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Is it safe to have alcohol in skincare products?

Apr 19, 2022

Dr Rati Parwani

Is it safe to have alcohol in skincare products? - SavarnasMantra

Alcohol is man’s worst enemy!!! And woman’s worst enemy too. Alcohol harms your body that’s is true!! We are all aware of the adverse effects of alcohol on the body. But, did you know that alcohol can harm your skin too? Yes, drinking alcohol can accelerate the aging process. What is even worse, is using alcohol-based products which can harm your skin. It's a basic and most common thought. Alcohol in any form is not good for the body and the same applies to your skin too. 

Alcohol is toxic not only to the body but also to the skin. Let us unleash the benefits, harm, and toxic effects of alcohol in skincare products. Our main motto with this blog is to make you aware that alcohol in any form is harmful to the skin and must not be applied topically. So, next time you make a point to buy skincare products, check before your leap and make the purchase of alcohol-containing toners and serums which can cause adverse side effects in long run. 

Is it Ok to have alcohol in skincare products? 

Many of us think that rubbing alcoholic toner or makeup remover disinfects the skin. But, this is not always true. There are two types of alcohol which is available in skincare products- one has a high concentration of alcohol and the other with medicinal alcohol also known as ethanol. Though considered a medicinal ingredient, ethanol which is also known as the spirit has “low to no hazard” to the skin. 

Alcohol is widely used in many products which can cause direct exposure to the skin. Some of the general products which are used daily are as follows- 

  • Household products like hand disinfectants and hand sanitizers
  • Hairsprays
  • Skincare products like toners and serums
  • Make-up products like makeup removers
  • Facial products like shaving creams and facial mist 

The list does not end here. Just using a simple hand sanitizer that has alcohol can harm your facial skin if you come in contact with it too frequently. Here, there is a need to check for all the ingredients of various skincare beauty and makeup products to reduce the use of alcohol. 

Why is alcohol in skincare products harmful to the skin? 

There are many reasons why alcohol in skincare products is harmful to the skin. The majority of us, especially acne-prone people, may not be able to believe this fact. As anti-acne skincare products do contain alcohol to disinfect the skin. Well, alcohol in skincare just over dries the zits and causes more harm to the skin barrier with increased intensity or flare-up of acne. Let us look at other harmful effects of alcohol in skincare products - 

  • Overdries the skin
  • Damages the protective skin barrier
  • Affects the metabolic activity of the skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Allergy and skin redness
  • Flaking and scaling
  • Skin itching
  • Aging effects
  • Sagging of skin
  • Carcinogenic effects
  • Skin infection
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Increased intensity of acne
  • Increases skin toxicity 

These are the red flags for skin problems especially if you are using alcoholic-based skincare products. 

The reason behind damage to the skin with alcoholic-based skincare products 

The main reason behind damage to the skin with alcoholic-based skincare products is the damage to the skin barrier and skin cells. As our gut goes through the process of metabolism, similarly all the skin cells also go through the process of skin metabolism which is not but skin functioning. The main function of the skin is protected from external and internal factors through the skin barrier. The alcoholic-based skincare products damage this skin barrier and over stripping the skin's natural moisture. This causes exposure to the deeper layer of the skin causing skin cell damage by shrinking skin cells which are melanocytes(skin cells). 

This over stripping of natural moisture from the skin cause dryness and skin irritation like redness, itching, and flaking leading to dermatitis, allergy, psoriasis, and eczema. This can also lead to many skin infections. Long-term use of alcoholic-based skincare products can cause skin cancer as it has carcinogenic effects. This can be very toxic to the skin as the skin cells are exposed and ready to absorb all the toxins, chemicals, and pollutants from the skincare products. 

Alcoholic-based skincare products V/s Natural skincare products- Which should I choose? 

The safest way to use and get the maximum benefits when it comes to skincare is using natural skin care products with no alcohol content. As per research, denatured alcohol like ethanol is considered a low hazardous ingredient in skincare. Also, switching to natural products is a better idea as they use fatty alcohol which is derived from fermented coconut oil. Yes, wine derived from grapes has potent antioxidants and is good for cardiac health. Similarly, fermented source of natural alcohol in natural skincare products works as potent anti-oxidant. 

So, do not fear!!! Start using natural skin care products that are considered safe for overall health.