Is Ethanol In Skin Care Products Beneficial Or Harmful To Our Skin?

by | Mar 30, 2021

Many skin care products suitable for oily or combination skin contain ethanol. Many people instinctively reject ethanol when they see that the ingredient list of skin care products contains ethanol, especially for sensitive skin. Even for healthy skin, they will fear it in their hearts.

But is ethanol good or bad for the skin?

Usually, two kinds of ethanol can be found in the ingredients of skin care products: ethanol and denatured ethanol

Ethanol: Alcohol, the protagonist of this article.

Oilyskinbeauty Chemical formula of ethanol

Denatured ethanol: Denatured ethanol is not an ingredient, but a type of substance, which is a mixture of various additives added to ethanol. Denatured ethanol contains not only ethanol, but also other additives, such as methanol, isopropanol, methyl ethyl ketone, and methyl isobutyl ketone. Methanol is toxic and may cause damage to your skin.

Denatured ethanol is inferior to ethanol in terms of safety. If you know that a product is added with denatured ethanol, it is better not to choose it.

What Is The Role of Ethanol In Skin Care Products?

1. Solvent

Oilyskinbeauty Solvent

To keep all the ingredients of skin care products in the same jar, it is necessary to use a solvent to dissolve them in the same bottle of liquid. The most common solvent is water.

Ethanol is a good solvent that dissolves certain ingredients. It is safe, low-cost, stable, non-greasy, and makes the product more refreshing. Ethanol is a good choice for skin care products that cannot be dissolved in water and can only be dissolved in organic solvents.

2. Sterilization

Oilyskinbeauty Protein that destroys bacteria

Ethanol molecules have strong penetrating power and can pass through the membrane on the surface of the bacteria and enter the inside of the bacteria, causing the bacteria’s protein to solidify and die.

Do you still remember that you need to wipe the injection site with alcohol cotton before the injection?

This is to prevent bacteria from entering the blood and use alcohol to sterilize it.

3. The skin feels refreshing

A beauty smiles while holding skin care products

Alcohol is highly volatile and can quickly take away the moisture on the skin surface so that the skin after applying skin care products will not feel so oily and the skin feels refreshing.

4. Promote the penetration of active ingredients

Oilyskinbeauty Skin care products enter the skin

Ethanol has a good function of promoting absorption. The surface of the skin is a layer of sebum film. Alcohol can dissolve the sebum film, loosen the stratum corneum, open the skin channel, and let skin care products enter.

The effective ingredients can easily penetrate the stratum corneum and enhance the effect of skin care products. Using skin care products with added ethanol will give the impression of good penetration.

What Are The Harmful Effects Of Ethanol In Skin Care Products On The Skin?

1. Quickly evaporate moisture on the skin surface

Oilyskinbeauty Evaporation of moisture on the skin surface

Ethanol is too volatile. When it is mixed with water, it will take away the moisture on the skin surface when it evaporates, which may cause the stratum corneum to dry out. Ethanol may not be so friendly to people with dry skin.

2. Excessive removal of sebum

After ethanol dissolves sebum, it tears the stratum corneum of the skin, and it has high permeability and high irritation, which may damage the intercellular lipids of the stratum corneum. But this kind of damage is possible only at higher concentrations of ethanol.

3. Skin Allergy

The right cheek was covered with red blood and the skin suffered from severe inflammation.

Alcohol may cause an allergic rash, causing redness, swelling, and itching of the skin. Some people have a series of irritating reactions when their skin is exposed to alcohol, and some people will become red when they drink alcohol.

4. Bad smell

Oilyskinbeauty Bad smell

Many women pursue a sense of ritual, and the fragrance and packaging of the products they use are excellent. No matter how good a product is, once some women smell the alcohol, they may subconsciously hate it. There is nothing wrong with the skin care product itself, the fault is that it has a higher alcoholic taste.


We must treat ethanol fairly, it is a legal ingredient in skin care products. As mentioned above, ethanol is also widely used in skin care products.

If you have non-sensitive skin and are not sensitive to alcohol, there is no problem with the normal use of cosmetics and skin care products containing alcohol. Oily skin and combination skin will even feel very refreshing.

If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to alcohol, and your skin is dry and dehydrated, then it is not recommended to use alcohol-based skin care products.