Alcohol is not a solution – or is it?
I stand in the bathroom in the morning and just look at the packaging of my day cream to pass the time while brushing my teeth. I'm confused about the ingredients. Alcohol?! Isn't it supposed to be harmful to the skin? So what is it doing in my facial care?
Basically, alcohol has its place in cosmetics. It has a fat-dissolving, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect. That's why it is also used in many cosmetic products. The problem is that there is no one alcohol, but rather an entire chemical group. And among them there are good and bad representatives. The good ones, the so-called fatty alcohols, are harmless to the skin, make it supple and do not cause pimples or blackheads. However, poor quality alcohol is often used in cosmetics because it is simply cheaper. To do this, the alcohol is denatured, making it inedible - and the denaturants used are usually of synthetic origin and are suspected of triggering allergies and drying out the skin. And you quickly end up in a care spiral: the cream dries out the skin, the skin feels unpleasantly tight and appears flaky, you apply more cream and only make things worse.
But how do I decide whether I should continue to apply my day cream every morning or whether I should just throw it in the bin? Most manufacturers say that alcohol in their products is present in such a small dose that it cannot have any negative effects on the skin. You can be completely sure if you do a little research into the ingredients in the care products. The good alcohols described above can be recognized by names such as Cetyl Alcohol, Lanolin Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol or Behenyl Alcohol. The bad alcohols are declared under names such as ethanol, alcohol denat, ethyl alcohol or benzyl alcohol. And: Ingredients are always listed in decreasing order of the amount present in the product. In other words, the further down the list the alcohol appears, the less it contains.