What do you mean Alcohol?

Alcohol in skincare

In general, this ingredient gives us a thrill when we see it on the back of our skincare products, but there are so many kinds of alcohol out there and the name has been demonized because of other purposes. Certain components of a moisturizer or even a cleanser are good alcohols, of course, we all want to have at least a quick idea of what is the most common "good" and "bad" ones and be able to get safer goods when we shop.

Unsafe Alcohols or Denatured Alcohols

They are the ones that will weaken your skin barrier and leave a dry and tight feeling (this is your skin being dehydrated even if you have oily skin).

Our skin barrier role is to keep moisture and elasticity to protect and support the health of our skin. It is the shield that surrounds your skin to defend against all kinds of outside threats: bacteria, UV rays, and all kinds of environmental stressors, that's why we want to keep a balanced skin barrier.

The main alcohols that would assault it to slowly damage it and increase symptoms of aging are denatured alcohols, and you can spot them in the ingredients list as:

  • Ethanol

  • Isopropyl Alcohol

  • Alcohol Denat

  • Benzyl Alcohol

  • Ethyl Alcohol

  • Methanol

  • SD Alcohol

Safe Alcohols or Fatty Alcohols

What we call Fatty alcohols are derived from natural ingredients like coconuts and nuts. They have beneficial effects and are used to lock in moisture and help to boost your skin barrier, they also help to mix oil and water (this is an emulsifier).

It is safe for all skin types but of course, this might not be always the case for sensitive skin so take care and double-check which products are good to use for you, some have much less weight of this alcohol.

  • Cetyl alcohol: origin from coconut oil

  • Stearyl alcohol: origin from vegetable oil

  • Cetearyl alcohol: made from the 2 above

  • Myristyl alcohol: origin from coconut oil, palm kernel, or nutmeg

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but these are the most common alcohols that you can easily spot when you will buy your next product.

The references I used for this post are gold: from the brands, Paula's choice, and 100% pure, find below the links for deeper info:

Feel free to chat with me if you want more information.

Take care 😊

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