Jump to content
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Isopropyl Alcohol

Recommended Posts

Does Isopropyl Alcohol have any place in cosmetics? I have seen peer reviewed comedogenicity (sp?)/irritation studies done that have labeled Isopropyl Alcohol as both 0 in comedogenicity and irritation. I have also heard people bash it. I am not referring to pure rubbing alcohol, but simply isopropyl alcohol as an ingredient.

Also, can it truly make your skin oiler? What if the oil that is removed by it is then replaced with a good moisturizer? Just curious and would love to hear people's opinions.

Here is the study rating Isopropyl Alcohol as 0 : http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1989/cc040n06/p00321-p00333.pdf. I think this is where a fair amount of sites get their ratings on ingredients. It is pretty amazing and has almost every ingredient.

Link to post
Share on other sites

According to COSDNA, Isopropyl alcohol has an irritant rating of 4. Your study link is broken. Alcohol might not be irritating for everyone's skin but I think it can contribute to skin dehydration - this study found "no significant change in skin barrier or erythema induced by the alcohols in the patch tests, whereas skin hydration decreased significantly." Some people think there is a link between dehydrated skin and excessive oiliness. However, it's important to note that the skin on our hands is different from the skin on our faces - there's more sebaceous glands on our faces than our hands.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal belief is that it does, I was surprised about the findings of that study. Studies seem to conflict a little bit about this, but I personally think there's a link between prolonged use of alcohol on skin leading to dehydration and eventually breakdown of the skin barrier. Here's a paper that argues alcohols break down the skin's barrier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah it makes sense. I guess my question is then, if the alcohol breaks down the skin barrier, is a well designed moisturizer able to mitigate those damaging affects to the point where it is not a concern? The study brings up a valid point, but I don't believe medical professionals are continually moisturizing their hands throughout the day. Because if so, the isopropyl alcohol may be performing some level of good in breaking down the naturally occurring oils on an individual's face if they are replaced by an oil such as sunflower oil and there are no lasting negative effects.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Isopropyl alcohol is not ethanol/"alcohol". Isopropyl alcohol's molecular formula is C3H8O, where as ethanol's is C2H6O. Remember that in chemistry that "alcohol" is a class of chemicals, not the drinks you find in bars which contain ethanol.

I suspect that COSDNA is basing the numbers off rabbit ear models in the 70s, which are not really accurate. Rabbit ear models were preferred back then, because they were cheaper and it took a lot less time to see any effects (~2 weeks) compared to human skin, where it takes several weeks to months for comedones to form. Also, the tested concentrations in those studies were very high (50%+), which doesn't reflect finished facial products, especially in today's market.

Ethanol does remove lipids from the skin, but it depends how much you apply and whether the skin can recover from it. In healthy skin, it can. Ethanol isn't so much "drying" itself--it's more like what you formulate with it. If you formulate it with 10%+ glycolic acid and/or lactic acid, those two humectants can pull water out of the skin with ethanol's help. Adding glycerin and/or occlusive agents would minimize the dryness.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes