Isopropyl Alcohol – Does Isopropyl Alcohol Hurt Your Pores and skin?

What is isopropyl alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol, which is used in skin care and cosmetic products to improve the application and absorption of the other ingredients in your product.

Alcohols in skin care have a bad rap, largely due to the relationship between alcohol-containing toners and dryness. While it’s true that astringent toners that contain high levels of alcohol can dry out the skin, alcohols like isopropyl alcohol can actually be beneficial to the skin. They also don’t harm your skin, as many online rumors have led you to believe.

Isopropyl alcohol is different from ethanol, the alcohol you’d find in that after-work glass of wine. They differ in their chemical structure, these differences mean that isopropyl alcohol is more suitable for skin care as it evaporates easily from the skin. This evaporation means that it is often not in contact with the skin long enough to cause damage or irritation.

the breakdown

Isopropyl alcohol

the good: Helps other ingredients in your skin care routine to be more easily absorbed. It also helps make your product easier to use.

not that good: Isopropyl alcohol can have a drying or sensitizing effect when formulated in high concentrations or in combination with other drying or sensitizing ingredients.

For whom is that? All skin types except those who have an identified allergy.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Not all alcohol is created equal in the skin care world. Look out for all of the other types of alcohol that you may find in your skin care regimen.

What are the benefits and concerns of using isopropyl alcohol?


The benefits of using isopropyl alcohol in skin care products are that it helps dissolve other skin care ingredients so they can be evenly distributed throughout the formulation.


The other benefits of using isopropyl alcohol in skin care formulations are that it improves both the absorption of the product and the distribution of the product on the skin. The improvement in absorption and spreadability means that the other key ingredients in the product are evenly distributed and are more likely to penetrate the skin to take advantage of them.


One of the other main benefits of isopropyl alcohol is that it kills bacteria. For this reason, it is widely used in hand sanitizers. This, combined with the fact that isopropyl alcohol evaporates easily, makes it a great ingredient in both skin care and hand sanitizer products.


The concern that usually arises when talking about alcohols in skin care is that they can dry out the skin. This is usually only a problem if the product is formulated with other drying or astringent ingredients.

However, if you have sensitive skin or skin with a disrupted skin barrier, you may experience a temporary burning sensation if the skin is open or very dry. In this case, it may be best to avoid products containing alcohol until your skin has healed.

Skin barrier

The other concern that has been growing lately is that alcohols in skin care products can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier. The skin’s natural barrier consists of the top layer of skin cells, oils, ceramides, proteins and cholesterol.

The skin barrier protects the skin from allergens, bacteria and water loss. If the skin barrier is disrupted, it can lead to irritation and sensitivity. However, the claim that alcohols could disrupt the skin barrier does not seem to hold true. This can only happen if the skin barrier is already disrupted. In this case, alcohols can increase the resulting sensitivity.

Is Isopropyl Alcohol Safe?

Isopropyl alcohol is considered safe for its current uses in skin care, hand sanitizer, and skin care products. the Expert panel for the review of cosmetic ingredients, a group responsible for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of skin care and cosmetic ingredients, has reviewed isopropyl alcohol. In their review, the panel of experts found that isopropyl alcohol is safe when used in accordance with current guidelines and for currently approved uses.

Heldreth, B. et al. 2012. ‘Final Report of the Panel of Experts on the Review of Cosmetic Ingredients for the Safety Assessment of Methyl Acetate’, International Journal of Toxicology.

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