Everything's Coming Up Roses This Spring — In Skin Care, That Is

PTRPhoto: Courtesy of Peter Thomas Roth.
As people with extraordinarily elaborate skin-care routines, we pride ourselves on using products with the most effective ingredients around. Of course, this involves actually knowing what those ingredients are. And, boy, are there a lot of ingredients out there. In Know Your Ingredients, our new ongoing series, we'll be decoding the many oils, acids, extracts, and more that appear in our favorite products.
We're calling it: Rose is the unofficial skin-care ingredient of spring 2014. We've been seeing it pop up in some of our favorite brands' most recent launches for the past few months over and over again. But, believe it or not, this powerhouse ingredient does more than just provide a seriously gorgeous scent. It's actually quite the little overachiever when it comes to our faces.
"Rose petals, rose buds, and rose-hip seed oil date back about 5,000 years," dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer says. "People were first attracted to them, probably, because of the smell. But, rose is actually an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic, and it has anti-aging properties."
It's those anti-aging properties that drew Peter Thomas Roth, head of his eponymous skin-care line, to base his latest spring selection around the rose — actually, their stem cells. "Roses have stem cells just like humans," Roth explains. "We actually use technology to replicate them, and they are great as an anti-aging product."
And, he doesn't just rely on one breed of rose to create his concoction. Roth uses stem cells from five roses (like desert rose, which helps promote surface cell regeneration, and white rose, a humectant), and rose extracts (like rose-hip seed, for balancing and hydrating, and canina, which is rich in vitamins A and C). Blend them together with some cooling gel, and you've got an anti-aging mask with some serious kick — and a gorgeous scent to boot.
But, before you start snatching every rose product you can get your paws on off the shelf, heed this warning: Lancer stresses the fact that rose can be a little irritating, especially when it's in its essential oil form. "When rose petals and rose buds are broken down during the distillation process, there's a high concentration of essential oil," he explains. "So you have more of the aromatic chemistry that leads to a higher potential for irritation." Like every product you introduce into your regimen, spot test anything rosy before you go full-force.
So, there you have it: Rose is more than just a pretty face smell. Whether you're using it in a spritz as a hydrator or slathering it on as a mask, this is one flower with some serious spunk.
Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask, $45, available at Peter Thomas Roth.

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