The One Popular Skincare Ingredient That Is *Never* Worth Your Money, According To Doctors

January 20, 2022 by Marissa Matozzo
shefinds | beauty

Whether you have oily, acne-prone, dry or combination skin, there is one ingredient in popular skincare products that you should be wary of, according to experts. We reached out to dermatologists and skin experts about an ingredient to look out for and why it can often do more harm than good for your skin over time.

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Be Cautious of Alcohol in Skincare Products

Fellow oily-skinned gals know that lightweight products that cool the face and make the surface feel smooth are ideal. This temporary, airy effect can be due to alcohol in your skincare products, such as serums, toners, cleansers, etc.


Although the feeling is certainly pleasing, sometimes after using alcohol-based products, inflammation and skin that is more dry than desired can have unwanted effects. If you have dry skin, alcohol can exacerbate your dryness. Ultimately, any “cooling” feeling to the face after applying alcohol could mean you’re actually stripping your skin of its vital natural oils and damaging its important barrier. That’s a no-go!


“Alcohol causes inflamed skin,” says Dr. Renée Moran, skincare expert, double board-certified anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician. “If used for long periods of time,” notes Moran, “it causes premature aging and damage to your skin's healthy barrier.”


No matter your age, using collagen-boosting products (devoid of alcohol) can provide a plethora of skincare benefits. If you’ve been looking for a good serum specifically, Dr. Cheryl Rosen, Director of Dermatology at BowTied Life, notes that alcohol is an ingredient to avoid.  “Alcohol can dry out your skin and make wrinkles more pronounced,” says Rosen about alcohol in serums.


One popular skincare product that can often include alcohol is a witch hazel toner. While witch hazel isn’t completely bad, onnes with alcohol in them are to be cautious of. Dr. Alain Michon, Medical Director at the Ottawa Skin Clinic explains that products like these, aimed to dry the skin, can damage it more than you might think. 


“Witch hazel [with alcohol] contains astringent properties that will dry up the skin,” says Michon. “While it seems like an effective short-term solution for those with acne-prone skin, in reality, it is damaging for the skin in the long term as it can strip the skin's natural oils and cause significant irritation if it is used frequently for a long time.” 


Ultimately, many dermatologists and skincare experts will recommend alcohol-free products to avoid impairing your crucial skin barrier or preventing the skin to produce its necessary oils.


While products containing alcohol can satisfy anyone with oily skin, it’s important to find products that will help you feel refreshed, but not completely dried out or without essential oil. For more information about alcohol in skincare, visit your dermatologist and find products for your exact skin type. 


Staff Writer

Marissa is a Brooklyn-based culture journalist and staff writer at SheFinds, covering edgy celebrity style, timeless beauty trends, lifestyle and entertainment news. Her coverage of indie music, NYC fashion, underground and pop culture is featured in PAPER Magazine, Paste Magazine, The Knockturnal, Bandsintown and more. You can reach her at [email protected]

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