Monday, 19 July 2010

Alcohol in skincare? Good or bad?

I've learnt that there's "good" & "bad" alcohol when it comes to cosmetics & skincare. Some of us probably have been told to avoid anything that has alcohol in it because it is drying and will speed up aging etc.

Credits photo to

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is the type that medical practitioners use to clean and prep your skin before applying an injection or to draw blood. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol alcohol is close in composition to isopropyl alcohol. Therefore, it's not suitable for use in skincare or cosmetic products. These alcohol compositions tend to have a drying effect on the skin. That is why your skin feels so cool when rubbing alcohol is used on it. These are the "bad" alcohol compositions.

Then there are the "good" alcohol, these are made of more complex compositions.
The longer the molecule composition, the better the alcohol is in a way. I guess that was a layman's term of understanding it as I was educated by Carra, manager for SANA products.

The ones used in skin care products such as moisturizers, emulsions, toners etc. are mostly cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol. As compared to isopropyl alcohol, these are not drying. In fact, they help the ingredients get absorbed and penetrated into your skin.

So if you wanna be cautious about what you're putting on your skin, do remember to check out the labels.

Thus, in short:

"Bad" Alcohol
ethyl alcohol
ethanol alcohol
isopropyl alcohol

"Good" Alcohol
cetyl alcohol
cetearyl alcohol

Reference from
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