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3 surprising truths about alcohol in cosmetics.

3 surprising truths about alcohol in cosmetics.

It’s not just the skin on our face that needs some love.

Our hands are always working for us, constantly exposed to chemicals and other external aggressions and one of the most common areas on the body to show visible signs of aging. We’re constantly washing and sanitising our hands for hygiene now more than ever, so it’s time to give the skin on your hands the love they deserve.

There has been an increase in people turning to dermatologists to help with the effects of using traditional hand sanitisers. Those experiencing skin sensitivity problems are commonly due to the constant use of products on their skin that are made with ingredients like silicones, fragrance, colorants and other sensitizing ingredients such as high percentages of alcohol, that have stripped and sensitized their lipid barrier, causing an imbalance in the skin’s natural microbiome which leads to eczema itch, redness and discomfort.

Knowing what ingredients are in the products used on your hands is one of the key factors to keeping them accountable, in order to maintain optimal youthful looking, healthy hydrated skin.

Alcohol is a common ingredient used across a wide range of cosmetic products for its antibacterial properties and active anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also used to preserve and prevent products like creams and lotions from going bad. In fact, alcohols are commonly found in products like astringents, hand sanitisers, and aftershave due to their fast-drying and skin-tightening abilities. The down side is the negative effects alcohol can have on the skin such as dryness & irritation.

What should we know about the effects alcohol in cosmetics can have on our skin? 

1. There are good & bad alcohols.

Not all alcohol is created equal. There are good alcohols & bad alcohols. The good alcohols also known as ‘fatty’ alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, cetearyl, and behenyl, are quite different to other alcohols such as isopropyl alcohol and ethanol, often listed as SD alcohol or denatured alcohol/alcohol-denat. Using high percentages of ethanol or rubbing alcohol, can be very drying and sensitising to the skin, also leading to itchiness, flaking, and skin peeling.

Cosmetic products labelled "alcohol free" are allowed to contain cetearyl alcohol, whose effects are quite different from skin-aggravating forms of alcohol. Certified Organic Ethanol (Cetearyl Alcohol) is actually a food derivative. esst is made with Certified Organic Ethanol that is derived from sustainable Australian Sugar Cane.

Not only is it considered safe and non-toxic for use on the skin and hair, but it is also not drying or irritating like other types of alcohol.

2. Quantity vs quality.

Alcohol as a main ingredient in any skin care product is a problem.

The greater the percentage of alcohol, the greater the chance of adverse skin reactions.

Traditional sanitisers are required to contain 65% or above alcohol content in order to kill bacteria. We have been conditioned to believe that this quantity of alcohol is the only way to kill bacteria.

esst has used minimal cetearyl alcohol in the formula and only for the function of carrying the other ingredients to help them perform at their best. We haven’t relied on alcohol to kill the bacteria. We use ancient plant based powerhouses such as silver and Australian Botanicals to kill germs naturally and safely. Safe for you, your children, the elderly and even your pets. 

The INCI List.

The Australian regulations refer to an ingredient list as an INCI list (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) to internationally identify cosmetic ingredients. When listing ingredients on a cosmetic label, the ingredients need to appear in descending order calculated by either mass or volume. The ingredients with the highest percentage are therefore listed first. 

When formulating with cetearyl alcohol, because the chemical structure is different to the other types of alcohol, the FDA has even permitted products that contain this ingredient to be labelled ‘alcohol-free.’

So, there you have it, a low down on why we use alcohol in cosmetics, what the good & bad alcohols are & what determines safe for use.

We’re pretty happy here at esst that we’ve been able to create this little powerhouse that not only is lab tested to kill 99.9% of bacteria, with minimal alcohol, but also nourishes too.

We hope you love esst as much as we do.