Do you avoid alcohol in your skincare products?

Sarah Brown is the founder of Pai Skincare. Entrepreneur, mum and sensitive-skinned soul – trying to find time to practice more of what she preaches…

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 and can 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’.

Alcohol is often used 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 products, 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 moisturising effect on the skin.

These alcohols are usually naturally derived from vegetable sources such as coconut and are very well tolerated by those with sensitive skin.

So, get to know your alcohols!  At Pai, we do use Ethly Alcohols… but only to disinfect our work surfaces, which just about says it all.