I’m confused about alcohol in cosmetics

SkinBiz says: I am a little confused re. the use of alcohol in skincare products, can anyone help me with which ones are not good for the skin and which ones are beneficial? Also what does it mean when a product range is certified halal?

The Beauty Brains respond:

Alcohol in cosmeticsred-wine-505296_640

There are two kinds of alcohol used in cosmetics that can be drying to skin:

  • Ethyl alcohol (also listed as Ethanol, Alcohol Denat or SD Alcohol)
  • Isopropyl alcohol (also listed as isopropanol)

These are drying to skin because they are short chain alcohols (very few carbon atoms in their backbone) which means they are liquids and can act as solvents. They can dissolve the natural protective oils in your skin.

Other kinds of alcohols can actually be good for your skin because they are long chain fatty alcohols which means they act like an oily moisturizer. The most common ones include:

  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Stearyl Alcohol

Halal cosmetics

Essentially “halal” means the product is lawful according to The Islamic Food and Nutriition Council. In the case of foods you must avoid the following:

  • Pork and pork by-products.
  • Improper slaughter techniques for animals.
  • Ingredients made from carnivorous animals.
  • Intoxicants like alcohol.

You can learn more about halal products here: http://www.ifanca.org/halal/