Why alcohol should be in your drink and not your sunscreen
The sun, it’s inspired countless songs, brings life to our lonely planet and when it comes out immediately cheers everyone up. But it can be a nightmare for our skin, which is why we need to protect it over summer.
We reckon our No Dice sunscreen is one of the premier products on the market. And over the next couple of blogs will explain why.
Alcohol and the sun don’t always mix
One of the joys of summer is a cold one on a hot day, but you want your alcohol in your drink and not on your face.
The subject of alcohol in skincare products in an interesting and often controversial one. Some alcohols that are widely used can be harmful to skin, whereas others are relatively safe.
There are two types of alcohol used in many cosmetics – safe fatty alcohol and harmful low-molecule alcohol.
We only use safe ones in our No Dice Sunscreen - cetyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol and only in very low doses.
The safe stuff
Cetyl and cetearyl are both derived from coconut and are fatty alcohols. Typically, fatty alcohols are used as emollients and thickeners in skin-care products. Fatty alcohols are not irritating and, in fact, can be beneficial for dry skin.
And the harmful stuff
The harmful alcohol is the same type as we drink, and while we enjoy a social beer or wine you wouldn’t rinse your face with neat vodka.
In fact the alcohol is altered to make it taste bad. This is to stop us loading up with sunscreen on a Friday night and drinking it – seriously.
It is commonly called denatured alcohol, SD alcohol, ethyl, methanol and ethanol. These are often found in high doses in hand sanitizers and hygiene products. If they are high up on the ingredients list on a bottle of sunscreen then they are going to dry out your skin.
Why they are used
There are a number of reasons: They make the sunscreen less greasy and easier to absorb. It is a bit like adding paint thinner to paint – the product goes further.
Alcohol also acts as a preservative so makes the sunscreen last longer on the shelf.
And why it is bad
Your skin has natural barriers to prevent substances penetrating it, like bodyguards keeping it free from unwanted toxins.
Alcohol overpowers these and allows the substances in sunscreens and other cosmetics to be absorbed. Breaking down these natural barriers is not good in the long term for your skin and is a cheap nasty way of blocking the sun.
Alcohol also evaporates quickly and this has a rapid drying out effect on your skin, adding to the drying effect the sun is already having. Lastly and perhaps of most concern this type of alcohol ensures that the precursors for vitamin A (such as beta- carotene and retinol) are unable to convert themselves into vitamin A acid. Your skin then becomes deficient in these "skin rejuvenators". This may also explain why alcoholics age more rapidly. In short, we don’t need to use alcohol, and we shouldn’t use alcohol.
The best protection for your skin this summer, buy some.