Rose water is a liquid made by steeping rose petals in water or distilling rose petals with steam. It’s been used for centuries in the Middle East for a variety of beauty and health applications.

Rose water has five properties that support its topical use in the treatment of acne:

Learn more about these properties and why rose water can be beneficial for acne and other skin conditions.

The anti-inflammatory properties of rose water can help reduce skin redness, prevent additional swelling, and soothe the discomfort of acne.

According to research from 2011, rose water is rich in vitamin C and phenolics, making it a natural, anti-inflammatory option for inflamed acne.

The research also concluded that the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of rosewater can help heal cuts, burns, and scars more rapidly.

According to another 2011 study, rose water’s anti-inflammatory properties may also help ease the irritation of rosacea. Rosacea is a common skin condition characterized by facial redness, visible blood vessels, and red bumps that are often filled with pus.

Astringents are commonly used to cleanse skin, dry out oil, and tighten pores. Rose water, which is rich in tannins, can have a tightening effect on skin. It’s also not as drying for the skin as other alcohol-based astringents.

A note about astringents

For some people with acne, astringents can irritate skin and contribute to breakouts. Talk to a dermatologist before using any type of astringent on your skin.

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Rose water’s antiseptic properties can prevent and treat infections. A 2010 study confirmed the analgesic and antiseptic properties of rose water.

Another 2010 study concluded that rose oil is a highly effective antibacterial, killing Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium linked to acne.

According to a 2018 study, your skin has a pH of 4.1 to 5.8. Rose water’s pH is typically 4.0 to 4.5.

A 2018 study published in the journal Current Problems in Dermatology suggests using skin care products with a pH level of 4.0 to 5.0, as it can “minimize skin irritation and intolerance.”

A 2016 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology indicated that free radicals can cause skin inflammation, resulting in blocked pores and pimples.

Topical antioxidants, like rose water, can limit free radical oxidation. A 2011 study confirmed rose water’s antioxidant properties.

Remove excess oils

Moisten a soft cotton ball or cotton pad in chilled rose water and dab it gently on clean skin. It can help remove extra oil and dirt that remains on your skin after cleansing.

Regularly toning your skin with rose water can help prevent the formation of acne caused by clogged pores. Plus, rose water is less drying on your skin than alcohol- or chemical-based skin toners.

Hydrate and restore pH balance

Fill a small spray bottle with rose water and use it to spritz your face. This can help hydrate your skin and restore its natural pH balance. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator for added refreshment.

Soothe tired eyes and reduce swelling

Soak two cotton pads in chilled rose water and place them gently on your eyelids. Leave them on for 5 minutes to soothe tired, puffy eyes.

If you have acne, there are many reasons to consider adding rose water to your skin care routine, including its properties as an:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • astringent
  • antioxidant

Rose water also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and will help balance skin pH.

As you should with any change to your skin care regime, talk to a dermatologist to get their opinion on rose water and how to best use it for your particular skin type.