Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Rose water’s benefits for skin have made it one of the most beloved beauty products since antiquity. First, we’ll take you through some of the main rose water benefits for supporting healthy skin. Then help you assess whether rose water is right for your skin. Finally, answers to some questions you may have.
It’s important to note that the rose water we are referring to is always traditionally distilled rose water, which should be pure, wholly plant-based, organic and unadulterated.
Anti-microbial qualities are linked to the skin’s balance of bacteria (its microbiome). It’s now understood that a good balance of bacteria is vital for healthy skin. The key is to combat pathogens while preserving a balance of microbes that support functions such as healthy immune response to allergens, or controlling inflammation.
Acne and other skin disruptions, such as dermatitis, are now understood to be connected to the skin’s microbiome.
Antioxident qualities are linked to protecting cells from stress, for example from UV exposure or environmental pollutants.
Anti-inflammatory qualities are linked to helping relieve signs of inflammation, such as redness.
Part of your skin’s protective barrier is an acidic film (the acid mantle). If your skin’s acidity levels are not optimal, this film gets compromised and the outer layer of skin can become more permeable. This permeability can impact your skin’s ability to keep in water and increase its vulnerability to inflammation.
The acid mantle can be disrupted by the surfactants in some cleansers, or by environmental stressors.
Rose water is slightly acidic (usually pH 4 to 4.5 ) and as a good match for your skin’s natural pH it may help to support your skin’s barrier in maintaining a healthy level of acidity.
At its most simple level, our skin keeps itself hydrated through the movement of water in and out of cells. As rose water naturally contains a lot of moisture, along with the beneficial plant compounds, it gives a moisture boost that seamlessly matches your skin’s innate workings.
And because rose water may support desirable acidity and a healthy microbiome – both of which are important to the health of your skin’s barrier – it may also support your skin’s ability to hold on to the right levels of moisture over the longer term.
Like all distilled plant waters (hydrosols), rose water is more gentle than its concentrated essential oil counterpart. High quality rose waters should naturally contain rose oil, but the oil molecules are microscopic and are very finely dispersed through the water.
Applying rose water is a way to get the beneficial compounds found in rose oil into your skin (along with other valuable water-soluble compounds not found in the oil) in a less-concentrated form.
Rose water may be suitable for people who find products containing a high proportion of essential oils too strong for their skin.
According to the aromatherapy safety literature there are currently no known reasons to withhold use of rose water because of potential harm.
The desire to plunge one’s nose into a fresh rose is universal. In many holistic healing traditions, rose is associated with opening the heart to all kinds of love and it’s used for a calming effect on the nervous system.
No matter how you use rose water, you are applying its plant compounds to treat your skin.
So with the ‘treat’ part covered, a joy of rose water is that you can choose to use it in the way that best supports the care that you feel your skin (and heart) needs that day. We’ve put together 10 of our favourite ideas into a one-page checklist. Scoot to the bottom of this post and enter your email address to view it.
If your skin lacks oil (dryness) and/or moisture (dehydration) rose water is great match for you.
To dive deeper into rose water for dry skin, read our article linked below.
If your skin is mature rose water is great match for you.
If you have too much oil (and need support to balance sebum) and/or your skin is also congested, rose water is worth a try as one of the things it’s famous for is balancing sebum production.
Depending on how much oil your skin is producing though, rose water may not be as strongly effective for you as hydrosols that are more astringent (such orange blossom or witch hazel).
Rose water may be especially suited to you if you are faced with the trickiness of managing two or more skin issues at the same time and have found that other products targeting one issue, make another issue worse. For example, skin with excess oil AND dehydration, or congestion AND inflammation.
If your skin is sensitive – rose water may be a good option for you to try, but even though it is very gentle, proceed cautiously. Please don’t apply it to broken or severely inflamed skin, as this always comes with an increased risk of a reaction.
And a final note – while there are good reasons why rose water has been such a beloved ingredient for so long, as an ethical beauty company we would be remiss to promise rose water miracles when the performance of your skin is governed by so many factors. Your skin is a magnificently complex biological organ and nutrition, stress, environment, toxin exposure, and quality of sleep are integral to its health. But, rose water can certainly be an effective and lovely part of an holistic approach.
We counsel to allow at least 30 days because this depends on so many thing, including your skin’s current condition, your underlying health, the stressors in your environment, and the other products in your routine.
It may take longer than very active (synthetic) products designed for quick fixes because gently supporting your skin’s ability to naturally self-regulate and regenerate takes more time. But, we have also received enthusiastic emails from customers who have seen changes in their skin’s softness and hydration after just a few days.
Rose water’s specific actions for skin arise from the combination of compounds that are carried over into the water during distillation.
Analysis shows that one of the main constituents of rose water is alcohols. These are a central element in aromatherapy and may account for rose water’s antimicrobial properties. Rose water also contains esters, which are related to effects on the central nervous system (relaxing nervous tension). And another significant group of components are aldehydes, which in aromatherapy are associated with antiviral, calming and anti-inflammatory properties.
Yes, if your skin loves it, there’s nothing in the safety literature (or in our experience with our customers) that indicates that if the rose water is high quality, unadulterated and organic, that frequent use is an issue.
Monitor your skin and if you see any signs of reactivity (i.e redness or itchiness), rest your skin then go back to once a day.
When the corneoctyes in the outer layer of your skin swell up from water absorption, the skin becomes more porous and this can help active ingredients travel deeper.
So, there’s likely benefit in applying your rose water before other products with active ingredients that you want to get the most out of.
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