Stop and smell the roses -- or if you're in the drugstore, stop and smell the rose-scented cleansers. It's no secret that roses smell good to most people. They are one of the most celebrated and easily recognizable flowers in the world. We give them to loved ones as a sign of our affection, and we plant them in our gardens to bring fragrance, color and beauty to our yards. It's no wonder, then, that we try to bottle their scent in an effort to make ourselves smell more beautiful as well. It took years to develop a method for capturing a rose's scent, but by using the Damask rose and steam distillation, it is possible [source: Britannica].
You'd probably be surprised to find out that it takes about 4.4 short tons (4 metric tons) of flowers to produce just over 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of rose oil -- and there's only one month out of the entire year when roses can be picked in the early morning as needed for the distillation process. For those reasons, it is one of the most expensive essential oils around [source: China Daily]. It commonly is used in skin cleansers to give them a rose-like scent, and it's also used in perfumes, makeup and other products, despite its high price tag.
Aside from giving cleansers a pleasant aroma, rose oil has some additional benefits. It's good for soothing irritated skin and moisturizing dry skin as well [source: China Daily]. It's also credited with smoothing wrinkles. Some people even believe that rose oil can relieve menstrual problems in women and treat impotence in men. It has been trusted by some to relieve headaches and help with depression, too [source: Rose]. As a result, rose oil is often used in aromatherapy despite a lack of hard evidence to support the claims that such use has any benefit.
Check out the links on the next page for even more information regarding skin care ingredients and techniques.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Encyclopedia Britannica. "Attar of Roses." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. (Accessed 9/30/09)http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9011168
- China Daily. "A rose by any other name." August 21, 2009. (Accessed 09/07/2009)http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2009-08/21/content_8597864.htm
- Jensen, Bo M.Sc. "A small guide to Nature's fragrances - Rose." Bojensen. 2009. (Accessed 09/07/2009)http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOilsEng/EssentialOils02/EssentialOils02.htm
- Rose, Jeanne & John Hulburd. "The aromatherapy book: applications & inhalations." Google Books. 1992. (Accessed 09/07/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=SWLB89rIw5AC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=rose+oil&source=bl&ots=x8dhDhoy7I&sig=PSyOYPr6KV9XRPS1kAhNBbDYsbE&hl=en&ei=W9amSqqNGImwsgO7-6DFBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#v=onepage&q=rose%20oil&f=false