Esthetician Shares:

What Alcohols Are worse than Better For Your Skin?

Unsafe Alcohols for Skin

The unsafe alcohols in some skin care products are generally simple or denatured alcohols, which are created using petroleum-based ingredients. In other words, not really something you want on your skin or in your bloodstream. These not-so-skin-friendly alcohols include ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and alcohol denat. Some are used as preservatives; some are used to get skin care formulas to the right textures; some are used to help liquid formulas dry quickly on your skin; and still others may be included in toners and cleansers to help reduce excess sebum.

Sure, certain denatured alcohols can have positive, short-term effects for acne sufferers and those with oily complexions. However, they tend to be very harsh and will strip and dry your skin over time. When used repeatedly, these alcohols can also weaken your skin’s natural barrier, making it harder for your skin to retain moisture and elasticity – making your skin more vulnerable to environmental stressors like UV radiation. Repeated use of these alcohols can even cause cell death, which will significantly increase symptoms of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.

While repeated use of denatured alcohols is bad news for your skin, these ingredients are unlikely to have a harmful effect upon your overall health. The EWG ranks denatured alcohols like ethanol and isopropyl alcohol as “low hazard” ingredients, and there is no substantial body of evidence linking topical use of these products with serious concerns like organ toxicity or cancer. These alcohols may be capable of causing breakouts, skin irritation, and wrinkles, but they’re unlikely to pose a more serious hazard.

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Safe Alcohols for Skin

In contrast to denatured alcohols made using petroleum products, fatty alcohols are derived from natural ingredients like coconut and nuts. These fatty alcohols include cetyl alcohol made from coconut oil, and stearyl alcohol which is made from coconut or vegetable oil. Rich in healthy fats, these alcohols are generally used as emulsifiers, to help create a thick, luxurious texture in skin care products.

Due to their high content of fatty acids, fatty alcohols can actually have a positive impact on your skin. Fatty acids have emollient properties, meaning they help to bolster your skin’s defensive barrier, by both locking in moisture and potentially protecting your skin from damage. While fatty acids are safe for use on most skin types, they may not be suitable for sensitive skin.

Like denatured alcohols, fatty alcohols are generally considered safe from an overall health perspective, and tend to receive “low hazard” rankings from the EWG. So when you see ingredients like cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, have no fear!

Another important tip when using alcohols? If you’re using a product that contains alcohol, just be sure it’s a rinse-away product, like a cleanser. The biggest place to avoid alcohols is in things like creams, foundations, primers, and serums.


Anti Aging tips:


Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Healthy diet. Limit Alcohol, smoking and bad foods.

Double cleanse face at night.

Creamy Cleanser


Intensive Age Refining Treatment®: 0.5% pure retinol night

New Clear Face Shield Cool Masks With Eye Glasses- Face Protector. USA Fast S&H! REUSABLE!