Dr. Danielpour here!
Today I’m going to let you in on a European beauty secret…and I promise you, it’s one that you won’t read about in any fashion magazine.
You see, everyone has something that they’re passionate about, right?
For me, it’s my work. I don’t just stay on top of the latest trends in skincare and cosmetic surgery…I make it a point to stay ahead.
Now, this often requires venturing far from home—but fortunately, I love to travel.
In fact, I was just reviewing some notes from my trip to Bulgaria last month. I went there to learn more about a powerful, all-natural beauty aid that’s very popular in that part of the world…
And what I discovered was definitely worth the 13-hour flight!
A couple months ago, I came across an article in a travel magazine about the Rose Valley—a region in central Bulgaria, with a world-famous rose-growing industry.
The photographs of rolling rose fields were stunning, but my interest really piqued when I read that 85% of the world’s rose oil comes from there—and that it’s considered to be the highest-quality rose oil you can find.
Now, rose oil has many different uses, but it is perhaps best known for its wealth of skin benefits. So, naturally I wanted to explore this rose-growing culture first-hand—and booked a five-day trip to Bulgaria before I even finished the article!
Arriving in a Beautiful Land
Fast-forward a month or so and after a lengthy flight and two layovers, I touched down in the capital city of Sofia around 6am.
I took a bus to my destination, which was about 4 hours away from the airport.
Sure enough, the Rose Valley was every bit as beautiful as it looked in pictures. Rolling hills, green pastures, a mountainous backdrop, and of course, sprawling fields of blooming roses.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to sightsee. I had my first meeting scheduled that afternoon with Pavel, a local rose-grower, whose family had been in the rose industry for generations.
An Introduction to Bulgarian Roses
I’d only corresponded with Pavel via email and was admittedly a little nervous to meet him in person. I guess I pictured a surly, 7ft tall, Eastern European farmer with little interest in giving some plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills a particularly warm welcome—but how wrong I was.
Pavel and I hit it off right away!
The first thing he did was take me to check out his rose fields, where he explained that what I’m looking at are Damask roses.
Damask is a rose species that only thrives in a few parts of the world, but its petals contain more moisture-rich oil than any other variety—which is what makes Bulgarian rose oil more potent and aromatic than any other.
Indeed, I could feel just how succulent these roses were just by touching them.
For the next four days, Pavel kind of took me under his wing.
He introduced me to other growers, showed me around town, and gave me a rundown of all the locally-made goods that rose oil is used in—the majority of which turned out to be skincare products and cosmetics.
Rose Oil: Your Moisturizer’s Right Hand Man
Now, I mentioned that Pavel was a great guy. He was funny, friendly, hospitable, and spoke great English, but what really impressed me was that Pavel—a 6th generation farmer—seemed to know more about skincare than some of my colleagues in the skincare industry.
He told me about the many ways rose oil can drastically improve one’s complexion when applied directly to the skin—all of which I later fact-checked to be completely accurate and even confirmed by hard clinical research.
For one, it has powerful antibacterial properties and, in Bulgaria, is commonly used to treat blemishes, acne, and rosacea. But I was even more excited to learn that rose oil is actually proven to increase the skin’s permeability.
This means that it allows skin to better absorb and retain moisture…as well as all the active ingredients in your favorite anti-aging products!
That’s a major, major advantage—and one you can’t get from most other natural extracts that I’ve studied.
TIP: Add a few drops of rose oil to your Beverly Hills MD serum or moisturizer before applying, to unleash the formula’s full anti-aging potential.
Youth. Beauty. Rosewater
During my short trip, I was also introduced to rosewater, when Pavel’s wife, Ada, was making a homemade batch in the kitchen one evening (it’s actually very easy to do, if you’re looking for a DIY project).
Ada said that rosewater has many of the same benefits as rose oil—but because it’s lighter, rose water can be used more liberally and is wildly popular among Bulgarian women.
It makes a great toner or an ultra-hydrating facial spray to cool off with, she told me.
TIP: Instead of washing your face with soap in the morning (which strips your skin of the vital wrinkle-fighting, natural oils it produces while you sleep), simply run a rosewater-soaked cotton ball over your entire face and neck and let it set for 2-5 minutes. Then apply your serum, moisturizer, and make-up as usual.
When I did some further research later on, I learned that rosewater actually has a few more skin-saving benefits.
It’s rich in antioxidants, which strengthen and, to my surprise, actually repair skin cells. Rose water is even believed to reduce the appearance of scars.
No wonder Ada looked so young!
I really wish I’d had more time to spend in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley region. My new friends even tried convincing me to stay through the first week of June—when the Rose Valley’s annual rose festival takes place. And they almost succeeded, actually…
But duty called and I reluctantly boarded my flight back to California.
Of course, I wasn’t going home empty-handed. Just as I’d hoped, exploring the rose oil inspired many new ideas, and I picked up some incredible tips to share with my clients!
The Bigger Picture
Rose extracts can definitely enhance the benefits of the skincare products you currently use, as well as amplify your skin’s natural radiance…
However, as a professional, I recommend using them in combination with clinically developed anti-aging formulas, and not as a substitute for them. Especially if your goal is to reverse the signs of aging.
That said, I do hope you’ll now look at rose oil and rosewater in a new light. And I do recommend turning to this simple, natural remedy the next time you want to give your complexion a “Bulgarian beauty boost”!
TIP: If you find that adding a few drops of rose oil to your daytime moisturizer makes the formula feel a little too greasy (you may or may not, depending on how oily your skin normally is), you should still pair it with your night cream.
My clients have been reporting that rose oil gels particularly well with our BHMD Lift + Firm Sculpting Cream—which is a powerful, fast-acting formula even on its own.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian rose oil and rosewater can both easily be purchased online and in some European grocery stores…so international travel is not required!
I look forward sharing more useful tips from far-away places with you in the future. There is so much we can learn about beauty from other cultures, and it’s a real pleasure to reminisce about my travels with you.
Do you have any memorable travel stories or exotic skincare secrets? I’d love to hear about them!
All the best,
Payman Danielpour, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group
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