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Is alcohol damaging to my skin?

Where alcohol is the main ingredient in skin care, yes it can be harmful.  However, when it is present in small amounts it can be acting as a preservative or solvent and not be harmful. It also depends on the type of alcohol used as they are not all the same. When you see the following types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, they could well cause skin sensitivity:

SD alcohol

Denatured alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol

Effects may  include dryness, erosion of the surface of skin (which is really bad for skin), and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself.

However, there are ‘good alchols’,  known as fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be exceptionally beneficial for skin. Examples you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol. All of these are good ingredients for dry skin, and in small amounts fine for any skin type as they give a pleasing texture and help keep ingredients stable in products. Alcohol, usually ethanol, is also sometimes used as a solvent to extract desirable components from plants. It’s important to discern these skin-friendly forms of alcohol from the problematic types of alcohol.

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