All You Need To Know About Alcohol In Skin Care
We are constantly warned about how drinking
alcohol dehydrates our skin and accelerates the aging process. Yet, at the same
time, if you grab the first skin care product from the store rack, what will
you read on the label? Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, and some more…alcohol. Alcohol
is used virtually everywhere – in creams, lotions, serums, toners, cleansers,
even facial oils. Depending on how many different products you use in your
daily skin care routine, you are applying topical alcohol to your face at least
3 times a day. Does this mean you are drying out your skin 3 times a day and contributing
to its premature aging all while thinking you are doing it a favour?
Unfortunately, it does. Alcohol-based formulas are the bad boys of the
cosmetics industry. Since they feel so weightless on the skin and give us that
squeaky clean skin, we can hardly resist them. But you should know that such
relationships never end well. Read on to find out why you should avoid alcohol-based
Types of Alcohol Are Used in Skin Care and Why?
Let us first meet these bad boys. This is an
extensive, yet not at all complete list:
- ethyl alcohol
- benzyl alcohol
- isopropyl alcohol
- alcohol denat
- glycyl alcohol
- benzylic alcohol
- SD alcohol,
- phenylmethyl alcohol
Alcohols are most often included in skin
care formulas to act as:
Solvents: Some ingredients are not soluble in water and do not mix well
together. Alcohols help these ingredients combine into a smooth cream.
Astringents: Alcohols tighten the skin and shrink the pores. For this reason,
manufacturers often include them in toners and cleansers.
Alcohols travel through the skin more
easily than other ingredients. When put in moisturizers, they help beneficial
ingredients penetrate deeper under the skin surface.
Alcohols have strong antimicrobial properties,
which means that they kill germs. Sometimes they are used in cosmetic products
to prolong their shelf life and to make sure, once opened, they do not get contaminated.
You know that cooling feeling you get when
you apply alcohol to your skin? Alcohol evaporates much faster than water at
room temperature and it cools you off. It is thus very common in hairspray and
other products that need to dry fast.
Reasons To Avoid Alcohol in Skin Care Products
With all the above listed benefits of using
alcohols in skin care products, one might ask why they should be avoided. But
these are all benefits for the cosmetics manufacturers. When it comes to
your skin, the list looks a bit different. Here are the main three reasons to
ditch all products containing alcohol out of your skin care routine:
Alcohol strips away the skins natural oils
and leaves it dehydrated. Dry and cracked skin is more prone to irritations and
feels itchy all the time. Although alcohol will dry any existing acne and kill the acne-causing germs, this is just a temporary solution to the problem. A
2011 study showed that regular use of alcohol-enhanced products only makes
things worse. When your skin is dry, it panics and produces more sebum to
replenish the lost moisture. So, instead of preventing breakouts, it actually does just the opposite and creates a vicious circle.
disrupt barrier function
The above mentioned natural oil a.k.a the sebum, also
serves as a protective barrier against outside toxins and damaging elements.
Alcohol is used in the skin care industry to promote the penetration of other
cosmetics ingredients into the skin. It enables this by disrupting this
barrier. As a result, your skin becomes more vulnerable to harmful factors, since
its self-regulating ability is hindered. Various irritants, allergens, and
bacteria are just waiting for this to happen and that is when they attack.
Without the protective outer layer, skin is more susceptible to photo-aging as
UVB/UVA rays also penetrate it more easily. Alcohol and wrinkles go hand
may be toxic
Laboratory tests in 2002 showed that
alcohol (ethanol in particular) can be toxic to skin cells. In this research, skin
cells were treated with different concentrations of ethanol and it was found
that even a small concentration of this alcohol increased the death of skin
cells by 26% and reduced their ability to defend against free radicals. They
used a concentration of less than 10%, while this percentage in skin care products
ranges between 5% and 60%. In order for skin to be healthy and young-looking,
it needs to regenerate and alcohol definitely doesn’t help.
We at La Mav, believe that if certain ingredients are not 100% safe for you, they don’t have to be used in the formulation of anything that you put on your skin. Having said this, we’d like to assure you that our products are 100% alcohol-free. All products we offer are certified organic, toxic-free and cruelty-free! Why? Because we want the best for you and for your skin.
There Any Good Alcohols?
Fatty alcohols, such as cetyl alcohol,
cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, arachidyl alcohol, and
myristyl alcohol, are often called the good alcohols. Although they are not as
damaging to the skin, they are pretty waxy and may clog pores and cause breakouts. What is more, most of them are produced synthetically, which is a
reason enough to avoid them.
So, the answer to the question whether it’s
okay to use skin care products containing alcohol is definitely – no. Even if
alcohols provide certain benefits to your skin, these are just temporary.
Besides, why take the risk when there are many natural and harmless alternatives?
We vote “No” for alcohol. Are you with us?
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