There has been a lot of buzz on social media about the amazing features of raspberry seed oil. How to make your own sunscreen out of natural oils, etc. with claims about SPF's as high as 40. Raspberry seed oil is indeed a wonderful oil, rich in tocopherols, carotenoids and other antioxidants, but does it protect you from the sun? We decided to test.
Why this Interest in Raspberry Seed Oil?
The interest in raspberry seed oil originates from an article published in 2000  where the authors measured the UV-absorbance of raspberry seed oil and came to the conclusion:
"The optical transmission of raspberry seed oil, especially in the UV-range (290-400nm) was comparable to that of titanium dioxide preparations with sun protection factor for UV-B (SPF) and protection factor for UV–A (PFA) values between 28-50".
This statement is not backed up by any actual comparisons or controls and, at the same time, no other tests on raspberry seed oil have been made. Nevertheless, the interest in raspberry seed oil has accelerated. Raspberry seed oil is very rich in anti-oxidative tocopherols, carotenoids and essential fatty acids  and it truly is an amazing oil for your skin. But does it protect against UV-rays from the sun? The only way to find out is to test.
How the Test Was Made
A willing volunteer with a pale back was applied locally with Raspberry seed oil and commercial sunscreens containing SPF 20, 30 and 50. In addition, Coconut oil and Olive oil were used as controls.
Thereafter, the otherwise unprotected back was subjected to 2 hours of harsh afternoon sun (1:00 pm-3:00 pm) by the Swedish Norrland sea coast.
Products Used in the Test:
- Red Raspberry seed oil from Anita Grant
- Kung Markattas cold pressed virgin Coconut oil
- Zeta Olive Oil Originale Extra Vergine
- Sun protection factor 20, 30 och 50 from Eco Cosmetics.
All test products were fresh and newly purchased.
After 2 hours of sun-bathing, the back was clearly reddish-pink except for the areas covered with commercial sunscreen. In addition, a clear difference between SPF 20 and SPF 30 could be seen, as SPF 20 was starting to tan slightly. However, no possible difference could be distinguished between the area covered with raspberry seed oil, or any of the other oils, from the rest of the back. Thus, we can conclude that if raspberry seed oil has any SPF, it is clearly lower than SPF 20 and therefore could not be considered to offer any real protection from the sun.
- Oomah, B.D. et al., Characteristics of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) seed oil. Food Chemistry, 2000. 69(2): 187-193.
- Parry, J. et al., Fatty acid composition and antioxidant properties of cold-pressed marionberry, boysenberry, red raspberry, and blueberry seed oils. J Agric Food Chem, 2005. 53(3): 566-73.