opening them to soon before it dries. However I figure a little is good since they live around the eyes. The weird thing was eventually after years h202/borax wasn’t taking care of it and I panicked and somehow stumbled upon Zinc Pyrithione. Now I alternate whenever I feel a little itch coming on. For me it was obviously the mites causing it.

      • Rahel says:

        What is zinc Pyrithione? And where would I find it.
        Also I see how you mix your borax mixture, how much do you use of h2o2 and borax

  29. Rosa says:

    Steve, an effect on the immune system would have to be by ingestion. I have never ingested any seabuckthorn product, only applied oil topically. If this is done every day they will die back in about four weeks.

    I haven’t tried borax on my skin but after observing how well freshly boiled water on pads worked on my ocular rosacea, I have started to treat my face with freshly boiled hot water pads too and it has helped. Seems counter-intuitive as we like to keep rosacea skin cool, but it is effective.

  30. Rosa says:

    (Should also mention I would not allow borax near my eyes, nor tea tree!)

  31. Cesca says:

    Just an update on an earlier post (2nd June 2014)
    I have been taking sea buckthorn capsules now for a month and topically applying organic sea buckthorn berry oil to my face every three or four days . I was taking two capsules twice a day but after two weeks reduced it to one,twice a day. I also bought some organic sea buckthorn berry oil,(rather than popping the capsule) I apply this on my cheeks every three or four days in the evening .If I put it on early enough by the time I go to bed, it has soaked in and I do not get any staining on the pillow. Well the results are still fantastic . I cannot say enough how this has changed my life !
    I wish everyone well on whatever treatment they try,as everyone is so individual .I have been lucky enough to find what works for me .i

    • Diana says:

      Hi, Cesca. I wanted to ask you if you use pure sea buckthorn oil or do you diluted in a carrier oil before applying it on your cheeks. If so, in which proportion? Thanks very much.

    • Rahel says:

      Hello there,
      Would you be able to direct me to the capsules you use as well as the oil? Would love to try

      • Francesca says:

        Hi Rahel ,I use Omega 7 capsules and I order them on amazon, the oil is also ordered from amazon and it’s called seabuckwonders, organic Himalayan berry oil.
        I haven’t had an outbreak now for such a long time I only take the capsules now when I think I see a spot coming . As soon as I do it goes . For me this has been a miracle , I hope it works for you . Xxx

  32. Steve Lord says:

    Thanks for your replies. If I find a way to alleviate mine I shall report here.I think I will try borax first . Devon, what do you mean “borax” In what form, what product?
    Steve Lord

  33. Devon says:

    Borax is commonly sold as a detergent booster in the supermarket. Apparently this is technical grade and food grade or pharmaceutical grade is not much purer but you can look for it. A\nd considering a pound would probably last at least 5-10 years I figured to spring for a purer grade but I am not convinced that is necessary.. Mountain Rose Herbs mentions detergents added to commercial borax products however Borax is mined — not synthetic — and Mule Team Borax suggests 99.5 % Pure with Trace Minerals as the impurities.

    Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.

  34. Francesca keating says:

    Another update from me,(original post 2nd June 2014) I am now clear from any Rosacea spots and no flushing and have not had any outbreaks since September .I am only taking two capsules twice a week now . Here’s keeping fingers crossed that it will never return!

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