Rose – Rosa damascena

Not to be confused with Rosewood, which is from the Aniba rosaerodora tree or Rosehip which is from the Rosa canina plant. See last week’s post for more information about Rosehip. Dried Rose petals are often from Rosa centifolia or Rosa gallica officinalis.

Rose wax, hydrosol and essential oil could be made from many different Rose species, but Rosa damascena is the most popular species for production. Steam distilled rose oil is known as “rose otto” while the CO2 solvent extracted oil is known as “rose absolute”. It takes around 3000 parts rose flowers to yield only one part of oil. Because of the low oil content and the lack of natural and synthetic substitutes, essential rose oil is one of the most expensive available. A rose flower may contain over 500 different chemical compounds. The scent in roses on its own comes from one or more of over 300 compounds. It will be almost impossible for a combination of synthetic ingredients to mimic such a complex plant symphony of compounds.

Less Than Three – Naturally uses Rosa damascena essential oil and hydrosol in several products including the Bakuchiol serum and Facial Night oils.

So what does Rose do in skincare?

Damask roses are very high in antimicrobial compounds, as well as containing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this it is great to use for mature and dry skin as high levels of antioxidants help to keep skin looking young, longer. However, because the essential oil is so highly concentrated, usage is restricted in skincare and should only be used in “leave-on” products in quantities of 0.02% of the total product. This means somewhere around 1 drop in 100g of product. 

The anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to soothe skin inflammation and irritation caused by dry skin, also makes it suitable for sensitive skin. Additionally, these properties are known to help reduce skin redness and puffiness. This is why you will often find Rose in anti-aging and eye formulations. Rose is also antibacterial and a natural antiseptic which can aid in reducing the occurrence of acne as well as promoting healing. 

As with rosehip, Vitamin A is present and is necessary for the production of collagen. Collagen is the building block of skin. It’s essential for skin elasticity and firmness and your body makes less collagen as you age. Vitamin A can also assist with the healing of scars and helps to accelerate healing and tissue regeneration. In the past I have used Rosehip and Rose oil in a homemade “scar oil” to assist with scar repair after surgery. 

Our skin has what is called an “acid mantle,” a thin layer that naturally fights infection and environmental factors. If the skin is too alkaline or too acidic, the skin’s ability to protect itself decreases. The pH of roses is almost identical to that of human skin, making it perfect for adding hydration and anti-inflammatory properties without causing pH imbalances. And in the form of rose water, it can be quickly and easily applied in the form of a toner. The use of rosewater dates back to early Egypt, when Cleopatra used it in her skincare regime.


Wikipedia. (2021). Rose oil. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2022].

Boskabady, M.H., Shafei, M.N., Saberi, Z. and Amini, S. (2011). Pharmacological effects of rosa damascena. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences, [online] 14(4), pp.295–307. Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2022].

‌Kamal Patel (2018). Rose Essential Oil Supplement – Science-based Review on Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2022].

Healthline. (2017). Rose Water: 10 Benefits and How to Use. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2022].

‌Beauty, H.D. (n.d.). The Beautiful Benefits of Roses for Skin. [online] Herbal Dynamics Beauty. Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2022].

‌NDTV Food. (n.d.). 10 Rose Water Benefits: From Antioxidants To Anti-Aging. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 16 Mar. 2022]. (n.d.). Rose Chemistry – Color & Scent :: ChemViews Magazine :: ChemistryViews. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2022].