The sea buckthorn berry is a a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. In fact, it is the most potent source of omega-7 (palmitoleic acid), which is a key building block for healthy skin. The synergistic effect of sea buckthorn's essential fatty acids, including omega-3, 6, 7, and 9, plus numerous antioxidant flavonoids, make it unparalleled in its ability to repair and protect skin.
Used topically, sea buckthorn berry can soothe burns (including damage from the sun, heat, and chemicals), and decrease the discomfort of acne, rosacea, and eczema. It also moisturizes skin and helps reduce wrinkles, roughness, and other symptoms of age-related damage.
The oil from the berry also benefits damaged hair and nails. Its essential fatty acids and carotenes moisturize the scalp and leave hair shiny. And its vitamins and minerals can moisturize, smooth, and strengthen nails.
When choosing sea buckthorn berry products, be aware that they're not all created equal. The more sea buckthorn, the better results. Where the berry is sourced is also important. It can be found in Asia, Russia, Europe, and Canada, with the quality and nutrient content varying widely. Sea buckthorn from Tibet's Himalayan Mountains has the highest level of omega-7 fatty acids, and is considered to be the best.
Sherrie Strausfogei is the author of Hawaii's Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands. Writing about beauty, spas, health, cuisine, and travel, Strausfogel's work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites. She is based in Honolulu.