lady washing her face | alcohol in skin care

lady washing her face | alcohol in skin care

You will find alcohol in skin care products being sold on the market today. But, is alcohol even beneficial for the skin?


Can You Use Alcohol in Skin Care?

Alcohol is widely known as a cleansing or disinfecting agent, but it’s not commonly associated with skin care. Many skin care products, though, use alcohol as a major ingredient. In fact, you can find it in a lot of moisturizers, creams, and lotions.

What a lot of people don’t know is that alcohol can be very drying to the skin. If someone with dry skin uses lotion that contains the wrong kind of alcohol, it can potentially dry out the skin even more and make it more vulnerable to irritation. Dryness can even spiral so bad that your skin will start to itch, flake, or crack.

If alcohol can be harmful to the skin, then why is it used in so many skin care products? Simple – manufacturers include alcohol in their formula to make the product feel lighter and absorb better. Some use it as a sort of preservative.

Alcohol comes in many forms and names. Below, you will find the types of alcohol used in cosmetics and skin care.


Ethyl Alcohol

Also known as grain alcohol, you will find this type of alcohol on the list of ingredients of many cosmetic products. Sometimes, companies will use the term “denatured alcohol” to cut down on their tax requirement.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Often referred to as simply rubbing alcohol, companies use isopropyl alcohol in skin care, hair, and nail care products. It acts as a solvent and antifoaming agent.

Benzyl Alcohol

Benzyl alcohol is a naturally occurring type of alcohol found in fruits and teas. Companies often use it as an ingredient to make cosmetics, hair products, soaps, and cleansers.

Methyl Alcohol or Methanol

This type of alcohol will sometimes appear on the backs of bath products. Like ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol is a denatured alcohol.

Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl, or Lanolin Alcohol

Cetyl, cetearyl, stearyl, and lanolin alcohol are fatty alcohols used in products such as eye makeup, foundation, and hair conditioner. You will also find them in cleaners and moisturizers.


The Pros and Cons of Using Alcohol in Skin Care

Alcohol is good for getting rid of oil buildup as well as removing grease or dirt from the skin, particularly the face. As such, you will find a lot of cleansers and toners with alcohol on their list of ingredients. But, while people with oily skin may benefit from using an alcohol-based skin care product, the same can’t be said for those with dry or sensitive skin.

People with dry skin know how irritating some ingredients can be, and alcohol is one of them. Alcohol is often a drying agent that causes the skin to expel more moisture and oil. As previously explained, dry skin can turn so bad that it may start to crack and itch.

Furthermore, people who suffer from skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis should best stay away from alcohol-based skin care products. The ingredient will likely worsen their conditions. People with skin allergies may also find themselves with drier skin after using a skin care product with alcohol.


What Types of Alcohol Are Good for the Skin?

Of course, not all types of alcohol are bad. There are some fatty alcohols like cetyl and cetearyl alcohol. But, is cetyl alcohol good for skin care?

Both cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol in skin care is safe and nontoxic. They also don’t dry out or irritate the skin. That means you can use products with these types of alcohol and not worry about negative effects.


Is Benzyl Alcohol Bad for Skin Health?

While cetearyl and cetyl alcohol are okay to use, ethyl, methyl, isopropyl, and benzyl are not always ideal. Again, it all depends on your skin type. Using ethyl, methyl, isopropyl, or benzyl alcohol in skincare should be avoided if you have dry or sensitive skin as these types can worsen your condition.


Alcohol in Moisturizers and Lotions

As alcohol is an ingredient that can dry out the skin, it is best to look for lotions and moisturizers that don’t contain it. In particular, an alcohol-free lotion candle with all-natural ingredients is one way to keep your skin looking and feeling great.

Lotion candles work really well for dry skin because they come packed with nutrient-rich ingredients. They also don’t use parabens, paraffin, or beeswax. Additionally, because you apply lotion candles onto your skin warm, your pores absorb the product better. After about a minute, you won’t even feel any greasy residue on your skin.


The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, those who want to have hydrated skin should stay away from using alcohol in skin care routines. It may be great as an ingredient for toners and cleansers, but make sure to top it off with an alcohol-free lotion candle to lock in the moisture.