Alcohol is often used in skincare. But be careful with this. Some types of alcohol in personal care products can dry out your skin. Not really handy, if you want to take extra care of your skin. Do you want to know which species you should avoid? Then read on quickly.

Alcohol in skincare

In the beauty industry, alcohol is widely used. Why? It can serve as a preservative and it ensures that a product absorbs quickly. It also makes a cream less heavy on the skin, which many women like. However, it would be wise to take a critical look at the labels of your own care products. There are namely ‘bad’ types of alcohol, which do not care for your skin at all, but dry out. But you don’t have to get paranoia right away if you come across some form of alcohol in your skincare. There is also good alcohol that actually softens your skin. See an explanation below.

Bad, hard alcohol in beauty products

Bad alcohol is also called hard alcohol. Why is hard alcohol not good for the skin? First of all, hard alcohol disrupts the fluid balance. As a result, the skin dries out. But that’s not all. This form of alcohol also disrupts the conversion of, for example, retinol into vitamin A acid. And vitamin A acid was just our anti-wrinkle friend, remember? This also explains the often bad, wrinkly skin of people who drink too much alcohol. Not really conducive, that bad hard alcohol in skincare!

How do you recognize bad alcohol in personal care products?

Look at the package label. Do you see 1 of the following terms? Then you know that bad alcohol is used in your skincare.

  • alcohol
  • alcohol denat.
  • denatured alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • ethanol
  • ethyl alcohol
  • methanol
  • benzyl alcohol
  • isopropyl alcohol

Good, soft alcohol in skincare

As mentioned, not all forms of alcohol are bad. There is also a completely different form of alcohol, the so-called ‘fatty alcohol’. Alias ​​soft or good alcohol. This is alcohol with a greasy structure that is usually obtained from vegetable fats such as coconut or palm oil. This strain actually retains the moisture in your skin and does not irritate. So totally fine, this form of alcohol in skincare!

What are forms of good alcohol?

  • cetyl alcohol
  • ceteary alcohol
  • stearyl alcohol
  • myristyl alcohol
  • behenyl alcohol

Add to the ingredient list

You probably understand now why I prefer not to use care products that contain hard alcohol. Unless a beauty product is really very unique and the hard alcohol is only a minor ingredient. This can be seen from the location on the label. Is the bad alcohol (almost) last mentioned? Then there will be very little of it. If the hard alcohol is mentioned at the front, there is relatively a lot of it. And then I just leave the skincare product on the shelf.


There are different types of alcohol; ie hard (drying) alcohol and fatty alcohol. It is better to avoid hard alcohol as much as possible, especially if it is a large part of your care product. This form of alcohol dries out the skin and ensures that your anti-wrinkle cream cannot do its job properly. Oily alcohol in skincare, on the other hand, is a different story. It does not dry out the skin and the risk of irritation is negligible. In short, this form of alcohol in your sunscreen, serum or lotion is not bad at all!

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