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Alcohol-free Products 101 to Achieve Healthy Skin

This week, we want to share the importance of using alcohol-free products including skincare and personal care.  Since not all alcohols are created equally, it is the ‘simple alcohols’ to be aware of and that are best to avoid.  Simple alcohols are commonly in facial cleansers, sunscreens, facial toners and other personal care products. They can cause irritation to the skin, especially if you have dry, oily and sensitive skin.  The alcohol removes water from the skin surface, causing dryness and tightening of the skin. Although the initial tightening of the skin pores is only temporary, the dryness can lead to patchy dry spots, blemishes or acne breakouts.

Avoid simple alcohols commonly found in many skin and personal care products that strip your natural skin moisture and protective lawyer.

Why are simple alcohols in skin and personal care products?

Alcohol is a cheap chemical to use in skin and personal care products for the following purposes:

  1. Gives skin a temporary cooling, refreshing and tightening sensation.
  2. Helps thicker product textures to feel light-weight by creating a false pleasing, aesthetic look.
  3. Alcohol is used as an antiseptic, giving the product anti-bacterial qualities.

What are the harmful alcohols to avoid?

Simple Alcohols

In skincare, there are growing number of consumers pursuing non-toxic beauty as they are concerned about the types of ingredients and chemicals used to formulate products that can cause negative effects with their skin and long-term overall health. Avoiding products that contain simple alcohols such as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol (also known as alcohol denat), or isopropyl alcohol. 

Alcohol is a carbon-containing compound, which has a hydroxyl (-OH) functional group attached to a carbon atom (Source).  Isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) is important as it kills germs and bacteria from infecting cuts.  But when simple alcohol is being used on your face and hair every single day, it evaporates and strips your natural moisture.  This can cause your skin to become even drier, irritated, red, patchy or worse, lead to acne breakouts. Even if you have oily skin, stripping your skin of its natural oils will cause your skin to overcompensate and produce even more excess oil.

When ethanol is used in your skin and hair products it can have a drying effect on your skin and hair. It is important to know that ethanol acts as a solvent, therefore enabling otherwise inactive substances to cross the skin/blood barrier and enter the body.

Ethanol –  a popular simple alcohol

Ethanol, and also known as grain alcohol or ethyl hydrate, is the most common alcohol we know.  It’s found in skin and personal care products, pharmaceuticals, fuels and alcoholic beverages, and is also used as a sterilizer.  When ethanol is used in your skin and hair products it can have a drying effect on your skin and hair. It is important to know that ethanol acts as a solvent, therefore enabling otherwise inactive substances to cross the skin/blood barrier and enter the body.  Just another reason to use alcohol-free products.

What are the top three alcohol-free products to use? 

Alcohol-free facial cleanser:

Traditionally, alcohol was commonly found in facial cleansers and toners and if you are currently using ones that contain the alcohols listed above, you have an opportunity to up your skincare game.  

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Purifying Cleansing Foam

Try our healthy and effective gentle pH balanced cleanser that allows you and your skin to look and feel vibrant.

If you ever experience an uncomfortable ‘tight’ feeling after washing your face, it may contain ethanol which could be drying out your skin.  As mentioned in previous blogs, the tight feeling after you wash your face does not mean your skin is clean. Alcohol can interfere with your skin’s protective acid mantle, a very thin and slightly acidic layer that is essential for keeping your skin pH level balanced.

t is gentle on your skin yet effectively removes makeup, dirt, pollutants and excess oil (sebum). Purifying Cleansing Foam is alcohol-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free and will not strip your skin’s natural moisture.

Try Soul Story’s pH balanced Purifying Cleansing Foam – it is gentle on your skin yet effectively removes makeup, dirt, pollutants and excess oil (sebum). Purifying Cleansing Foam is alcohol-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free and will not strip your skin’s natural moisture.

Alcohol-free sunscreen:

In the last couple of years, sunscreens containing common chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate have been banned in beautiful beach destinations including Hawaii, Key West and the Great Barrier Reef.  These common chemicals are stripping coral reefs and damaging the marine ecosystem. The other concern with sunscreens is how it effects humans. Studies show that alcohol, oxybenzone and other chemicals are absorbed in to the human blood stream.

This health concern is a prelude to addressing the high levels of alcohol found in many sunscreens available in the marketplace.  Sunscreens that contain simple alcohol may cause skin dryness and irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin or those prone to experiencing prickly heat. In general, it’s best to avoid simple alcohols and harsh sunscreen chemicals. Alternatively, you can try the healthy and light-weight Sun Warrior Sunscreen that contains no simple alcohols or other harsh chemicals. Sun Warrior Sunscreen is proud to be reef-safe by being oxybenzone- and octinoxate-free.  

Sun Warrior Sunscreen is a lightweight formula and perfect to wear daily over your moisturizer, under makeup, or alone. The matte finish helps makeup apply easily with a smooth finish.

Sun Warrior Sunscreen is a lightweight formula and perfect to wear daily over your moisturizer, under makeup, or alone. The matte finish helps makeup apply easily with a smooth finish.

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Alcohol-free facial toner:

Soul Story first launched an alcohol-free toner for people with oily, combination, dry and sensitive skin types.  Even if you have oily skin, avoid toners that contain simple alcohols as it will dry out skin temporarily. Your skin relies on its homegrown moisturizer (natural oil) to help it maintain its natural barrier against pollution, bacteria, and other germs.  And stripping down all of that sebum also means leaving your skin exposed to ethanol/ethyl alcohol and alcohol denat.

As mentioned earlier, not all alcohols are made equally and there are some good alcohols such as Cetearyl alcohol.  Ceterayl is beneficial for the skin and is used in very effective nourishing and conditioning agents. However, avoid the simple alcohols such as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol (aka alcohol denat) and isopropyl alcohol commonly found in many skin and personal care products that strip your natural skin moisture and protective layer. If you’re too busy or you find it difficult to remember the different simple alcohols to avoid, use alcohol-free products, including all Soul Story products.   

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Sun Warrior Sunscreen

Try our light-weight & non-greasy Sun Warrior Sunscreen

Free of harmful chemicals that 80% of other brands use

Vivian Story

Soul Story is a bespoke Korean skincare brand founded by Korean-Canadian entrepreneur, Vivian Ke Story. She splits her time in Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok, and Seoul where she works with Korean dermatologists and skincare specialists to formulate and select ingredients. Each product is formulated to help with sensitive skin, eliminate dullness, dryness, clogged pores and poor skin texture.

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