Available exclusively online, ***Free Shipping on all orders $49 and over***

Is alcohol bad for your skin?

March 06, 2018

Is alcohol bad for your skin?

Skin care products with alcohol will cause dryness, right? Not necessarily.

There is confusion surrounding different types of alcohol. I think that when we think of alcohol, many of us picture a bottle of drugstore rubbing alcohol. It is very drying. There are several different types of alcohol that are used in formulating skin care products. Some of these are drying, while others are emollient. The difference lies in the molecular size of the alcohol molecule as well as the amount.

 

In chemistry terms, alcohol really just means that a molecule has an -OH (or hydroxyl group).  This hydroxyl group is attached to a carbon. There can be any number of carbon atoms in this molecule. Short chain alcohols have from 1-3 carbons while long chain alcohols are considered those with more than 8 carbons.

The drying alcohols

The drying alcohols most are us are familiar with are the common short chain alcohols: isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol.  Alcohol names are often shortened by using the suffix –ol, so you may also see these listed on ingredients labels as isopropanol and ethanol. Isopropanol is rubbing alcohol. It is toxic if ingested. Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks.

In skin care isopropyl and ethyl alcohol are commonly used in harsher toners, hand sanitizers, and more. They often are used to act as a preservative or as a solvent for other ingredients in the product. If you see Denatured Alcohol or Alcohol Denat. on a product label, know that these are just other terms for ethyl alcohol.

These short chain alcohols have a drying effect on the skin because their small size allows them to penetrate more deeply into the skin. Using products with short chain alcohols will likely cause skin to become dehydrated. If you suffer from Rosacea, avoiding short chain alcohols is very important, as they are common triggers for the condition.

The “good” alcohols

Not all alcohols are bad for the skin, though. I mentioned earlier in this post how certain alcohols serve as an emollient. These are the long chain alcohols, which are essentially fatty alcohols. They are derived from natural oils such as coconut and palm. Instead of being liquids, they are waxy solids. On your ingredients labels, you will see them listed as cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol.

In skin care products, the purpose of fatty alcohols is to keep the water and oil emulsion together. Without it, they would separate. They also improve the texture and appearance of the product. Fatty alcohols are skin emollients and are non-toxic.

Unlike other alcohols, they actually condition and soften the skin.

While so many products say “alcohol free”, it is important to remember that this is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to skin care. Many products are more effective with the addition of fatty alcohols, especially for dry skin. For example, we use Cetyl Alcohol in our Seed Healthy Hand Cream, Body Cream, and Body Lotion. And our newest face cream, Extra Moisturizing Face Cream, contains Behenyl Alcohol. Don’t let the word “alcohol” fool you! It actually can be beneficial.





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Lately I've been paying more attention

7 Ways to Use Seed Soft Balm
7 Ways to Use Seed Soft Balm

September 18, 2018

What if we told you that we have been working so hard for a VERY long time (this is worth the wait!) to create a multitasking skin care treatment that is so decadent, packed with antioxidants, extracts, and is 100% pure plant-based LUXURY?

Rough. Parched. Dry. Cracked. Everyday, your skin takes a beating and is begging to be rescued. Introducing new Seed Soft Balm. Unlock the superpowers of seven (7!) butters and oils and get reacquainted with soft, healthy, pampered, supple skin.

View full article →

10 Fun Facts about Patchouli essential oil by Seed Body Care
10 Fun Facts About Patchouli

September 10, 2018

Peace & Patchouli: Introducing our newest limited edition Body Lotion, featuring 100% natural patchouli essential oil.

Fun Facts About Patchouli

1. Centuries ago, European traders would exchange a pound of gold for a pound of patchouli.

2. Did you know that King Tut had 10 gallons of patchouli oil buried with him in his tomb?

3. Patchouli continues to be used as a remedy all over the world for...

View full article →

5 Back to School Skin Care Tips for College Students
5 Back to School Skin Care Tips for College Students

September 04, 2018

College students, let us help you establish a healthy skin care and wellness routine.

....

We've all heard about the "Freshman 15." I gained about 7 pounds freshman year. I can tell you that I had many choices in the dining hall, but my mom wasn't there to make sure I ate my fruits and veggies. I loaded up on macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I drank soda pop instead of water. I made Pop Tarts in my dorm room and ordered pizza regularly. Eat as many fresh, whole foods as you can and drink lots of water. Your skin will benefit from this. I recommend eating lots of 

View full article →