Alcohol In Cosmetics

Categories: Beauty Products
Leave A Comment: Comments(11)

loreal skin genesisThere 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).

Don’t miss out…get Savvy Skin posts via email!
Bookmark and Share


11 Responses to “Alcohol In Cosmetics”

  1. msdistressedderma Says:

    This is a great feature. I’ve got so many more subscribers this way than with the RSS. I think the RSS can be confusing for those not familiar with news readers.

    I signed up and can’t wait to get my daily post in the mail. It makes it so much easier to keep up with my favorite blogs while traveling.

  2. msdistressedderma Says:

    Oh, no my previous comment should be under the email subscription post. I don’t know what I hit or how I ended posting the comment in the wrong place. Sorry :(

  3. PJ Says:

    Hello Jeni,

    Thank you for posting about this!

    I can’t agree with you more. My views on skincare products have been influenced by Paula Begoun as well, and I really dislike alcohol in any skincare product.

    For me, alcohol makes my skin red and dry and certainly has no role in improving my skin in any way. Like you said, it is a skin irritant and should be avoided in skincare products.


  4. JaneP Says:

    When it’s present in high enough concentrations, ethyl alcohol must be rendered undrinkable so that it cannot be illegally diverted for use in alcoholic beverages. This process is called denaturing. When ethyl alcohol is specially denatured, it appears on cosmetic labels as “SD Alcohol” or “Alcohol Denat.”

    This highly purified form of alcohol is used in cosmetics as a vehicle to deliver ingredients to the skin’s surface. SD Alcohol evaporates almost instantly, which makes it an ideal base for fragrances and toner/astringents. It also doesn’t stay on your skin long enough to harm it – though you will feel some skin tingling before it vanishes completely.

  5. Denise Says:

    Hi there! I have been using Loreal’s Skin Genesis Serum for about 4-5 weeks now and have very mixed feelings about it. I most definitely have a lot more breakouts while using the serum and stopped using the Genesis SPF Moisturizer b/c I thought that was the cause and replaced it with my favorite Neutragena moisturizer. Well, I have these little bumps that may be small, but they are just everywhere now and it’s very frustrating. I do on the other hand, have noticed that my skin is smoother and tighter. So, I don’t know what to do. Should I stick with it and have more acne, but smoother skin, or ditch the Genesis all together? The alcohol in the Serum has definitely made my skin more dry, red, and covered with acne.

    So, it’s like a never-ending cycle. At night after I put the serum on, my skin looks red, and full of acne. In the morning when I wake up, most of the redness goes away and my skin feels tighter and smoother and I’m able to cover up the zits with concealer. This is a tough one!

  6. Jeni - Savvy Skin Says:

    I would definitely discontiue using the Skin Genesis if it’s giving you that adverse reaction. My theory about skin care is – do no harm. There are so many skin care products out there, and something will work for you that makes your skin smoother and tighter without having any bad effects. And I definitely recommend staying away from any product that contains alcohol anyway, and that’s the main ingredient in the Skin Genesis.

  7. chelsey Says:

    I am actually anxious to try the Loreal Skin Genesis products. The scientific research behind it is very persuading and I don’t have any problems with skincare that contains alcohol in it. I think the amounts are quite small and with the other ingredients, it should work together rather harmoniously…I guess I will know here soon.

  8. sheila Says:

    I have yet to find a skincare line without alcohol that I really like. I have a mild case of Roseca and want to do everything I can to keep it from becoming red and irritated. I am using Neutrogena Ageless Essentials Cleanser and Moisturizer now. And I am using Olay Regenerist eye serum. The products seem to be doing ok. They contain the Cetearyl Alcohol (the one they say not to be worried about)
    I would like to try Cindy Crawford’s skincare products but her moisturizer has AlcoholDenat in it. Can anyone recommend a skincare line?

  9. natalie Says:


    Yes, I would like to know if anybody has any recommendations for a skin care line. I’ve been searching and to no avail have yet to find one.

  10. bethamy Says:

    thanks! helpful :)

  11. Andrea @ Mineral Cosmetics Says:

    This is so true. Toners with alcohol feel fresh when applied on the skin. I stopped it though after I learned about the effects of denatured alcohol. I comes second on the list of ingredients of my toner.

  • Savvy Skin HOME Latest Updates


  • Featured Sites

    Hair Loss Hell
    Amazon BEAUTY



  • Categories

  • Recent Posts