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Rose Oil in Skin Care

Rose oil is a fragrant and beneficial ingredient in some skin care products. It is an essential oil derived from the petals of Rosa Damascena.

Rose oil is used in a number of skin care products, but is not extremely common because it is expensive and dehydrating to some skin types.

To see if rose oil is right for your skin care regimen, take our questionnaire and shop by your Baumann Skin Type.

what is rose oil?

What is rose oil?

Rose oil, Rosa Damascena, is a fragrant essential oil derived from rose petals.

Rose oil has been used in fragrances for thousands of years, but is not omnipresent in modern day skin products.

When it is used in cosmetic products for its fragrance, it is usually in a diluted form or low concentration. This is why it is often seen at the end of the ingredient list on the product label.

Rose oil It is an essential oil with a nearly non-existent level of fatty acids, meaning it is not a true oil.

However, it still has many properties that are considered beneficial for skin care like anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and skin lightening properties.

Is rose oil commonly used in skin care?

Rose oil can be found in a wide variety of skin care products from massage oils to cleansers, but it is not nearly as common in skin care as other flower oils like sunflower seed oil, evening primrose oil, or rosehip oil.

The main reason rose oils are not super common in skin care is because they:

Uses of rose oil

What is rose oil used for in skin care?

Rose oil is predominantly used as a fragrance in skin care.

It is also used as a preservative because of its anti-microbial activity and is even used in some HIV treatments through oral consumption. (1)

Another commonly used antimicrobial oil in skin care is tea tree oil.

Rose oil is not often used as a hydrating face oil because it does not have any moisturizing fatty acids or many of the other beneficial features typical of true oils.

Some moisturizers use rose oil in small concentrations for fragrance.

Many product types like cleansers use rose oils for their anti-microbial nature.

Some sunscreens use rose oil for its UV protective properties (2).

Skin lightening gels use rose oil as it is a weak tyrosinase inhibitor that stops the production of the pigment, melanin. (3)

If you're wondering if rose oil is right for your skin, take the Baumann Skin Type questionnaire, and shop by your skin type!

Rose oil benefits for skin

Rose oil has many benefits when used on the face and body.

Four of the most notable benefits of rose oil in skin care are:

  1. Antimicrobial (anti-bacterial, anti-viral)
  2. Skin lightening (tyrosinase inhibition)
  3. UV Protection (2)
  4. Fragrance
side effects of rose oil

Rose oil side effects

Rose oil is not dangerous for the skin unless you are allergic to roses.

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to rose oil.

Is rose oil safe for use in skin care?

Rose oil is completely safe for use in skin care unless you have an allergy to it.

The EWG rating for rose oil is "3" which basically means "not the safest," but that is based entirely on its status as a common allergen.

It does not affect your hormones, is not toxic, and is safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

What kind of oil is rose oil?

Rose oil is an essential oil extracted from flower petals.

It lacks any significant concentration of fatty acids, so it is not a true oil, neither saturated nor unsaturated.

Rose oil is not a hydrating or moisturizing oil, unlike evening primrose oil or rosehip oils.

rose vs rosehip

Rose oil vs rosehip oil

Rose and rosehip oils come from two different flowers and have different INCI names on skin care labels.

Rose oil's INCI name is (Rosa Damascenas), and rosehip oil's INCI name is (Rosa Rubiginosa).

Rosehip oil is derived from Argentinian, fruiting rose bush seeds.

Rosehip oils derived from these seeds are rich in beneficial fatty acids for skin care like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and even some saturated fatty acids like myristic acid.

Rosehip oil also contains oleic acid.

This means that comparatively, rosehip oil is by far better for dry skin than rose oil is.

What kinds of fatty acids are in rose oil?

There really aren't any significant levels of fatty acids present in rose oil besides a small concentration of one long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid which seems to have a positive impact on neuron function. (1)

Using rose oils for their fatty acids is a dead end; however other kinds of roses and flowers like evening primrose, safflower, and sunflowers all contain beneficial fatty acids for skin care.

rose oil for hair care

Rose oil for hair care

As rose oil lacks hydrating or reparative fatty acids, the only functions rose oil would have in hair care are killing bacteria and imparting fragrance.

If your hair is dry or otherwise damaged, oils like coconut oil would be better for your hair.

Hair is made of thick proteins that need to be hydrated to stay healthy, just like the rest of your body.

Rose oil skin lightening

Rose oil is used in multiple products to treat dark spots or other kinds of hyperpigmentation. It is a weak tyrosinase inhibitor.

Rose oil can also be used in products designed for melasma or PIH.

There are no indications that rose oil is unsafe for pregnancy, which means it might work for your regimen if you are looking to treat melasma while pregnant.

Rose oil, like other tyrosinase inhibitors, can be paired with a PAR-2 blocker like niacinamide for increased skin lightening effects.

If you have an allergy to rose, make sure your skin lightener does not list "Rosa Damascena" as an ingredient.

is rose oil safe for dry skin?

Rose oil for dry skin conditions

Rose oil is not recommended for use for any dry skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis because it is not very hydrating and does not repair the skin barrier.

