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The whole truth about alcohols in cosmetics

Briefly about the main: functions and classification
From the word “alcohol”, many adherents of natural cosmetics begin to twitch their eyes: “How is it possible, it dries, it also provokes hypersecretion of the sebaceous glands. Execute cannot be pardoned. ” This is partly true. But it is impossible to define all “representatives of a species” under one comb.

Alcohols can perform a variety of functions in cosmetics. Manufacturers use them as solvents, antiseptics, emulsifiers, preservatives and stabilizers that suppress undesirable reactions during the manufacturing process. Cosmetic alcohols are divided into three large groups: simple, aromatic and fatty. Which of these harmless names hides a “wolf” in sheep’s clothing? Let’s get it right.

Simple, like three pennies?

Simple alcohols are also called monoatoms – they contain one OH group. The most famous to introduce “families” is ethanol. His formula is familiar to everyone since school. Other slightly less popular simple alcohols are methanol, denatured and isopropyl alcohol.

Visually, these substances are difficult to distinguish from each other. They are all liquid and transparent, like water. Most often, they can be found in tonics, narrowing pores, as well as funds for problem skin as an antibacterial component.

Simple alcohols are good preservatives, but not the best “friends” of the skin. Firstly, they dry and dehydrate cells very much, increasing the risk of expression wrinkles. Secondly, they break the lipid barrier, which protects against the negative effects of the environment. Third, simple alcohols are the cause of hypersecretion of the sebaceous glands. Overdried skin begins to actively produce sebum, due to which the pores become very clogged, acne and rashes become even greater.

On the label they are indicated as: Methanol, Ethyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat, Isopropanol (other variations are also found). Always pay attention to the composition. The further the alcohol among the ingredients, the less it is in the product. If the store has a probe, apply the composition to your hand. Coldly? The label can not be read – there is a lot of alcohol. Leave it on the shelf.

Aromatic alcohols: what, where, when?
This group of alcohols performs the same functions as the previous one. But they have a smell – they can be used as a flavor. The most common aromatic alcohols: benzyl (Benzyl Alcohol) – gives a floral aroma, but in large quantities it can cause irritation, cinnamyl (Cinnamylalcohol) – dries the skin very much.

In this case, you need to look at the concentration. 5% is considered safe. But even a small amount of aromatic alcohols can harm dry skin.

Fatty Alcohols: Safe Mode

Did you know that alcohols are solid? Fatty (they are also called wax) – just such. They are obtained from vegetable oils (mainly coconut). Like the two previous groups, they have an OH group, but they have a completely different effect on the skin, softening it and slowing down the process of moisture evaporation. They are responsible for the “smoothness” and “velvetiness” that marketers love to appeal to. By the way, panthenol belongs to this group (yes, and this is also alcohol) – an excellent component with regenerative properties.

Look for fatty alcohols in the composition under the following names: Cetyl Alcohol (cetyl alcohol), Lauryl Alcohol (lauryl alcohol), Behenyl Alcohol (behenyl alcohol), Caprylic Alcohol (caprylic alcohol), Glycerin (glycerin – trihydric alcohol).

Interesting facts about cosmetic spirits
A few interesting facts that certainly will not be superfluous.

“Menthol and starch are alcohols.” Some of them are irreplaceable participants in biochemical processes in the body.

– If Alcohol Free is written on the etiquette of the product, this does not mean that there is no alcohol in the composition. Among the ingredients you will not find ethanol, but you can easily find methyl alcohol.

– When alcohols are used as preservatives, their content should not exceed 10%. Alas, in many cases this figure is twice as high – 20%.

– Beware of labels from the Organic series. Ethanol can also be organic. From corn, for example.

– Plant extracts on the packaging can also be alcohols! In this case, the manufacturer is not required to indicate the fact that the product contains alcohol.

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