I always recommend that sensitive skin sufferers check ingredient lists and give beauty products containing alcohol a wide berth.
Ethyl alcohols dry the skin, cause irritation, trigger Rosacea flare-ups and prevent the absorption of Vitamin A – the lack of which promotes premature ageing.
These drying alcohols are listed as ‘alcohol denat.’, ‘ethanol’ or ‘ethyl alcohol’.
Some companies market alcohol as a “skin balancer” – if you have oily skin, then it will dry it out. There are better ways to rebalance your skin!
This is a cynical marketing gloss for the true reasons for including alcohol – it is used as a “natural” preservative in organic products, as well as a fixing agent for fragrances.
But it only works in high concentrations – for alcohol to work as a preservative in skin creams, it must be used in concentrations of up to 20%, which is why you see it high up the ingredients list.
But…Pai uses a form of alcohol in its products – is it also drying and a skin irritant?
No. Not all alcohols are created equal. They can take various forms, serve different purposes and not all are bad for the skin.
There is a class of wax alcohols such as cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol.
These are referred to as ‘fatty alcohols’ and are commonly used as an emulsifier or thickener in creams. They actually have a non-drying moisturising effect on the skin.
These alcohols are usually naturally derived from vegetable sources such as coconut and are well tolerated by sensitive skin sufferers.
Drying alcohols carry a ‘moderate’ hazard rating of 5-6 on the Cosmetic Safety Database while fatty alcohols have a ‘low’ hazard rating of 0-1.
So, know your alcohols – we at Pai do use Ethly Alcohols but we use them to clean and disinfect our work surfaces. Which just about says it all.