Rose water, also known as rose syrup, is a hydrosol portion of the distillate of rose petals and is a by-product of rose oil used in perfume. It can be used in order to flavor food and is also considered to have health benefits by some proponents. Here we will look at whether such claims are founded in science, or whether it is a marketing scam. Roses are sweet, but is rose oil good for you?
Alleged Benefits of Rose Oil
Rose oil is a natural product that is applied to the skin in order to treat a range of different problems. It is known for having soothing, healing and antiseptic properties and contains over 300 different chemical compounds, and some sites claim it can be used to treat serious skin problems such as eczema and rosacea as well as being a natural anti-inflammatory. Of course it also smells pretty good and for this reason it is often used as an after shave for sensitive skin.
The reality of rose oil however is a little less impressive. While it does contain many compounds indeed, many of these compounds are not active, or are not able to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, while others simply don't have any positive effect.
For instance, one compound called citronellol is indeed in rose oil and does have antioxidant effects and geraniol and eugenol does have antibacterial properties. However there are certainly more potent antioxidants out there, while you would be better using an antibacterial cream to help disinfect any wounds. Meanwhile there is no scientific evidence for any antiseptic or anti-inflammatory properties – again you would to better to use standard products. And as for improving skin conditions – rose oil has actually been shown in some cases to be an irritant.
As such you should consider rose oil as a nice smelling perfume that may have some antioxidant/antibacterial properties. However you also shouldn't pay too much for it, as it doesn't deliver on many of its promises.