There are a number of different alcohols used in the skin care and cosmetics industry…some are OK and some NOT OK! I just want to take a moment of your time to ponder on just a short comparison of GOOD versus BAD alcohols used in some formulations.
Let’s take a look at the OK alcohols…
Cetearyl Alcohol is beneficial and hydrating. Cetearyl Alcohol is an emulsifying wax (helping oils and waters to mix smoothly), a mixture of fatty alcohols consisting predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols found in plants, like Coconut Oil. It acts as a good emollient, and emulsifier.
Lanolin Alcohol, derived from the oil glands of sheep’s wool, is another commonly used fatty alcohol. Again this alcohol is a great emollient and emulsifier. Unfortunately though it can be slightly irritating to some people.
On the “NOT OK” side are alcohols…
That have a drying affect on the skin, like Ethanol, Methanol and even worse, Isopropyl Alcohol.
These alcohols have chemicals added to them and even though they have antibacterial and antiseptic properties they are also drying and irritating.
Ethanol (sometimes simply listed as “alcohol” or as “ethyl alcohol”) is the same alcohol contained in beer, wine and other drinking liquors.
Thankfully a less commonly used alcohol for skin care formulation is Methanol (also called Methyl Alcohol), which is just as well as it is quite toxic and should be avoided.
Isopropyl Alcohol (sometimes referred to as IPA) is used in formulations similar to those that use Ethanol, and although the excuse given for using this is it is “less drying to the skin” it too is quite toxic and should be avoided.
So what do we do about these bad alcohols?
All I can suggest is you read the labels, or ingredient lists, before considering buying any skin care products or cosmetics, and be wary of the NOT OK alcohols. And while you are about it check out our ingredient lists…you won’t find those nasties here!
Have an aroma-beautiful day!