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Free Radicals vs The Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Rose

Free Radicals, Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Stress

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage body cells including skin cells. Under normal circumstances, free radicals are by products of metabolism in the body. However, external free radicals can enter your body through various paths including the air you breathe, foods (especially fried foods), smoking and direct contact with your skin.

When the free radicals in the body reacted with oxygen, they create Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). When there are too many Reactive Oxygen Species in the body, they trigger Oxidative Stress and cause damage to the components of cell including proteins, lipids and DNA. Too many damaged cells in the body is the leading cause of various diseases including cancers, heart diseases and premature ageing.

The Role of Antioxidant in Neutralising Free Radicals

Antioxidant is a substance that helps prevent oxidation. For example, the use of vitamin E, one of the powerful antioxidant, to prolong the shelf life of plant oils.

In the body and in the skin, antioxidant has an important role in neutralising free radicals. The presence of antioxidant in the body and skin helps prevent the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). By lowering the amount of Reactive Oxygen Species in the body and skin, antioxidant helps reduce the risk of Oxidative Stress. Hence, it helps prevent and reduce damage to cells.

The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Rose

A thorny flowering plant with beautiful, colourful blossoms from white, yellow to red, Rose is arguably the most popular flowering plant. There are about 200 species and more than 18,000 cultivars of roses, with Rosa Damascena regarded as the 'crème de la crème' of all roses.

Rose has been used in the ancient Chinese, Persians, Romans and Greeks for various treatments such as abdominal and chest pain, strengthening the heart, menstrual bleeding, digestive problems, depression, nervous stress and tension.

In Traditional Western Medicine, Rose oil is used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Rose extract contains more than 300 chemical compounds such as Citronellol, Geraniol, Nerol, Farnesol, Eugenol, to name a few. Up to 3,000 kgs of rose petals are needed to produce 1 kg extract, therefore Rose extract is quite expensive.

Rosa Damascena (Rose)

In the modern medicine, many studies highlighted the health benefits of Rose extract:

  • for the treatment of depression and anxiety
  • to ease the pain
  • for the treatment of people with dementia and alzheimer
  • to ease coughs 
  • for the treatment of people with diabetes
  • as a potential anti-HIV drug

Antioxidants in Rose and Their Skin Therapeutic Properties

Scientists revealed that Rose extract contains powerful antioxidants like polyphenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Unlike the isolated antioxidants found in supplements, phyto-antioxidants found in various parts of plants are working hand-in-hand, supporting each others. Numerous studies showed that antioxidants in whole foods are more effective than isolated antioxidants found in supplements.

There are more than 300 phytochemicals found in Rose extract, many of those are phyto-antioxidants. These phyto-antioxidants help protect skin from free radicals and environmental stress.

Rose extract is one of my favourite ingredients to help prevent the premature appearance of signs of ageing and soothe sensitive, environmentally-stressed skin. Compared to L-ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C; Rose extract provides longer-lasting antioxidant skin benefits. Rose extract is not prone to rapid oxidation upon a contact with water.

The Cosmetic Uses of Rose Extract

Rose extract has been known for its excellent hydrating and soothing properties. It is suitable for all skin types, especially for mature or premature ageing and sensitive skin. The soothing aroma of Rose helps calm the mind and reduce stress.

Rose extract is one of the key ingredients in the award-winning Rose & Cacay Hydrating Serum Cream. This two-in-one serum and moisturiser is suitable for all skin types, women and men, all year round. At PariQu, we use rose extract from Bulgaria. Bulgaria is known for its best climate and soil to grow Rose Damascena, a species of Rose which is regarded as the queen of all flowers.

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Scientific sources: Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011: 131042; Protective Effects of Rosa damascena and Its Active Constituent on Aβ(25-35)-Induced Neuritic Atrophy. Awale S, Tohda C, Tezuka Y, Miyazaki M, Kadota S.; Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 2011 Jul-Aug; 14(4): 295–307, Pharmacological Effects of Rosa Damascena. Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, Mohammad Naser Shafei, Zahra Saberi, Somayeh Amini.; Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2006;5:171–174: CNS Depressant Effect of the Crude Ethanolic Extract of the Flowering Tops of Rosa Damascena. Nyeem MAB, Alam MA, Awal MA, Mostofa M, Uddin M, Islam SJN, et al.; Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 1996 Dec 4; 229(1):73-9, The anti-HIV activity and mechanisms of action of pure compounds isolated from Rosa damascena. Mahmood N, Piacente S, Pizza C, Burke A, Khan AI, Hay AJ.


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