Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016
Is pure rose water better for your the health of your skin? If you’re thinking of making the switch but are not sure about the benefits, or the issues to look out for, this article is for you.
If an irritant gets through your skin’s outer layer and into the living cells below, it may cause inflammation. If your skin is already troubled – if you have flaking, redness, scaliness, rash, lack of moisture, or lack of oil – choosing a pure over a conventional rose water will minimise your chances of exposing your skin to unnecessary stress.
Many of us begin the journey to pure plant-based skincare to address a health issue, or to pre-empt a susceptibility to one. So the choice about whether to seek pure beauty products can go deeper than the aesthetics of appearance – it’s about our health and wellness.
Chemists tell us that a synthetic lab-created rose molecule is ‘nature-identical’ so there is no difference between a plant or synthetic molecule. Whether this is true is complex and hotly contested.
Aromatherapy chemist Kurt Schnaubelt has done some interesting research. In his book, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Schnaubelt says that the ‘nature identical’ argument is misleading. Firstly, he says, the physical factors prove it wrong and that there is a difference in isotope distribution and enantiomeric composition (Don’t worry we won’t go into that here!).
Secondly, Schnaubelt says, a natural plant component comes always comes embedded in by-products that are very different to those created via the synthetic process.
Humans and plants have co-evolved over unimaginably long periods of time, during which our biology has interacted with and adapted to the molecules of the plant world.
It’s worth noting that authentic essential oils and hydrosols cause skin reactions less frequently than those containing synthetic compounds. This is likely to be because our body may identify some synthetic compounds as foreign and activate immune defences.
Another consideration is that most synthetic cosmetic ingredients are also made by global chemical corporations. You are voting for these corporations with your dollars when you purchase products using their ingredients.
At Khloris, we believe that while a synthetic product might indeed give your skin a quick fix, or seem to work well for a while, that a pure and whole plant product is more likely to interact positively for the health of your skin over time.
Given that it’s impossible to quantity how the thousands of chemicals – plant and synthetic – we encounter every day interact with each other and our biology, where we are able choose, we choose pure plant extracts.
If you’re still deciding where you sit on this issue we encourage you to experiment with both a natural and a partly or wholly-synthetic rose water and observe how each experience differs for you and the health of your skin.
In aromatherapy, Rose is associated with the heart and is commonly used for depression, grief and nervous stress. There are some lovely ways that you can use rose water to treat both your skin and your emotions if you are mindful. See two of our favourites in our one-page, easy save and print checklist emailed to you. Just zip down the page to the signup box and enter your email to get the link immediately in your inbox.
Rose water is made from rose petals, and what’s on those petals may wind up on your skin. Should you buy organic rose water? Evidence says yes.
Choosing botanicals for skincare comes with one of the same issues we face today with food – the risk that you’re also buying the chemicals the plant has been sprayed with.
There are hundreds of biocides (pesticides or herbicides) that may be used on aromatic plants (400 by some estimates). Unfortunately, studies show that it is possible for these to pass through the distillation process. One study of rose extracts found that 5.7% of an insecticide used on roses was transferred to the rose water.
Studies also show that rose water can be contaminated by phthalates, the plasticising agents linked to numerous health concerns. This probably happens unintentionally through leeching from plastic bottles.
Contamination with biocides or phthalates may alter a rose water’s chemistry by inciting a reaction with the plant compounds, or other synthetic compounds if you’re using a multi-ingredient rose water.
And – if you are also applying other beauty products formulated to enhance penetration of their active ingredients into deeper layers of the skin, you may be increasing the likelihood that undesirable compounds travel more deeply.
If an irritant gets through your skin’s outer layer and into the living cells below, it may cause inflammation. If your skin is already sensitive or inflamed – if you have flaking, redness, rash, lack of moisture, or lack of oil – we highly recommend that you choose organic over conventional products to minimise your chances of exposing your skin to unnecessary stress.
It is important to note that not everything you put on your skin reaches your bloodstream. Your skin’s main job is to protect you, and it’s good at it. Skin is a very effective barrier to water, so the water soluble compounds in rose water do their work mostly in the surface layers of your skin. Aromatherapy research shows, however, that essential oils can reach your bloodstream.
Proponents of industrialised agriculture, and the agencies that regulate our food and beauty products argue that approved industrial chemicals appear in such minuscule amounts as to pose no health risk. This may hold true on a case-by-case basis, but it’s impossible to quantify how the chemicals – plant and synthetic – we encounter every day interact with each other and our biology.
This issue goes much deeper than the aesthetics of appearance, it’s about our health and wellness as a whole, so where we are able choose, there’s a strong case to choose organic.
Here we’re not talking about the dilutants that you can easily see on a label (look at most rose waters on the market and you’ll see many in plain sight, including alcohol and added water).
We’re referring to potential adulterants that are hidden – the practice of increasing profits by adding substances that dilute. This is a well-known issue in the aromatherapy industry.
Hidden adulteration is potentially an issue if you’re buying a rose floral water made with added rose oil. Rose oil is extremely expensive to produce and hugely in demand, which has led to unscrupulous profiteering. One study of 19 commercial rose oil samples found unusual results for most of the oils indicating that a cheaper essential oil (palmarosa oil) had been added.
While added palmarosa oil, for example, may not cause actual harm to your skin, it’s not likely to achieve the benefits you are paying for either. And if a product has been adulterated, you don’t know what you are applying to your precious face that is potentially also being absorbed into your system.
Choosing a pure distilled rose water with no other ingredients and from a brand with a high level of transparency and clear provenance of ingredients will lessen the risk you’re buying an adulterated product.
This depends on many things, including the type and quality of the actual rose water in the product as well as your skin’s condition. If you have an impaired barrier, any benefits from the rose water for your skin’s health may be counteracted by issues caused by these other ingredients being absorbed in a way that they wouldn’t if your barrier was healthy.
If your skin shows any signs of inflammation (redness, flaking, scaling) or noticeable dehydration or dryness, it would be wise to avoid rose waters with these ingredients.
In aromatherapy, Rose is associated with the heart and is commonly used for depression, grief and nervous stress. There are some lovely ways that you can use rose water to treat both your skin and your emotions if you are mindful. See two of our favourites in our one-page download.
Enter your email address to get the link immediately. You can view the pdf in your browser like a normal webpage, or choose to download and save it. Enjoy!
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