Should You Avoid Skincare Products That Contain Alcohol?

Should You Avoid Skincare Products That Contain Alcohol?

When it comes to skincare, it has been drummed into our sub-conscience that alcohol as an ingredient is a big No-No and so when we are choosing products for our skin, most of us steer clear of skincare that has the word ‘Alcohol’ in the ingredients list but do we really have our facts right?


Speaking from personal experience, every time I am out to buy a new skincare product, I find myself poring over the ingredients list on the product, hoping that I will find one that’s free from alcohol, but more than often than not I don’t know if alcohol is even that harmful.


The truth my friends is that there are numerous kinds of alcohol in skincare products and it’s simply not right to say that all of those are bad for your skin. I’m sure you will agree that it is quite challenging to find a product that is completely alcohol-free and even more so for people with dry or sensitive skin because they are often advised to steer clear of skincare with alcohol in it.


Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is actually an incredibly useful skincare ingredient and THAT makes it even more important for us to know which kind of alcohol to avoid and which ones to not be afraid of. On an average, 12 out of 20 skincare products on the market contain alcohol in some form or the other.


As a general thumb rule, if you see alcohol as one of the main ingredients in a skincare product, walk away! Another example is Ethanol and this is one that can cause skin dryness, so best avoided.  It’s a very thin liquid and it evaporates quicker than water, hence it’s often used in products that are meant for mattifying or in products that dry quickly. If you have sensitive or dry skin, steer clear of Ethanol as well.


But what about people with oily skin who are looking for products to mattify skin? It is very tempting to use alcohol-based skincare and makeup when you have oily skin, all thanks to the immediate matte and de-greasy finish it provides, but the irony is that the alcohol in your products might eventually lead to enlarged pores and texture on your skin. The alcohol will give you an immediate matte finish, but it will also push your skin to counteract the de-greasing by producing more oil.


On the other hand, if we talk about anti-ageing products, then alcohol will be considered as a useful ingredient as it will help other ingredients such as Vitamin C and  Retinol absorb more effectively into the skin.


Same with fatty alcohol ingredients like Stearyl, Cetearyl and Cetyl, which are present in a lot of moisturisers and cleansing lotions as an emulsifier and thickening agent. These fatty alcohols have the ability to lock in moisture and therefore form a protective layer/barrier that water cannot penetrate, making these the ideal choice for people with dry skin.


The final verdict? Well, the research is pretty clear – if a skincare product is front- loaded with alcohol, it is best to avoid it. Alcohol will harm your skin in the long run, so instead try and look for a skin-friendly alternative 🙂


Just to name a few brands that I love for skincare (ones that will not burn a hole in your pocket!) and that I highly recommend – Avene, La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Nuxe, Bioderma and Noreva.



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