Can Perfume Cause Acne or Allergies?

There are over 100 allergens in perfume that can cause acne. This skin issue is prevalent in people with known previous conditions such as allergies or dermatitis. Both aroma chemicals and botanical cologne ingredients can cause acne.

One of the most problematic skin conditions is acne. Some people experience fragrance acne on their face, neck, or other body parts where they spray perfume. This doesn’t mean that everybody wearing perfume is developing breakouts, it just means perfume can cause acne in some cases.

Allergens are the main cause of perfume acne and skin allergies

Perfume brands aren’t required to list all of their ingredients on their products. Even if they did, it’s not a given they could cause skin rashes, allergies, or breakouts for sure.

There are over 2.5000 perfume ingredients used today. Over 100 of these are known allergens.

  • Linalool
  • Limonene
  • Eugenol
  • Citronellol

These are just a few of the ingredients that can cause skin breakouts.

What science says about acne from perfume?

Excess skin oil or sebum, bacteria, and skin inflammation can cause acne. These known causes have then been studied in the context of perfume and acne.

One study shows that skin allergies from perfume are prevalent in women. But not all women are subject to this skin condition. It’s only women with facial eczema or hand eczema that are susceptible to skin acne caused by fragrances.

If you have eczema but you love fragrances, you need to stop spraying your scent directly on your skin. This repetitive process can worsen your eczema or skin irritation. Alternatively, you can spray perfume on clothing or you can take breaks from wearing perfume altogether.

Allergy to fragrance is a big cause of concern. It’s the biggest issue when using fragrances, makeup, or cosmetic products in general.

Alcohol in perfume can cause breakouts

Alcohol can exacerbate known skin conditions which include acne. You want to stay away from using perfume if you know that you have previous issues with your acne and especially if you have a proven medical skin condition.

Fragrance can also be known to clog pores. Clogged pores represent one of the main causes of concern when it comes to acne. Fragrance comes with essential oils which can be responsible for clogging pores.

As with all cosmetics, you should wash the areas where you apply perfume as often as possible. This can eliminate the risk of clogged pores.

All news isn’t bad if you have acne from perfume, especially from clogged pores. You can test this out by stopping your perfume spraying altogether. After a few weeks, your skin should clear of acne which can prove your perfume was causing it. If your skin still suffers from acne, you might have other acne-causing issues and you should contact a dermatologist just to be safe.

A very big cause of concern comes with the essential oils you make at home. If you make perfume at home, you should always learn to dilute them to avoid acne and skin allergies.

All essential oils in perfume should be diluted. Evne if they count as natural ingredients, they can still irritate the skin.

When perfume can decrease acne level

While not proven by science, the idea that perfume can reduce skin acne is more popular than you might believe. Some people apply fragrance on the skin where they have acne only for it to disappear in a few days. Is this true and should you do it?

The high alcohol level perfumes can be the main reason why the sprayed skin area shows reduced acne. Acne is mainly caused by bacteria and alcohol kills bacteria. In these cases, perfume can kill acne, but it’s highly unlikely for this to work as a healthy skin routine.

There are multiple known allergens in perfume, alongside alcohol. All of them have a role and when put together, they can cause other skin conditions such as irritation.

Alcohol also tends to dry the skin quickly. If you reapply it on the same spot, you might encounter other skin issues such as dry skin patches.


Cologne can cause acne in people with known sensitivity to its ingredients. Both synthetic and natural cologne ingredients can cause acne according to science. Your skin can even suffer from acne on the neck area where most people spray cologne. Some fragrance ingredients can also cause skin allergies in the form of redness and itchiness.

However, even research shows healthy people should not suffer from acne or other skin conditions after applying cologne. To avoid long-term skin issues, you should spray the cologne on different parts of your skin or even stop wearing cologne from time to time. A better option for those with sensitive skin is to only apply perfume on clothing.