What are the Skin Damages of Ethyl Alcohol?

Posted on by Ersin Koseoglu

Alcohol (Ethanol, Denatured Ethyl Alcohol (SD Alcohol), Isopropyl Alcohol, Methanol) is an ingredient that we come across frequently in moisturizers, cleansers or tonics and at the top of the ingredients section. It is almost impossible to access correct information because there is so much information pollution about this content on the internet. When we look at the content of the products of even large and reliable companies, when we see these ingredients, we probably think that they are safe, but the reality is not like that at all. No matter which skin care product you have, if it has a high alcohol content or if it is at the top of the alcohol ingredient list, this is a big problem for your skin.

Is alcohol good for the skin?
At first glance, the presence of many skin care brands makes us think that alcohol can be beneficial for the skin. Products formulated using alcohol are very light due to the properties of alcohol, have pleasant and comfortable versions, and those who use these products like it because the feeling they leave on the skin is refreshing. These are the reasons why brands prefer to use alcohol in their product formulas. But the real danger is ignored: Ethyl alcohol damages the skin's barrier by damaging the substance (sebum) that keeps our skin healthy. not. Research shows that alcohol begins to cause damage as soon as it comes into contact with our skin, and damaging chain reactions continue even after the alcohol has evaporated. The places that ethyl alcohol comes into contact with can no longer protect themselves from damage. According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, regular skin cleansing with alcohol-based products turns into torture over time. Since alcohol erodes the skin barrier, the skin becomes unable to prevent water and cleaning products from penetrating into the skin layers.

If we are to ask whether alcohol has a connection with oily skin and acne, Ethyl alcohol can have two benefits for oily or acne-prone skin. The first is that it can kill the bacteria that cause acne on the skin surface and therefore dries the acne, the second reason is that it instantly removes the oil from the skin due to the oil-dissolving feature of alcohol. It's a great solution as a first observation, but research has shown that alcohol-based anti-acne products increase skin irritation and dryness. In this case, the work of people fighting with acne becomes even more difficult. The same studies have shown that products that offer gentle alternatives to treating acne are better for the skin. When using a product containing ethyl alcohol as a first step, the oil on the surface of the skin is removed, but then ethyl alcohol can increase oil production in the pores. A skin that already has oil problems becomes even more oily. Also, the real disaster in alcohol-based anti-acne products is the proliferation of acne bacteria due to the damage these products cause on the skin, which makes inflammations worse.

Because it is a free radical producer, it is necessary to examine the damage that ethyl alcohol can cause to skin cells. In an experiment performed under laboratory conditions, it was determined that 3% ethyl alcohol increased cell death by 26%. In the study, it was also determined that ethyl alcohol damages the substance that fights free radicals in cells and reduces inflammation.Long-term exposure causes the cells to self-destruct. This is the result obtained with only 3% ethyl alcohol. Considering that it is used at much higher rates (10-50%) in skin care products, it can be estimated how terrible the results are.

Ethyl alcohol used to be used to clean wounds, but today many health care professionals no longer use alcohol to disinfect wounds. Although ethyl alcohol is harmful, it is also an insufficient substance to sterilize wounds. Applying ethyl alcohol to open wounds is extremely harmful, medical professionals often treat open wounds with sterile water or iodine solution.

Types of Alcohols that are good for our skin!!!
There is a class known as fatty alcohols that are not harmful to our skin and should not be mixed with ethyl alcohol. Since these substances have the word alcohol in their roots, they are often confused with ethyl alcohol, which is harmful. The ingredients in the alcohol group, which we will classify as good, are as follows: cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols act as emollients and thickeners in cream and lotion-like products, and they are the substances that allow us to obtain a dark and white cream structure. Fatty alcohols are not irritating and even beneficial for dry skin.

As Cyrene Brand, we tried to briefly explain to you the reasons why we do not use harmful substances such as ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol in our products and the problems these substances cause on our skin. In summary, alcohol damages our skin barrier and is a source of free radicals. It makes oily skin worse, causing rashes, sensitization and irritation. It causes premature aging of the skin.

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Sources: Defeng Wu et al., Alcohol, Oxidative Stress, and Free Radical Damage, October 2004; Sungjong Kwak et al, Ethanol perturbs lipid organization in models of stratum corneum membranes: An investigation combining differential scanning calorimetry, infrared and H NMR spectroscopy, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1818 (2012) 1410–1419; Ruža Pandel et al, Skin Photoaging and the Role of Antioxidants in Its Prevention, ISRN Dermatol. 2013; E. Kownatzki, Hand hygiene and skin health, Journal of Hospital Infection, Dec 2003, Vol 55, Iss 4, p. 239–245.; Chang Y. Cho et al, DRESSING THE PART, Dermatologic Clinics, Vol 16, Iss 1, Jan 1998, p. 25–47., Manuela G Neuman et al, Ethanol signals for apoptosis in cultured skin cells, Alcohol, Vol 26, Iss 3, Apr 2002, p. 179–190., Manuela G. Neuman et al, Hyaluronic acid signals for repair in ethanol-induced apoptosis in skin cells in vitro, Clinical Biochemistry, Vol 43, Iss 10–11, July 2010, p. 822–826., Ronald R Warner et al, Hydration Disrupts Human Stratum Corneum Ultrastructure, J Invest Dermatol 120: 275-284.