The best oils for dry skin conditions contain high concentrations of fatty acids such as linoleic acid, a soothing anti-inflammatory with many hydrating/moisturizing fatty acids.

Three great oils for dry skin with linoleic acid are:

  1. Argan oil
  2. Evening Primrose oil
  3. Sunflower oil

Best skin care products containing rose oil:

Here are some of our favorite skin care products containing rose oil! Be sure to shop by your Baumann Skin Type, because rose oil may be right for your skin!

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Here are some of the best references and resources on rose oil in skin care:

  1. Boskabady MH, Shafei MN, Saberi Z, Amini S. Pharmacological effects of rosa damascena. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2011 Jul;14(4):295-307. PMID: 23493250; PMCID: PMC3586833.
  2. Park, B., Hwang, E., Seo, S. A., Zhang, M., Park, S. Y., & Yi, T. H. (2017). Dietary Rosa damascena protects against UVB-induced skin aging by improving collagen synthesis via MMPs reduction through alterations of c-Jun and c-Fos and TGF-β1 stimulation mediated smad2/3 and smad7. Journal of functional foods, 36, 480-489.
  3. Akin, M., & Saki, N. (2019). Antimicrobial, DPPH scavenging and tyrosinase inhibitory activities of Thymus vulgaris, Helichrysum arenarium and Rosa damascena mill. ethanol extracts by using TLC bioautography and chemical screening methods. Journal of Liquid Chromatography & Related Technologies, 42(7-8), 204-216.
  4. Hajhashemi, V., Ghannadi, A., & Hajiloo, M. (2010). Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Rosa damascena hydroalcoholic extract and its essential oil in animal models. Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR, 9(2), 163.
  5. Baumann L. in Ch 38 Ant-iinflammatory Ingredients in Baumann L. et al. Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill 2022)
  6. Kligman AM. The myth of lanolin allergy. Contact Dermatitis. 1998;39(3):103-7.
  7. Boonchai W, Iamtharachai P, Sunthonpalin P. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from essential oils in aromatherapists. Contact Dermatitis. 2007;56(3):181-2.
  8. Bleasel N, Tate B, Rademaker M. Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to essential oils. Australas J Dermatol. 2002;43(3):211-3.
  9. DiNardo JC. Is mineral oil comedogenic? J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005;4(1):2-3.
  10. Blanken R, van Vilsteren MJ, Tupker RA, Coenraads PJ. Effect of mineral oil and linoleic-acid-containing emulsions on the skin vapour loss of sodium-lauryl-sulphate-induced irritant skin reactions. Contact Dermatitis. 1989;20(2):93-7.
  11. Agero AL, Verallo-Rowell VM. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis. 2004;15(3):109-16.
  12. Tolbert PE. Oils and cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 1997;8(3):386-405.
  13. Rawlings AV, Lombard KJ. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012;34(6):511-8.
  14. Boucetta KQ, Charrouf Z, Aguenaou H, Derouiche A, Bensouda Y. Does Argan oil have a moisturizing effect on the skin of postmenopausal women? Skin Res Technol. 2013;19(3):356-7.
  15. Kimball ES: Cytokines and inflammation. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1991.
  16. Needleman P, Turk J, Jakschik BA et al: Arachidonic acid metabolism. Annu Rev Biochem. 55:69, 1986.
  17. Smith WL: Prostanoid biosynthesis and mechanisms of action. Am J Physiol. 263:F181, 1992.
  18. Gabay C, Kushner I: Acute-phase proteins and other systemic responses to inflammation. New Engl J Med. 340:448, 1999.
  19. Cavaillon JM: Contribution of cytokines to inflammatory mechanisms. Pathol Biol (Paris). 41:799, 1993.
  20. Bertuzzi, G., Tirillini, B., Angelini, P., & Venanzoni, R. (2013). Antioxidative action of Citrus limonum essential oil on skin. Eur. J. Med. Plants, 3, 1-9.
  21. Geier, J., Schubert, S., Reich, K., Skudlik, C., Ballmer?Weber, B., Brehler, R., ... & IVDK. (2022). Contact sensitization to essential oils: IVDK data of the years 2010–2019. Contact Dermatitis, 87(1), 71-80.
  22. Bruni, R., Barreca, D., Protti, M., Brighenti, V., Righetti, L., Anceschi, L., ... & Pellati, F. (2019). Botanical sources, chemistry, analysis, and biological activity of furanocoumarins of pharmaceutical interest. Molecules, 24(11), 2163.
  23. Miller, T., Wittstock, U., Lindequist, U., & Teuscher, E. (1996). Effects of some components of the essential oil of chamomile, Chamomilla recutita, on histamine release from rat mast cells. Planta médica, 62(01), 60-61.
  24. Koh, K. J., Pearce, A. L., Marshman, G., Finlay?Jones, J. J., & Hart, P. H. (2002). Tea tree oil reduces histamine?induced skin inflammation. British Journal of Dermatology, 147(6), 1212-1217.
  25. Miguel, M. G. (2010). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of essential oils: a short review. Molecules, 15(12), 9252-9287.

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