There are several types of alcohol that appear in cosmetics and skin care products, and most of them are extremely irritating and drying to the skin. If you have any problems with acne, wrinkles, dry skin, or oily skin, it’s best to avoid skin care products that contain SD Alcohol, Alcohol, Ethanol, Ethyl Alcohol, Methanol, Isopropyl Alcohol, or Alcohol Denat as one of the first 5 or so ingredients. Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol are not of concern. If you have perfect skin, and slather on alcohol-heavy products and still have great skin, then you’re lucky, and you’re probably not reading my website anyway!
The bad types of alcohol dry out your skin, irritate it, and cause inflammation. I’ve heard that alcohol can also rob even oily skin of its natural oil, causing an increase of oil production, but I don’t know if this is possible. Alcohol can make acne worse, though, because it causes inflammation, which inflames acne, and it dries out the top layers of skin, which could hurt your skin’s natural ability to shed skin properly and to keep the pores open, thus leading to more clogged pores. If you dry your skin out, you will also make wrinkles more noticeable. Plus dry skin will cause you to want to slather on more creams to quench parched skin, thus creating a vicious cycle! Read about how to prevent cosmetic acne here.
L’Oreal Skin Genesis
I have a “hobby” of checking out new skin care products. I just like to read the ingredients to see if the product has potential to actually do something good. The new L’Oreal Skin Genesis line has caught my eye because I keep seeing it on TV and in magazines, and Penelope Cruz says the line can “create younger looking skin that is stronger, tighter, and brighter.” It is “skincare that treats the cause of aging, not just the signs.” Guess what – the third ingredient of the Serum Concentrate and Daily Moisturizer is Alcohol Denat.! Yikes! I would not use this unless I had great skin that wasn’t sensitive to drying ingredients, but if I had that, I wouldn’t “need” this product!
To their credit, the L’Oreal Skin Genesis Oil-Free Lotion appears to have okay ingredients, so it doesn’t appear that it will clog your pores or dry out your skin. Their SPF 15 version contains crappy sunscreen ingredients, so don’t be fooled by thinking that will give your adequate sun protection. I haven’t tried these products, but as a Paula Begoun wannabe, I’m already not impressed. And they are $25 each!
Why products contain alcohol
When you use a toner or acne pad or serum that contains alcohol, it feels good when you apply the product because it feels fresh and tingly. All through high school I used horrible acne products that I thought were good since my face tingled. My boyfriend is still convinced his acne pads are fabulous, even though I always tease him that the alcohol in them is drying out his face, and making his skin dry and clogged. I’m sure there are other reasons why products contain alcohol (I have a body self-tanner with alcohol in it, which makes the lotion dry fast, yet it dries out my skin, of course. I should have read the ingredients before I bought it).