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Ingredient Truths: Is Alcohol Good For Your Skin?

by kelly / February, 28 2018 01:30

Putting a drop of oil on hands

Although probably tasty, I don’t mean drinking two gin and tonics a night. I mean the alcohol in skin care products - there’s good and “bad”. Now, most of us know top shelf liquor when we see it – but how about in your creams and lotions? Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Bad Alcohol – The Stuff to Avoid

The downside is “bad” alcohol, also known as short chain alcohols, can really irritate the skin. They do have their purposes though.

They are used to give skin care products a quick-drying and weightless feel- something definitely appealing. Unfortunately, at the same time they can dry out, erode, and strain the surface of your skin.

So how do you avoid this alcohol? Check your skin care labels for ingredients such as:

  • Ethanol alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Propanol alcohol
  • Alcohol denat.
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Isopropanol alcohol
  • Benzyl alcohol

Of course, some of you might be thinking “but isn’t rubbing alcohol (isopropyl or ethanol alcohol) used to disinfect the skin or treat wounds – so isn’t that a good thing?” Yup, that’s where it gets tricky. These types of alcohol have their uses too. At least I think they do. I’m not a doctor.

Good Alcohol – The Stuff You Want

Ok, now onto the good stuff. The good alcohols are called fatty alcohols or long chain alcohols. Fatty alcohols are derived from natural fat and oils. For example, many fatty alcohols come from coconut and palm oil.

Fatty alcohols are not irritating and can be beneficial to the skin. They are also used as thickeners and emollients in skin care products.

To find fatty alcohols in your skin, look for these ingredients:

  • Cetyl alcohol
  • Stearyl, alcohol
  • Cetearyl alcohol

Of course, at Block Island Organics we like to steer clear of irritable ingredients so fatty alcohols are where it’s at for us.

More Ingredient Truths

To find out more about what goes into our products check out Our Ingredients page or our Ingredient Truths blog series.

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