Alcohol Denat: why is it used? -Is alcohol utilized in drying skincare?

Alcohol denate or denatured alcohol is one of the most common ingredients used in skin care. However, the name on the back of a pack can make some people cautious. This is mainly because alcohol is seen as a drying ingredient. But not all alcohols are created equal.

The main controversial alcohols used in skin care are ethanol, ethyl alcohol, SD alcohol or alcohol denate. Much of the controversy surrounding these ingredients has to do with rumors that they accelerate aging, damage the skin’s natural barrier, and cause inflammation in the skin. These four types of alcohol are all essentially the same ingredient, alcohol denat.

The main difference between alcohol as you know it and alcohol in skin care is that alcohol used in cosmetic or skin care products has been denatured. Ethanol or alcohol in skin care products have usually gone through a process called denaturation. By denaturing your skin care products and cosmetics, you can avoid the high taxes that are levied on alcoholic beverages.

Denaturation essentially means that the use of a denaturant makes the alcohol taste bad, making it unsuitable for drinking.

You may see an ingredient called Alcohol Denat or Ethanol Denat on your product’s ingredient list. This is an example of alcohol that has been denatured for cosmetic purposes.

the breakdown

Alcohol denat

the good: Improves the safety and effectiveness of skin care and cosmetic products. It also prevents bacteria from growing and can help treat blemishes.

not so good: May be irritating or drying on sensitive skin types.

For whom is that? All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Look for the different ways alcohol is labeled on an ingredient list.

What is an alcohol?

First, it is best to understand what an alcohol is. An alcohol is any carbon-based molecule that contains an OH or hydroxyl group. This includes ethanol, glycerin, sugar and fatty alcohols. As you can probably imagine, they all have very different properties and uses, so no alcohols are made the same.

Some alcohols can be beneficial to the skin. However, when they talk about alcohol in skin care they usually mean one type of alcohol, ethanol.

Ethanol, ethyl alcohol, SD alcohol and alcoholate are essentially the same. They’re all the same as the alcohol in your glass of wine, with a few minor differences. Note: It doesn’t taste that good.

Why is alcohol used in skin care products?

There are several reasons why alcohol can be used in your skin care products. The following list provides some of the most common reasons for inclusion.


Ethanol is a solvent, which means that it helps other important ingredients dissolve easily in your product. It is used when the ingredient cannot be dissolved in an oil or water based product. An example of this is Salicylic acid, the well-known and popular skin care ingredient that reduces the appearance of acne.

It is also often used to dissolve plant extracts that are difficult to dissolve in water. Alcohol allows the products to distribute the main ingredients evenly in the formulation.


Traditionally, alcohol is widely used in skin care products designed to cleanse the skin. Products like astringent toners and makeup removers use alcohol to remove oils, waxes, and greases from the skin.

While this product has largely gone out of style due to the drying of the product, its use in these types of products was once a staple of many skin care routines. This is probably where alcohols get their bad reputation.

Preservative and antibacterial

As you probably know, alcohol is a great antibacterial ingredient. Because of this, it is widely used in hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes, and household cleaning products. This can be beneficial for the skin as it can help reduce bacterial growth.

This benefit can also be applied to your skin care or cosmetic product. Although alcohol is no longer used very widely, it used to be widely used as a preservative in skin care products, ointments, and cosmetics.


Alcohol is an ingredient that can be used to improve the penetration of other ingredients. Think of this as an ingredient that pulls key ingredients deeper into the skin.


Alcohol can also be used as a diluent. This means that the product is diluted so that it can be applied evenly and smoothly to the skin.

Antifoam agents

This is largely self-explanatory. Ethyl alcohol can also act as an anti-foam ingredient, helping to prevent foam from building up when the product is shaken.

Is alcohol denat bad for the skin?

The answer to this question is a bit complex. The answer relates to how you use it, what products you use it in, and what type of skin and condition you have.

There has been a lot of research into whether skin care products contain alcohol Drying on the skin. When the skin is dry, it is more likely to look aged, dehydrated, and flaky. Therefore, when these symptoms occur, it is often an important question. Research suggests that alcohol in skin care has one minimal effect when drying healthy skin. This research focuses on products with normal alcohol levels.

However, the drying or dehydrating effect on the skin can be seen in products that contain a high concentration of alcohol, such as: B. Astringent toners. Fortunately, these products have become relatively out of fashion, mainly because they often dry out. Therefore, especially if you have dry or dehydrated skin, it is best to avoid products like astringent toners.

The effects of alcohol on the skin can also depend on your skin type and the health of your skin. If you have sensitive, dry, or damaged skin, alcohol-based products can make these conditions worse. However, if you have oily, combination skin, or normal skin, it is unlikely that most alcohol-containing products will not have harmful effects on your skin.

Is alcohol Denat vegan?

Yes, alcohol denat is a vegan ingredient. It is obtained from herbal ingredients or is occasionally made synthetically.

When looking for a vegan product, always check with the brand and make sure the product you are interested in is cruelty free.

Should alcohol denat be avoided?

The decision on whether or not to avoid alcohol denat is not always a straightforward decision.

It depends on your skin type – anyone with sensitive skin, rosacea, or oily / acne prone skin can choose to avoid alcohol in their skin care routine. But it also depends on how much alcohol is used in a product, which is often not easy to determine. In this case, a small trial or error or patch test will help to check sensitivity.

And there are circumstances in which you might want to try a product with simple alcohols, such as: B. Applying acne cream to only one blemish. If used only in small areas, overdrying may not be a problem in these situations.

Should People With Acne Prone Skin Avoid Consuming Alcohol?

In general, any highly concentrated alcohol-based product should be used sparingly and with low frequency. This gives these types of products spot treatments and occasional toners.

For lower concentration products, they’re generally fine for most skin types.

Remember, while it is tempting and many of us have been told to use alcohol-based products if we have acne or oily skin, there is evidence that it could interfere with the skin’s natural oil production. This can lead to a compensatory overproduction of oil and sebum.

Is Alcohol Denat Safe?

The Panel of Experts for the Review of Cosmetic IngredientsA group responsible for independently assessing the safety and effectiveness of skin care ingredients reviewed alcohols in skin care.

The panel of experts examined the security of Alcohol Denat., Including SD Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40, SD Alcohol 40-B and SD- Alcohol 40-C, and denaturants, quassin, brucine sulfate / brucine and denatonium benzoate.

Based on the available data, the panel of experts concluded that these ingredients are safe in their current concentrations and uses.

Löffler H et al., How irritating is alcohol? Br J Dermacol 2007, 15774-81.
Lübbe J et al., Irritation of the skin disinfectant n-propanol, Contact dermatitis 2001, 45226-31.
Winnefeld M et al., Skin Compatibility and Effectiveness of Two-Handed Decontamination Procedures in Daily Hospital Use, Br J Dermacol 2000, 143546-50.
Boyce JM, Kelliher S & Vallande N, skin irritation and dryness in connection with two hand hygiene systems: soap-water-hand washing versus hand antisepsis with an alcoholic hand gel, Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2000, 21442-8.

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