Understanding Alcohol in Skincare. Not all alcohols are what you may think.

July 28, 2021

Alcohols are a class of hydrocarbon molecules that contain one or more Hydroxyl groups and are often sub classified by the number of Hydroxyl groups in the molecule. 

When we hear, "alcohol" most people think of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) or alcoholic beverages (ethanol).  When employed in personal care products, it is often erroneously assumed that all alcohols are drying to the skin.

In fact, what is important for skincare is:

  • The type of alcohol
  • The percent in the formula, and the overall formulation, which can negate any potential drying effects. 

First, there are several types of alcohol that are NOT at all drying.  The most commonly-known is Glycerine.  Glycerin is a natural moisturizing component of skin, and it is also a tri-Hydroxy Alcohol.  There are other alcohols known as “Fatty Alcohols”, such as Stearyl and Cetyl (created by reduction of fats and oils). They are oil soluble emulsifiers. Given their fatty nature they have a moisturizing effect on skin. Several of these alcohols are utilized in Lindi Skin.  


Next, one must consider the percent of an alcohol used and the overall formulation.  As one example, Benzyl Alcohol is a preservative, or used as a component of a preservative system. It is an oily liquid. Used at fractions of a percent, it delivers excellent preservative attributes, but is entirely non-drying to the skin.

 

In summary, alcohols are typically employed in personal care products as solvents, moisturizers, preservatives, and emulsifiers.  What is important is the type of alcohol, the percent being used, and the overall formula content.  

At Lindi Skin, we have taken every measure to ensure safety and effectiveness of our products while providing maximum benefit to our customers.  Thousands of satisfied clients can attest that our products - which do contain several alcohols - are incredibly moisturizing and soothing.