With the amount of misinformation available online, it is very easy to believe that alcohol based moisturizers don’t hurt your skin. Many formulas that contain ethanol often have a quick drying finish and this leaves behind a pleasant effect on your skin. Before we begin to discuss about the effects of alcohol in skin care, you need to understand that any product which lists alcohol as one of its main ingredients is bad for your skin. It is also important to realize that there are two types of alcohol being used in skin care products. Vine Vera believes that understanding the difference between the two can actually help you to select a product that is not harmful to your skin care routine.
Ethyl Alcohol – Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the regular alcohol that is commonly used in skin care and cosmetic products. It is the kind of alcohol that most people are familiar with and it is commonly used in beers, wines, facial toners, gels and hairsprays. However, the ethanol that is used in cosmetic and skin care products is denaturated. This is what gives it its bitter taste. This type of alcohol is usually listed as SD Alcohol or Alcohol Denat on the ingredient list. Ethanol is mostly derived out of sugars and it is extremely volatile. Its volatility is one reason why it is so popular in hair styling products.
Fancy Alcohols – Fancy alcohols are another type of alcohol that are commonly used in skin care products. This alcohol is a fatty alcohol such as behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol or cetyl alcohol. All such alcohols are usually derived from palms and coconuts and are solid at room temperature. Some of their main applications come in hand and body lotions, conditioners and moisturizers.
It is common to misinterpret ingredients containing alcohol because of their fancy names. Moreover, when users see the name ethanol, a name they are the most familiar with, they end up believing it to be safe. On the other hand, when a fancy name such as cetyl alcohol comes up, most people end up believing that it is very harmful to their skin. Actually, fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol are not drying at all. Instead, they are extremely beneficial for the skin as they condition your hair and your skin.
But does this mean that ethanol is damaging? Well, if you look at ethanol used in hair spray products, it is not damaging because the amount of ethanol that you use or spray on your hair is minimal. This prevents it from causing any drying or permanent damage. However, if this is used in skin care products, it might be used in greater percentages, but even then, that would be under 10%. This debunks one of the most common skin care myths – alcohol is not always harmful to your skin. In fact, it can prove to be quite beneficial.
Surely, with so many skin care companies using alcohol in their products, you would believe that there is some science behind it right? As explained above, there are two main reasons for the use of alcohol in skin care – alcohol helps in creating a thick product weightless and it is highly useful in helping beneficial ingredients to penetrate your skin.