Clarifying Confusing Ingredients Part 2: Alcohol In Skincare Products 😱

Clarifying Confusing Ingredients Part 2: Alcohol In Skincare Products 😱

When it comes to skincare, there are a lot of ingredients that can leave us feeling confused and unsure. One ingredient in particular that seems to cause a lot of confusion is alcohol. Given that there are so many different types of alcohol, it's no wonder why it's so hard to understand.

In Part 1 of our Clarifying Confusing Ingredients series, we looked at the differences between Silicone and Silica. Today, we're here to clarify the confusion and debunk some common myths about alcohol in skincare products.

Myth #1: Alcohol is always bad for your skin.

Fact: Not all alcohols are created equal. When it comes to skincare products, there are two main types of alcohol: fatty alcohols and drying alcohols. Fatty alcohols, such as cetyl and stearyl alcohol, are actually good for your skin. They act as emollients, which means they help to keep your skin moisturized and soft. Drying alcohols, such as ethyl alcohol, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol, should be avoided as they can dry out your skin and cause irritation.

Myth #2: Alcohol-free products are always better.

Fact: Just because a product is alcohol-free doesn't mean it's better for your skin. In fact, some alcohol-free products can be just as drying as those that contain alcohol. It's important to look at the other ingredients in the product and consider your skin type before making a decision. If you have oily skin, a product that contains a small amount of drying alcohol may actually be beneficial for you.

Myth #3: Alcohol always causes acne.

Fact: While drying alcohols can be irritating to the skin and may cause acne in some people, not all alcohols are comedogenic (meaning, they don't clog pores). In fact, some products that contain fatty alcohols have been shown to improve acne-prone skin by keeping it moisturized and reducing inflammation.

Myth #4: Alcohol always causes wrinkles.

Fact: While excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to premature aging and wrinkles, the small amount of alcohol found in skincare products is unlikely to have the same effect. In fact, some studies have shown that certain fatty alcohols, such as stearyl alcohol, can actually help to improve skin texture and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.


In summary, not all alcohols are created equal when it comes to skincare products. Fatty alcohols can be beneficial for your skin by helping to moisturize and keep it soft, while drying alcohols should be avoided as they can cause irritation and dryness. It's important to read the ingredient labels on your products and understand what type of alcohol is being used. By doing so, you'll be able to make better choices for your skincare routine and debunk some common myths about alcohol in skincare products.

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by Lisa Duffy – June 14, 2023

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