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Are All The Alcohols Found in Skincare Products Bad for Your Skin?

Most of the time, when you read the Word “alcohol” on the ingredient label on your product, you freak out thinking it is going to damage or make your skin dry, but not every alcohol is bad for your skin. Some alcohols will be beneficial for you; therefore, you must learn how to recognize them. 

Types of alcohol

There are two types of alcohol, and we can easily separate them into “good” and “bad.”

The “good” alcohols are also known as fatty alcohols derived from plants; they won’t cause acne, dryness, or any other reaction caused by a potent ingredient. On the other hand, the “bad” alcohols are monohydric alcohols and can penetrate deeply, causing dryness. 

Good Alcohols

  • Butylene Glycol: This allows the product to penetrate deeper into the skin barrier. 
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: It is a known emollient and thickener for skincare products. 
  • Propylene glycol, stearyl alcohol, and lauryl alcohol belong to fatty alcohols; however, they are not often found in skincare products. 

Bad Alcohols

  • Ethanol: Even if the risk of harm is low, it is still considered bad alcohol. 
  • Alcohol Denat: It is used due to its mattifying properties, but it can irritate if used on sensitive skin. 
  • Benzyl Alcohol: It is used as a preservative. 

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Dr. Angelica Parra is a Licensed Medical Doctor from Venezuela and is currently taking a Master’s degree in Dermatology.  She specialized in Aesthetic Medicine and completed Advanced Training in Non-surgical Facial Rejuvenation in Miami, Florida. She has specialized in applying Botox, dermal fillers, skin tightening treatments, and since then, she has worked on cruise ships as an Aesthetic Doctor.


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