3 Skincare Ingredients That Make Acne Scars Worse, Doctors Say

No one wants to deal with acne; this can be a serious confidence killer. But pimples aren’t just frustrating when they’re fresh. Even after a rash disappears, you may still have unsightly scars that follow the healing process from inflammation of the skin. Luckily, there are plenty of natural products and remedies you can use specifically to target discoloration and the scars left by pimples and rashes. However, there is too some skin care ingredients that you should avoid as they can make these marks worse.

For more on the worst products to avoid at all costs if you’re trying to reduce the appearance of acne scars, we spoke to Dr. Faith Alex, MARYLAND. Dr. Alex highlighted 3 ingredients in particular to look out for when choosing skincare products: sulfates, dioxane, and synthetic fragrances. Find out why below!

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If you want your acne scars and discoloration to improve, the last thing you need is a skincare product that’s going to dry out your complexion. Unfortunately, Dr. Alex says sulfates are a common ingredient that does just that. “Found in many skincare products, sulfates tend to be drying and can exacerbate acne and discoloration,” she notes. To make matters worse, she says, sulfates “can also contribute to free radical damage,” which can not only make dark spots like acne scars worse, but can also lead to unwanted signs of aging like fine lines and sagging skin. Ouch! You’ll want to keep an eye out for sulfates in your face wash and body wash because that’s where they’re usually found.



When scanning your face wash for unwanted ingredients, Dr. Alex says there’s another one you’ll want to avoid: dioxane. She says this compound is typically “used as a stabilizer in many soaps and skin care products” and unfortunately can cause allergic reactions in many people. However, it’s not just an allergy you need to worry about. “[Dioxane] is also a known carcinogen that can contribute to free radical damage,” points out Dr. Alex, who as we now know is terrible for your skin, especially when it comes to dark spots and acne scars. .

Synthetic perfume

Although there’s no denying that a good scent can really make a skincare product all the more enjoyable to use. However, Dr. Alex says synthetic fragrances can do real damage to your skin. “Fragrance is a common ingredient that can cause your acne breakouts or make your acne scars worse,” she warns. Indeed, most synthetic fragrances are made up of chemical compounds that “have not been tested for safety or effectiveness on the skin.” And it’s safe to say that if an ingredient hasn’t been tested for safety, you don’t want to put it anywhere near your skin tone. Fortunately, synthetic fragrances are less common in skincare products; you’re more likely to find them in your makeup, but keep an eye out nonetheless. Dr. Alex explains that “they are commonly used in cosmetics because they are inexpensive to produce and have a strong scent that lingers on the skin,” but it certainly isn’t worth the inconvenience!

So what works when it comes to preventing and healing acne scars? Dr. Alex says your best bet is to prevent acne as much as possible by regularly cleansing your face and following a skin care routine specific to acne-prone skin. If you want to fade acne scars naturally, she offers a few remedies, such as lemon, sandalwood powder, turmeric, and cucumber. Noted!

Donovan B. Sanford