Hydroxyacetophenone at a glance

  • Synthetic antioxidant and humectant
  • Helps boost preservative systems in many types of formulas
  • Noted for its soothing ability
  • Considered safe as used in cosmetics (final report pending)

Hydroxyacetophenone description

Hydroxyacetophenone is a synthetic antioxidant and skin-conditioning ingredient. The specific antioxidant compound is actually known as p-hydroxyacetophenone, a phenolic antioxidant capable of neutralising several different types of free radicals. Its secondary benefit is boosting the preservation system in cosmetics. This is advantageous because it allows cosmetic chemists to use a lower amount of preservatives (such as phenoxyethanol) without losing efficacy but with the benefit of reducing the risk of an allergic reaction. Hydroxyacetophenone also has soothing ability because it can inhibit an enzyme (known as COX-2) in skin's surface that can lead to signs of irritation.

Hydroxyacetophenone references

  • Journal of Oleo Science, February 2019, pages 183-191
  • Applied Environmental Microbiology, June 2018, ePublication
  • Journal of Biosciences, May-June 2004, pages 345-353
  • Scientific Reports, April 2021, pages 1–7

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated