I have been asked many a times this question so thought it was time to set out the facts in a blog for all to read! Lets discuss the 2 types of alcohol that are commonly used in skin care products.


1) Ethyl Alcohol - commonly known as Ethanol.

-This is the type of alcohol that we find in beer and wine as well as hair sprays and facial toners.
-To prevent curious kids from ingesting their facial toner, this form of alcohol is denatured, creating a bitter taste.
-Ethanol can appears on the ingredients listing as either SD Alcohol or Alcohol Denat.
-Ethanol evapourates quickly which is one of the reasons it is used in hairsprays, so the fixative can attach to their hair without the hair getting wet.
-Ethanol is made from sugars
-Ethanol is available certified organic and is commonly used in certified organic cosmetic products
-Ethanol increases the penetration ability of other skin care ingredients.
-If used to chronically to remove sebum from oily skin types, its a negative ingredient, drying out the skin. This would be the case for high % ethanol products such as stripping toners.
-If used to enhance product penetration of L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C, which can translate to more collagen production, then this is a positive.
-Ethanol is not a negative ingredient, only if used inappropriately. Clients with a dry skin type, if they had a product containing --Ethanol, would need to make sure they are moisturising their skin am and pm to counter balance any possibility of skin dryness from the Ethanol.

2) Fatty Alcohol - commonly known as cetyl Alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl or behenyl alcohol, lauryl Alcohol, Oleyl alcohol

-These alcohols are typically derived from coconut or palm oil and are solids at room temperature.
-They must be melted for use in cosmetic formulations.
-They are used in skin care to typically thicken a formulation, emulsify oils into water or condition the skin and hair and thickeners.
-Fatty alcohols are minimally processed chemicals derived from sustainable plants, and are allowed in natural personal care standards.
-They are non drying and non irritating
-Generally used as emulsifiers, emollients, thickeners and carrying agents for other ingredients.

So is Alcohol in Skin Care bad for us?

-Fatty Alcohols are not drying on the skin, they are actually nourishing and conditioning
-Ethyl Alcohol in skin care is generally used as a preservative or solvent.
-Properly formulated cosmetics use both ethanol and fatty alcohols to produce effective and beautiful products, and will not dry out or damage hair or skin with typical usage.

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