Alcohol in Skin Care Products: Understanding the Good and the Bad

May 24, 2017 1 Comment

Alcohol in Skin Care Products: Understanding the Good and the Bad

by Stacy Matthews Branch


It is not hard to become befuddled regarding the use of skin care products containing alcohol. Many people do not know that products can contain different types of alcohols. The term alcohol is a chemical designation. It is not just the commonly known form that we use as “rubbing alcohol” (isopropyl or ethyl alcohol) or the substance in alcoholic beverages (ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol). The various types of alcohol substances used skin care can have beneficial and not-so-beneficial effects.

The nature of the alcohol is only one thing to consider. The amount of a given alcohol that appears in a skin care product and the type of product in question are also important. The simple alcohol ethanol (often listed as just alcohol or SD alcohol) can dry the skin when used alone or when it is present at substantial levels in a skin care product. While the ingredients lists do not state actual amounts and concentrations, they are organized from the most to the least concentrated ingredient. Many simple astringent products contain considerable amounts of ethanol or other simple alcohols that seem to help with oiliness at the beginning of their use but later make the situation worse.

Alcohols such as stearyl alcohol or cetyl alcohol are considered fatty alcohols and are non-drying. These actually have emollient properties (skin soothing and softening). Benzyl alcohol is also found in a number of skin care products. It is an example of an aromatic alcohol and functions mainly to provide fragrance, but it is also a preservative (to increase shelf life) and solvent (to help in the mixing and dissolving of other components in the product). It can cause skin irritation in those most sensitive to it. Choosing a fragrance-free product can help avoid this.

Simple alcohols are used to help the other ingredients penetrate the skin. However, there are good water-based products available to avoid the risk of skin drying often associated with ethanol-containing products. Many of these water-based products use phenoxyethanol as a preservative instead of benzyl alcohol. It is considered less irritating and does not release formaldehyde (a toxic substance) as do some other preservatives. At the end of the day, you will have to try a product to see if it works for you.

1 Response

Joshua Lane
Joshua Lane

July 21, 2017

Here’s to Your Health with Joshua Lane
KCAA 1050AM, 102.3FM & 106.5FM
KTHO 590AM & 96.1FM
KJVV 101.9FM

Dear Sales Team at Seaside Medical Technologies

Hello and greetings, My name is Joshua Lane host of the wellness radio show Here’s To Your Health with Joshua Lane.
I would like Seaside Medical Technologies to be a guest of the show and give an interview about your skin health gel
The show is designed to be intelligent and fun while offering excellent advice to the listeners about wellness.
Here’s To Your Health with Joshua Lane is broadcast on:
KCAA 1050AM, 102.3FM & 106.5FM covers The InLand Empire including the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Loma Linda, & Riverside
KTHO 590AM & 96.1FM broadcasts to the Lake Tahoe, Reno, Nevada market.
KJVV 101.9FM covers the InLand Empire of California including 29 Palms

Celebrity guests of the show include:
KIM ALEXIS
SUZANNE SOMERS
FRANCO COLUMBU
DICK GREGORY
WINK MARTINDALE
TOMMY HAWKINS, Basketball Great, NBC Sportscaster
BRADY POPPINGA, Green Bay Packers, Sportscaster FOX SPORTS
TOM HAYDEN
Earl Mindell
Hans Kugler, PhD
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Cancer Control Society
National Health Federation

I would like to schedule the Seaside Medical Technologies interview for August 22, 2017 9:20AM PST. All wellness interviews are 12 minutes in length. Please email to confirm the Seaside Post traumatic response Gel interview.

Best Wishes,
Josh Lane

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