How Fragrance makes Acne Worse

LavenderWhether it is cleansing balms or moisturizers, there are so many products that claim to get rid of acne. But often, they are loaded with something that makes acne much worse – fragrance.

Whether it’s natural or synthetic, fragrance makes acne worse.

So, why do highly fragranced products make acne worse?

It’s all about inflammation. Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder. So, the more your skin is inflamed, the more likely you are to breakout, and longer it will take for breakouts to heal.

Inflammation is usually caused by external factors, like irritation. Unfortunately, even though fragrance is commonly used in skincare products, it has little, to no skin benefits, but it does cause irritation. And, this irritation leads to inflammation.

Irritation and Inflammation

Whether it’s synthetic, like perfume, or natural, like fragrant plant extracts or essential oils, fragrant ingredients impart their scent through volatile compounds. When applied to your skin, these volatile compounds react, causing irritation.

You might not see any typical signs of irritation, like burning or redness, on the surface of your skin, but irritation is still occurring below.

So how does Inflammation make Acne Worse? 

– Inflammation stimulates oil production in the pores, making your skin oilier. This can lead to enlarged pores and increases the likelihood of clogged pores, blackheads and breakouts.

– Fragranced products make skin look much redder, making breakouts look worse. It also makes red marks more noticeable, which is not ideal if you have a lot of acne scarring.

– When your skin is irritated, its ability to heal itself is lessened, meaning breakouts take much longer to heal.

– Irritation causes damage to your skin’s natural moisture barrier. When this barrier is compromised, your skin is more prone to infection, and breakouts.

How can you Avoid Fragrance?

Even though it doesn’t really have any skin benefits, fragrance is still included in the majority of skincare products. And it can be difficult to find products that are completely fragrance free.

When fragrance appears as one of the last free ingredients in the list, then it won’t cause much of an issue. This is because ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance by weight.

So, if a product lists dimethicone as the first ingredient, then this is the most prevalent ingredient in the product. If perfume, for example, is listed as the last ingredient, then this means there’s only a small amount of it in the product.

So, to avoid making your acne worse, only use products that are fragrance free or products where fragrance appears as one of the last ingredients.