Are all alcohols in skin care products bad for your skin? Here’s the truth!
The “Bad” Alcohol
When you hear anyone telling you to steer clear of alcohol, what they’re generally referring to are the “bad”, simple alcohols (e.g. SD alcohol, denatured alcohol/ alcohol denat, isopropyl alcohol). They can weaken and strip your skin out of its natural protective oils, so it becomes dry, vulnerable to bacteria (yes, the kind that causes acne and irritation), and accelerate skin ageing.
While you should avoid simple alcohols that rank suuuper high on the ingredient list (let’s say, in the top 5), don’t fret if you recently found out that your favorite products have some alcohol in them! In small amounts, these alcohols can help degrease super oily skin, create a smooth, matte finish and help skin-loving ingredients absorb better into the skin.
The “Good” Alcohol
Not all alcohols are created equal, so keep in mind that there are other types of alcohol that are less scary, like cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and lauryl alcohol, which can be derived from natural sources like coconut oil, and are typically used as emulsifiers and stabilisers in skin care products to help maintain their pleasant texture and for their moisturising benefits. So they’re not harmful, and in small amounts, is fine to use for any skin type, even dry skin!
It’s important to discern these skin-friendly forms of alcohol from the problematic types, so here’s a quick guide you can save for the next time you go shopping:
What are some good alcohol-free products?
Look no further than Korean skin care, which have jumped on the alcohol-free bandwagon since a long time ago! Etude House’s Soon Jung Line is free from any potential irritants or harmful alcohols, and brands like Pyunkang Yul are made with the most minimal and non-abrasive ingredients. The Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is also one of our customer-favourites to clear away dirt and excess oil without the use of any harmful alcohol.
Have you had any good/ bad experience with alcohol in skin care? Let us know in the comments!