How does our body manage to perceive perfumes? Certainly through the nose, but not only. Although it may seem strange, olfactory receptors are almost everywhere in our body, even in the hair and on the skin! And these receptors can be activated by particular odorous substances with health benefits. For example, a synthetic sandalwood scent has been shown to activate one of these receptors placed on the skin, called OR2AT4, which in turn stimulated wound healing. Well, it seems that even the rose scent is able to activate the olfactory receptors of the skin tissues, promoting regeneration and fighting wrinkles and dark circles! This is what emerges from a scientific study published in the journal Molecules by a team of the universities of Toulouse and Marseille (Duroux et al, Molecules, Aug 2020).
The researchers, in particular, were able to isolate three new olfactory receptors in the skin tissue, OR10A6, OR11H4 and OR2AG2. Not only that, the scientists also observed that a rose extract, obtained from rose water, and a substance contained in it, called 2-phenylethyl alcohol, which is associated with the pleasant floral scent, are able to bind to these receptors by activating them. The next step was to try to understand the effect that the activation of these receptors may have on the skin. To do this, the researchers performed two types of studies. The first took place in the laboratory on skin tissues that had been subjected to a state of stress, measured by evaluating DNA damage and the ability of cells to renew themselves. When the skin tissues under stress were put in contact with the rose extract, all the stress markers were reduced. At this point, the researchers recruited 8 women, all leading a stressful life and with clear signs of fatigue on the face such as wrinkles, bags and dark circles. The study participants were asked to apply a cream containing rose extracts twice a day for about a month. Already after 7 days and even more at the end of the treatment, all women had an attenuation of dark circles and bags under the eyes.
Certainly the study has limitations, in fact the sample analyzed is too small, only 8 women. In any case, however, the research results are really interesting and provide a foundation for that age-old wisdom that sees rose water and its extracts as an anti-fatigue and anti-dark circles remedy.