Alcohol in Skincare Products: Good or Bad?
The truth about the alcohol in your skincare products might surprise you.
Alcohol must be one of the most controversial ingredients in skincare. Some consider it safe while for others it is a no-go. This is partly because of the stinging alcohol-based toners back in the day and partly because of all the misinformation going on. Alcohol is often considered unsafe and harsh mostly because people refer to ethanol which is a drying alcohol. But ethanol is just one kind of alcohol you can find in skincare products. So is alcohol good or bad for the skin? Well, it depends on the type.
Bad vs. Good Alcohol in Skincare Products
You can find alcohol in a variety of beauty products, including serums and creams, makeup, body lotions, oral care, and hair care. There are many different types of alcohol in skincare, some are considered safe while others are drying. However, if you pick up a product and you see that alcohol is its main ingredient, consider it a red flag and do thorough research before using it.
Bad Alcohol in Skincare
Bad alcohols in skincare are also known as simple or drying alcohols. They are usually used as preservatives, to reduce excess sebum, to make the texture of the product smoother, or to make the formula dry quickly and leave your skin looking less shiny. Such alcohols are usually very harsh and strip the skin over time. Used on a regular basis, these alcohols weaken the skin’s natural barrier function which results in loss of elasticity, dryness, appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Examples of alcohols in skincare to avoid:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Denatured alcohol (alcohol denat)
- Benzyl alcohol
- SD alcohol
These types of volatile alcohols can cause skin irritation, wrinkles, and even breakouts but it’s important to know that there is no evidence showing that the use of these alcohols has a harmful effect upon the overall health.
Alternatives to drying alcohols
Many people with oily and blemish-prone skin use drying alcohols because they ensure a smooth and weightless finish and leave the skin looking and feeling less shiny. However, these alcohols can increase the growth of acne-causing bacteria, worsen the inflammation, and in long term, increase oiliness. That’s why you might want to replace them with skin-loving ingredients like green tea, for example. Green tea has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, sebum-reducing, and soothing properties which makes it suitable for all skin types.
Good Alcohol in Skincare
The safe alcohols that are used in skincare products are fatty alcohols that are derived from natural sources, such as vegetable oils or nuts, for example. These alcohols are rich in healthy fats and are often used as emulsifiers in skincare. They are non-irritating and incredibly beneficial for the skin, thanks to their emollient and occlusive properties. That means that they aid the skin’s natural barrier function, by locking in moisture and protecting the skin from environmental damage. Fatty alcohols also keep the ingredients in the skincare formulations fresh and stable. Some good alcohols to know are:
- Cetyl alcohol
- Stearyl alcohol
- Cetearyl alcohol
- Lauryl alcohol
- Glyceryl stearate
- Myristyl alcohol
While not fatty alcohols, there are two types of alcohol that draw moisture to the skin and they are:
- Butylene glycol
Good alcohols can be beneficial even for people with dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin. They can also be a useful addition to help ingredients penetrate the skin better and preserve the formulation.
Read the Labels
You can easily understand how much alcohol is used in a product by the location of it on the ingredients list. If alcohol is one of the top ingredients, it is likely to be a drying type that can disrupt your skin’s barrier in the long term. Avoid products with high alcohol content. If it is lower in the list, preferably past sixth position, drying alcohols are not concentrated enough to cause severe damage.
Alcohol in skincare comes in many forms and not all alcohols are created equal. Different alcohols hold different risks and benefits and it is essential to distinguish the good from the bad ones. Fatty alcohols have a place in the skincare world, as they are skin-friendly and boost the skin’s moisture retention. Drying alcohols need to be avoided or used only in wash-off products, such as cleansers, as they can aggravate the skin, cause irritation, and even be a factor in premature aging.
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The biggest trend in 2020 is PERSONLIZRD SERUMS. I tried #Atolla and here are my genuine thoughts (SURPRISE AT THE END OF CAPTION!) Do you ever feel like there are too many skincare products out there and have no idea what you need? Trust me, it’s happened to me too! I have been using #ATOLLA which is a company that formulates serums with a mixture of ingredients to target with your skin needs. Here are some of the benefits: 1) The serum is personalized for your skin. 2) you are able to monitor your skin changes each month with a skin test 3) Your formulation is altered monthly to target your problem areas. 4) It formulates several key ingredients into one serum, rather than buying separate creams. 5) it takes into account the products you are currently using. My initial skin concerns when completing my skin quiz with Atolla was battling dry skin as well as skin hyperpigmentation. They sent me a product with vitamin C complex as well as Alpha Arbutin. Vitamin C acts as my antioxidant against sun damage, evens out my hyperpigmentation, increases collagen, and increases hydration. Combining this with alpha arbutin, which targets the enzyme that produces pigment, only further reduced my hyperpigmentation. Like everything, results did not come overnight, but with consistent use, I was able to really even out my skin pigment and hydrate my skin. 🎉🎉🎉CHERIE SURPRISE 🎉🎉🎉 I've asked Atolla to give my CHERIE APP followers an exclusive code “DRCHRIS” for 25% off! Excited to see what you guys think!! 🙌🙌 Atolla - Custom Serum INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN:⤵️ ￼￼The vitamin C helps with collagen growth, hyperpigmentation, as well as sun damage. ￼￼The Alpha arbutin targets primarily hyperpigmentation creating an even skin tone. ￼￼Depending on your product, you can use it in the morning or night.
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Hair Growth Remedies You Need To Know
We all crave long luscious locks, right? I know I do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blessed with Rapunzel-like hair. Hair growth depends on several factors, including diet, environment, and genetic history. However, some remedies can help keep strands healthy, ultimately allowing them to grow long and strong. I’m sharing my favorite hair growth hacks that I swear by. About My Hair: I personally have very dry, long, curly hair. I tend to get a lot of breakage because of heat styling and occasional chemical treatments (highlights). My biggest hair concern is keeping my hair and scalp healthy. My Go-To Hair Growth Products: Biotin: I take 1 biotin pill every day. While this may not be suitable for all (always ask your doctor first), I did get an OK from my doctor to take them. I do think they really make a difference. I’ve tried a bunch of biotin brands before, and these seem to work best for my hair. Plus, they're pretty inexpensive. You get a 3-month supply for under $20. These are made with coconut oil as well, which helps keep hair hydrated. Briogeo - Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager Scalp Massager: Healthy hair starts at the scalp! Once I learned that I’ve never looked back. I use my scalp massager by Briogeo around 2-4 times per week to give my scalp some much-needed love! Massaging the scalp helps improve blood and circulation. When you have increased blood flow, the hair follicles are getting more nutrition. This specific massager from Briogeo was just under $20. Every time I use this, my hair and head feel incredible after. Hair Growth Tips: #1. Don’t use too much heat. Take it from me. I have scorched my hair so many times. #2. Eat a lot of protein. #3. Don’t over brush wet hair. I only use a wide-tooth comb on my hair when it’s wet.
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