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Rose Geranium Essential Oil: What should you know?

The essential oil of rose geranium is extracted from the plant Pelargonium graveolens. Characterised by its rose-like scent, it is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, its properties for the skin make it an interesting ingredient to use in cosmetics. Discover everything you need to know about rose geranium essential oil.

The essential oil of rose geranium in a nutshell.

Pelargonium graveolens is a species of shrub from the Geraniaceae family. This name originates from the Greek pelargós (πελαργός), which means stork, as the shape of the fruit is similar to the beak of this bird. Native to Southern Africa, several hybridisations have been carried out, producing a great diversity of species: over 600 species are now known worldwide. Some of these are currently used for the production of essential oils. They include the rose geranium, also known as bourbon geranium, as it originates from Réunion.

Theessential oil of rose geranium is obtained through steam distillation of the plant's leaves and stems. It is widely used in the field of perfumery, its fragrant compounds presenting a scent similar to that of a rose. However,it is also used for its skin benefits: it purifies and soothes irritations. These benefits are provided by its unique biochemical composition.

Citronellol (monoterpene)20 - 40 %
Geraniol (Monoterpene)5 - 20 %
Linalool (monoterpene)2 - 15 %
Isomenthone (ketone)2 - 12 %
Menthone (ketone)2 - 8 %
Citronellyl Formate (ester)3 - 12 %
Geranyl Formate (ester)2 - 6 %

What are the benefits of rose geranium essential oil?

Theessential oil of rose geranium can be used on the skin and hair by diluting two to three drops in a tablespoon of neutral vegetable oil. However, it is also found in cosmetic products such as creams, masks, scrubs and shampoos. The recommended concentrations are 1 to 3%. It can also be consumed orally, at a rate of one to two drops in 250 g of food once a day. Its interesting properties are diverse.

  • The essential oil of rose geranium possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties.

    Streptococcus , known to cause skin conditions such as skin erythema. We do not yet know how it is able to exert this activity, studies are underway to identify the mechanisms involved.

    It can also have an impact on the growth of fungi, particularly dermatophytes, which are fungi responsible for the onset of mycoses on the skin and nails. This action is believed to be linked to the geraniol and citronellol found in rose geranium essential oil, which affect the cellular membrane of the fungi.

  • The essential oil of rose geranium soothes skin inflammation.

    The essential oil of rose geranium has anti-inflammatory activity through the reduction of pro-inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins PGE2, PGD2, PGF2α and thromboxane B2. Therefore, its topical application can reduce symptoms associated with inflammation, such as skin thickening and oedema.

  • The essential oil of rose geranium is a good antioxidant.

    Free radicals, produced in response to oxidative stress (tobacco, pollution, UV rays), can affect the fibres of the dermis such as collagen and elastin, thereby accelerating skin ageing by altering the skin's elasticity and complexion. The essential oil of rose geranium, with its ability to stabilise these free radicals through hydrogen transfer, can then prevent their action, and thus prevent premature skin ageing and the appearance of wrinkles for example.

  • The essential oil of rose geranium improves wound healing.

    The topical application of rose geranium essential oil on a lesion can enhance its healing by increasing the migration of collagen to the damaged site and by the increase in cell renewal. Furthermore, its antimicrobial properties may contribute to this effect, helping to limit the risk of infection or reinfection.

  • The essential oil of rose geranium could potentially act on the hair and scalp.

    No scientific study has proven the effects of this essential oil on hair. However, assumptions can be made, considering the previously stated benefits. Indeed, its anti-inflammatory properties may have an impact on scalp irritations, helping to reduce associated redness and itching. Furthermore, its antioxidant capacity could prevent the premature onset of grey hair, a phenomenon linked to the oxidation of hair pigments.

The hazards and precautions for use concerning rose geranium essential oil?

Therose geranium essential oil exhibits a good safety profile. It does not pose any particular issues when used according to recommendations. However, like the vast majority of essential oils, its application can cause skin irritation reactions, associated with the presence of potentially sensitising allergenic compounds, namely citronellol, geraniol, and linalool.

When applying, avoid sensitive areas, such as the eye contour and open wounds. It is also recommended to perform a skin test of the product containing the essential oil by taking a few drops, spreading it in the crook of the elbow or behind the ears, and waiting 24 hours to observe a skin reaction.

Pregnant women beyond their third month of pregnancy, breastfeeding women, and children over three months old can generally use the oil without any particular concerns.

It is advised not to use it orally for patients with diabetes treated by allopathy. Furthermore, there are potential interactions with medications. Indeed, geraniol blocks cytochrome 2B6, an enzyme that plays a role in the metabolism of various drugs, such as antimalarials, painkillers and antitumor drugs. If you are using one or more of these medications, discuss it with your doctor.


  • MAIBACH H.I. & al. Sensitization potential of citronellol. Exogenous Dermatology (2004).

  • MARIN P. D. & al. Chemical composition, antifungal and antioxidant activity of Pelargonium graveolens essential oil. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science (2014).

  • MEKARNIA M. & al. Rose geranium essential oil as a source of new and safe anti-inflammatory drugs. Libyan Journal of Medicine (2014).

  • MARINIER F.C. and TOUBOUL A. Huiles essentielles. Terre vivante (2017).

  • VANTARAKIS A. & al. Evaluation of essential oils and extracts of rose geranium and rose petals as natural preservatives in terms of toxicity, antimicrobial, and antiviral activity. Pathogens (2021).


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