Should I Avoid Alcohol In My Skincare Products?

We know that drinking alcohol can cause or worsen some skin issues, but do you know the effects of the alcohol in your bathroom cabinet products? If you pore over skincare product ingredients (pun intended), you might notice several varieties of alcohol listed within. Each of these types of alcohol can serve a different purpose, many of which may or may not be problematic for your skin.

If you already have a skin issue like rosacea, it’s important to always check ingredients of any skincare product you’re putting on your face or body. Although alcohols should not be avoided altogether, it’s important to know how the alcohol will affect your skin.

Doesn’t alcohol damage and dry out skin?
Most people believe that putting a product with alcohol on their skin will cause dryness and irritation. This might be true for antibacterial products loaded with alcohol, but many products actually use alcohols to prevent water loss or to make a product smoother and creamier. These alcohols are considered “harmless,” and won’t dry out your skin in moderate quantities:

  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Lauryl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol

Astringent alcohols are ones that often have drying or irritating effects on the skin depending on the concentration in the product. Here are some astringent alcohols frequently found in skincare products that should be avoided in large concentrations:

  • Ethyl alcohol or ethanol
  • Methanol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • Benzyl alcohol

Products purchased over-the-counter do not have to list the alcohol concentrations, so there’s no real way to know how much is in a product. A good rule is that if it is listed within the top few ingredients listed on the label, it is probably a significant concentration. Before incorporating any new skincare products into your routine, check their ingredients list and do a quick search online for reviews, especially if there are any ingredients you don’t recognize listed. Always test a new product on a small patch of skin before using on your face.

If you’re dealing with dried out skin or any other skin issues, give us a call today! Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Juan Vaillant, here at Old Bridge Dermatology, has decades of experience specializing in clinical and anatomic pathology that will lead you to happy, healthy skin. Dr. Vaillant commonly treats conditions such as age spots, acnedandruffhair losspsoriasis, and nail fungus. Contact our Old Bridge, NJ office at (732) 679-0222 for an appointment today!