Reading the list of ingredients of a skincare product you are about to buy is something you should do if you aren’t already. After all, you should be aware of what you are putting on your skin. But have you ever placed a product back onto the shelf because you saw the word ‘alcohol’ staring back at you? You are not alone!

Many of us have this notion that alcohol is a harsh ingredient that shouldn’t be applied to the skin. But here’s the truth — alcohol is one of the most misunderstood ingredients in skincare. There are many types of alcohol and not all are bad for your skin.

Alcohol comes in different forms; some can dry out your skin while others can aid in moisturisation and allow better penetration of other ingredients in your skincare products. It can be divided into two broad categories, fatty and simple alcohol. Here’s everything you need to know about the good and bad types of alcohol in skincare.

 

Fatty alcohol or the good alcohol

Fatty alcohol or the good alcohol

Derived from vegetables, fatty alcohol is solid in nature and has the ability to lock moisture into the skin. It forms a protective layer on the skin and prevents external factors from damaging its surface. What’s more, this type of alcohol kills acne-causing bacteria to prevent and reduce breakouts. Cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol are some examples of fatty alcohol. They work wonders for dry and dehydrated skin.

 

Simple alcohol or the bad alcohol

Simple alcohol or the bad alcohol

Simple alcohol on the other hand does the opposite, it causes dryness and damages the protective layer of the skin. This invites a number of skin problems like breakouts, premature ageing and more. They are lightweight and generally added to moisturisers and body lotions as a preservative. Excessive and long term use of simple alcohol can cause damage to the skin. Simple alcohols include ethanol, methanol, benzyl, isopropyl, and methyl.