Spotlight on: Borage Oil

So you count yourself a skincare connoisseur? You know your salicylic acid from your glycolic and you’re retinol from your CoQ10, but do you keep up with the latest ingredient breakthroughs? Case in point: borage seed oil. The latest hydration hero, congestion combater and skin soother, to make waves in the skincare sphere.

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What is Borage Seed Oil ?

More than deserving of a place in your skincare routine, borage seed oil is the ultimate TLC for your skin. Borage oil comes from the borago officinalis plant that is native to the Mediterranean. The plant (adored by bees) is otherwise known as ‘starflower’ thanks to its beautiful blue star-shaped flowers that accompany the distinctive fuzzy red stems. Boasting high gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) content, a type of fatty acid that your body converts to prostaglandin E1, it is a nourishing oil that offers soothing benefits to the skin. One of the major drawcards of borage seed oil in skincare is its suitability for all skin types, although dry complexions will benefit most as it provides skin with the all-important oil dry skin lacks.  

The benefits of Borage Seed Oil

1. Fights acne 

Borage oil is fast becoming a popular ingredient in acne skincare for its blemish banishing and oil control properties. One study showed mild acne sufferers saw a 25 percent reduction in microcomedones (the clogged pores that later show up as spots) after applying linolenic acid (that borage oil is so rich in) for a month. 

We know what you’re thinking: I’m not putting oil anywhere near my oily skin! It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s a common misconception that oil is bad for oily complexions. Borage is much lighter and less comedogenic (pore-blocking) than many others such as coconut oil or polarising palm oil. In fact, it’s often dubbed a ‘dry oil’ since it absorbs super-quickly and feels feather light on the skin. 

2. Reduces inflammation

Borage oil is a fatty acid with calming and nourishing benefits, which can help reduce inflammation tied to many skin disorders. A natural anti-inflammatory, a review of studies using borage oil topically found borage oil has both antioxidant effects that can be beneficial for people with atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. For this reason borage oil is an excellent addition to any topical treatment for dry, irritated or inflamed skin. Did you know borage oil has over double the GLA content of evening primrose oil – an oil commonly associated with potent levels?  

3. Strengthens the skin barrier 

It may not look like it on the surface, but your skin is constantly hard at work, specifically the uppermost layer known as the skin barrier. Dubbed the “security guard” for your skin, the barrier’s key job is to stop potential problems passing through to protect what lies within. Borage oil is a type of omega-6 fatty acid that is excellent at improving the skin’s essential protective barrier.

4. Dry skin saviour 

If it’s hydrated, supple skin you’re after then make friends with borage. The oil soothes dry skin and boosts its natural moisture levels leaving it more smooth, plump and radiant.

5. Other health benefits 

Emerging research is linking borage oil to reduced skin and cardiovascular diseases too. According to studies, it acts like a hormone in the body, helping reduce inflammation tied to common disorders.

A 2014 study comparing borage oil, fish oil, and the combination of both, found that taking 1.8 grams borage oil and/or 2.1 grams of fish oil per day helped reduce rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms in 74 participants who were observed for 18 months. 

The study concluded that oils like borage seed may be able to replace anti-inflammatory drugs for some people, which would avoid some of the negative side effects of continuous use. 

You’ll find borage seed oil in’s re.form serum