Your skincare products might be hiding something you haven’t thought twice about: alcohol. Alcohol is found in several forms—including some that can dry out the skin further and make it more susceptible to irritation. Other forms of alcohol can actually help hydrate the skin.
Why Skincare Products Use Alcohol
How Alcohol is Named on Skincare Ingredient Lists
- Ethyl Alcohol Otherwise known as ethanol or grain alcohol, according to the FDA. Since ethyl alcohol is denatured, it can be used in cosmetics.
- Denatured Alcohol (Alcohol Denat) To bypass taxes on alcohol in cosmetics, some companies use denatured alcohol. It’s an ingredient that makes it taste so bitter it’s undrinkable, CosmeticsInfo.org says. This ingredient can be found in makeup, lotions, fragrance, and skin- and hair-care products. It has several other names too that include methyl alcohol and SD alcohol.
- Isopropyl Alcohol Chances are you’re aware of this by the universal household moniker “rubbing alcohol.” A wide variety of products use it including nail, hair, and skincare products. The ingredient can be used as an astringent, an antifoaming agent, as well as a solvent, per CosmeticsInfo.org.
- Methyl Alcohol or Methanol Keep an eye out for this in the bath products you purchase, says CosmeticsInfo.org. It’s classified as denatured alcohol.
- Benzyl Alcohol You will usually find this alcohol in fruits and teas, as CosmeticInfo.org notes, but soaps, cosmetics, cleansers, and hair products also boast it.
The Verdict: Is Alcohol in Skincare Bad?