Rosa Damascena Flower Oil

Also known as Damask rose oil, it is one of the most precious and expensive essential oils in the world obtained from the petals of the Damask rose. It is used in skincare as a luxurious fragrance.
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Rosa Damascena Flower Oil

Overview

Rosa damascena flower oil, or Damask rose oil, is an essential oil used as a precious and luxurious fragrance in skincare.

It is obtained from the petals of the Damask rose (Rosa damascena), which is the most commonly cultivated species of rose when it comes to the production of essential oils.

The Damask rose is a cross-breed between the Gallic and Musk rose, also two very fragrant species. Bulgaria is one of the main producents of Damask rose oil. It is a country where rose-scented cosmetics and rose-flavored sweets have a longstanding tradition, and entire regions have even been named after roses in one way or another.

It is one of the most precious and most expensive essential oils because it takes a large number of rose petals to produce. The essential oil can either be produced by water distillation (also called "rose otto" or "rose attar"), or by solvent extraction, which produces a super-concentrated, dark-colored, fragrant extract called "rose absolute".

Rose absolute is said to better represent the scent of a fresh rose, because, during the water distillation process, some scented compounds are dissolved in the water and lost from the rose attar. Both are always used diluted. This is especially true for rose absolute because if you smell the vial directly, it wouldn't smell like roses at all - your sense of smell would be overloaded.

Damask rose oil, like all other essential oils, is comprised of hundreds of separate compounds which create the final scent when combined in one liquid. The compounds responsible for the characteristic “rosy” scent are beta-damascenone, beta-damascone, and beta-ionone, which are only present in tiny amounts but have the most powerful aroma out of all the other components.

The majority of the essential oil is comprised of phenylethanol, citronellol, and geraniol, which also have floral, rosy, and sometimes citrus-like scents. Some of these lovely-smelling compounds can also have antioxidant activity.

Science

1
Nayebi, N., Khalili, N., Kamalinejad, M., & Emtiazy, M. (2017). A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of Rosa damascena Mill. with an overview on its phytopharmacological properties. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 34, 129–140.
2
Mileva, M., Ilieva, Y., Jovtchev, G., Gateva, S., Zaharieva, M. M., Georgieva, A., Dimitrova, L., Dobreva, A., Angelova, T., Vilhelmova-Ilieva, N., Valcheva, V., & Najdenski, H. (2021). Rose Flowers-A Delicate Perfume or a Natural Healer?. Biomolecules, 11(1), 127. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom11010127