Is alcohol in products harmful??
Paula and I diverge a little on this one. Alcohols are used in skin care products mostly to emulsify the product which is to help the oil, water and other ingredients in the product to blend well. They can be drying depending on the product and they can be irritating for some people. There’s no evidence that I know of that they do anything worse.
Think of it this way. If you put straight vinegar on your skin repeatedly, would it be irritating? Probably. If you mixed it well with oil and then applied, would it still be irritating, probably not. The oil in a sense, buffers the vinegar. It’s much the same for alcohol in skin care products because most of them are oil/water or water/oil emulsions.
I would love it if the most effective products had alcohols way down on the ingredient list but some of the best skin care products do have it. For example, I and millions of women worldwide have used Renova for years with wonderful effects. It has alcohol in the top 5 but, the beneficial effects of the Renova/tretinoin far outweighs the slight drying from the alcohol. Same with the Phloretin CF Gel – the slight drying is worth the other results of the antioxidant mix in the product.
It’s not a perfect answer but I hope it helps. Dr. B I