Does Rose Water Help Treat Acne?
Rose water is a gentle product that can be used in many beauty products. If someone wants to try it for acne, it probably won’t hurt them. But other treatments that have been shown to work may be better.
This article looks at the evidence for using rose water as home remedy to treat acne, as well as its properties and how to use it in skin care.
What is rose water?
Rose water is a hydrosol that is made by putting rose petals in water and then distilling the water. It is often a byproduct of making rose essential oil, so it has some of the same compounds.
An article in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine says that Rosa damascena, the main type of rose used to make rose water, has:
- Phenylethyl alcohol
One article from 2011 says that the smell and medicinal properties of rose water and other rose products come from these chemicals.
But it’s important to know that the strength of rose water depends on how much essential oil it has, which can vary a lot.
Some sources say it can have as little as 0.02–0.09% rose essential oil, while the 2011 article above says it can have as much as 10–50% rose essential oil, depending on the type of rose, how it was extracted, and who made it.
Does rose water help with acne?
There are no studies that look specifically at rose water and acne. There are, however, signs that rose water has the following qualities:
Antioxidants are substances that protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable atoms that hurt cells.
According to an article in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, acne may be caused by inflammation and damage from free radicals.
In the sections that follow, we’ll look at what research has found about the properties of rose water.
In a lab study done in 2018, it was found that rose water has several kinds of polyphenol, which is a type of antioxidant. In their samples, the researchers were able to find:
Oxidative damage could be stopped by these polyphenols. A review in 2021 says that other studies have found that rose water is more effective at fighting free radicals than popular skin care ingredients like vitamin E and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs).
But this seemed to depend on how much rose water was used, so weaker rose waters might not work as well.
In a lab study done in 2011 on fibroblasts, the cells that make collagen, rose tincture was found to protect the cells from damage caused by hydrogen peroxide.
Researchers think that this is because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, since the tincture reduced anti-inflammatory markers and stopped some of the damage.
This could mean that rose water could help reduce inflammation and skin damage caused by other things, but more research is needed to confirm the results of the above study.
In the same 2011 study, it was also found that rose tincture stopped the production of the enzymes collagenase and elastase, which break down proteins like collagen.
Collagen is an important part of how the skin is put together. As people get older, their skin has less collagen, which makes the skin less firm. By stopping the enzymes that break down collagen, the skin may look better.
There are different ideas about whether rose water can kill or stop microbes.
In a 2014 lab study, different rose extracts were tested against different types of bacteria and fungi. They found that extracts from water were good at stopping the growth of:
- Escherichia coli
- Staphyloccocus aureus
- Salmonella enteritidis
A small study published in the journal GMS Hygiene and Infection Control, however, found that rose water did not kill bacteria when it was put on hands that had been in contact with bacteria.
This could be because the rose water in this study has fewer of the compounds that make it work. On the other hand, it could mean that rose water doesn’t work as well as an antimicrobial outside of a lab.
Rose water has an astringent called phenylethyl alcohol and an astringent called tannins. Astringents are chemicals that shrink tissues, like skin, which makes them tighter.
People use astringents to stop their skin from making too much oil, which can lead to acne. Rose water may be less likely to dry out your skin than stronger astringents like witch hazel.
Some researchers have said that the antioxidants in rose products might keep UV light from hurting the skin. But no tests on people have shown this to be true.
A study from 2018 suggests that the flavonoids and saponins in rose water may stop free radicals from being made when UV radiation hits the skin.
If this is true, it could mean that rose water could help people with acne that gets worse in the sun.
It’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean rose water can protect against SPF. To prove this theory, high-quality studies with people would be needed.
How to apply rose water to your face
Rose water can be used in many ways to take care of the skin. For instance, they can use it to:
- To gently remove eye makeup, use a cotton ball or reusable pad.
- Use it as a mild toner on your face after you wash it.
- To the face as a refreshing face mist to use all day.
If someone has acne and wants to use rose water, it may be best to use it as a gentle toner after cleansing. Follow these steps to use it as part of a routine that helps clear up acne:
- Use a gentle cleanser that is pH-balanced to wash your face.
- Use a soft, clean cloth to pat the face dry.
- Put some rose water on a cotton pad and gently wipe it all over your face, paying special attention to oily or pimple-prone areas.
- You could also close your eyes and spray rose water on your face.
- Let the rose water dry all the way.
- Use a light moisturizer that won’t cause acne.
- If you’re going outside, use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
These steps can be done both in the morning and in the evening.
No research has shown that rose water is helpful for acne in any way. But rose water does have antioxidants in it, which may help reduce inflammation on the skin.
This, along with the fact that rose water has a mild astringent effect, could make it a useful part of a skin care routine. But rose water has different strengths because some products have more rose essential oil in them than others.
People with severe or persistent acne may do better with other treatments that are more reliable.
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