Reading Labels: Alcohol

Okay, we admit it, we occasionally have a little midweek drink here at Oasis Cottage. Some of us like wine and some like beer - because not all alcohol is created equal.  And that’s true when it comes to skincare too.

Alcohol in skincare and cosmetics has many names and can be derived in various ways.  The three main sources are from fossil fuels (petroleum), plants (coconut, palm, wheat, soy) or synthetic manufacture.

But alcohol often gets a bad rap when it’s in skincare and cosmetics.  And it’s true that some forms of alcohol, such as SD Alcohol and De-natured alcohol are particularly harsh on the skin.  They can cause immediate irritation and dryness so they are best avoided particularly if you have sensitive, rosacea-prone or acne-prone skin. 

So why use any type of alcohol in skincare at all? Well, because it’s a really useful ingredient and can serve many different functions. It can work as a solvent to dissolve or thin out a formula; a stabiliser to prevent separation; an emulsifier to blend other ingredients together smoothly and as a preservative to stop bacteria growing.

 And whilst some alcohols are bad, not all are.  Most synthetic or plant based alcohols help blend ingredients and stabilise the product, giving a lovely creamy feel. We use a plant-derived alcohol as an emulsifier in some of our Oasis products. You can always check all the ingredients in our products on the product pages, or just ask us.

 So what does all this mean for you when you’re shopping for skincare?

 Well, you probably want to steer clear of SD alcohol or denatured alcohol. When it comes to other types of alcohol in skincare, take a quick look at the label.  Our Oasis top tip is: If alcohol of any type is in the top five ingredients then you might want to leave it on the shelf.

Read more on our Oasis Blog. Find out how you can use our multi-purpose products

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