Some people use rose water as a moisturizer, since its natural oil may help trap water in the skin.

©iStockphoto.com/Jacob Wackerhausen

Humans' love affair with roses -- for beauty and for health purposes -- has a long history. Rose water has made its way into cosmetics and medicine for many centuries [source: Manus]. Today, beauty experts still consider rose water a wonderfully gentle, natural ingredient with fabulous skin-enhancing benefits.

Rose water is a byproduct of steam distillation, the process that's used to isolate the plant's essential oil. Some of your beauty products probably contain rose water, but you might want to consider adding a bottle of this ingredient in its pure form to your bathroom inventory, too.

One of the main benefits of rose water is that it acts as an anti-inflammatory, soothing irritated skin [source: Scirrotto]. Some people also use roses as a rich source of antioxidants, which can help strengthen skin cells and regenerate skin tissue [source: Garwood-Jones]. These properties, proponents believe, make rose water particularly beneficial to people with sensitive skin.

Those with dry skin sometimes use rose water as a moisturizer. The idea behind this is that sugars found in rose petals add to rose water's soothing effect, and its natural oils trap moisture in the skin, helping it feel and look smoother [source: Garwood-Jones]. Some experts even believe that rose water can play a role in reducing damage from sun exposure. Too much sun destroys elastin, the fibers that give your skin its ability to stretch. When those fibers break down, they cause your skin to lose firmness and sag [source: WebMD]. There's some evidence that rose water may help decrease damage to the skin's elastin fibers and prevent wrinkles, but researchers are still testing this theory [source: Baumann].

Additionally, and perhaps most obviously, rose water has a pleasant aroma. This lovely perfume and its healing, rejuvenating effects make rose water a potentially valuable addition to your skin care regimen -- whether used on its own or in toners, creams and lotions. For more information on natural products that are good for your skin, follow the links on the next page.