Alcohol in sunscreens and skincare - is it THAT bad?

Hi Beauty Brains,

I was wondering whether alcohol (non fatty) is that bad? According to Paula Begoun it's one of the worst ingredients ever. I love this sunscreen but alcohol is the 2nd ingredient! 

ULTRASUN - Face SPF30 50 ml

AQUA, ALCOHOL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, LECITHIN, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL TETRAMETHYLBUTYLPHENOL (NANO), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (NANO), SODIUM ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, BORON NITRIDE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, ECTOIN, LACTOPEROXIDASE, SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, GLYCERIN, PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM, PPG-1 TRIDECETH-6, STEARIC ACID, XANTHAN GUM, DISODIUM EDTA.

Comments

  • I'll copy here a comment I've done in another site:

    "I’ve tested a lot of moisturizers with alcohol even as the second ingredient in the ingredients list and many of them hydrated the skin better than many alcohol-free moisturizers. So, it all depends of the final formula.

    I know it’s totally subjective and has no scientific value, but I have extremely sensitive skin that often reacts even to products specific for sensitive skin (that “free of everything” ones) but I can use a lot of products with alcohol without any problem.

    Alcohol is an essential ingredient in formulas sold in hot and humid countries. It helps to create a more comfortable texture…

    Yes, there’s no doubt alcohol can irritate and dry out your skin, but again: it depends of the final formula."

    If you want to laugh, I suggest to check out the studies Paula Begoun shows to say alcohol is bad... One of them is that: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm What does it have to do with cosmetics?! It's about how drinking excessive amounts of alcohol could damage your liver!

    I may appear too pro big corporations, but even products for sensitive from companies which employe thousands of specialists - like L'oréal which owns La-Roche Posay - contain alcohol (ethanol) in many cases. I'm sure if alcohol were necessarily bad they simply wouldn't use it.
  • My guess is that it's needed in this product to help dissolve the sunscreen active. In most moisturizers ethanol is NOT needed. So, even if it's not all that bad for you it could be unnecessary. 
  • I know science doesn't give a lot of weight to n of 1 evidence, but in this case, I think the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.  If you try it and it doesn't bother your skin, go for it, regardless of what the good Paula has to say!
  • Thank you very much :) I did not realise that the research Paula was using was from the Alcohol abuse institute!

    I have noticed that it does not bother my skin at all. If it's just drying then I don't really mind.


  • Alcohol could be good or bad depending upon the skin type of the applicant.But dermatologists recommend to use products with natural ingredients. It's advisable to read customer reviews before buying any beauty product
  • Hi Brownemma. When you say "dermatologists recommend to use products with natural ingredients" that's a generalization that doesn't really mean that much. I've never seen any documentation that dermatologists (as a professional group) recommend natural products over "non-natural" products (whatever that means.) If you have any kind of evidence to support that, I'd love to see it so we can share with our readers. Thanks. 
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