Not all alcohols are created equal in skincare.
Commonly used fatty alcohols - are non-drying & have emollient and occlusive properties.
Cetyl -Extracted from coconut oil, it is an emollient that is included in skin care products to stabilize the formulations or to alter their consistencies.
Cetearyl alcohol is an emulsifying wax that is used to soften thick formulas like skin ointments. Derived from natural oils and fats, it is very efficient in stabilizing skin care formulations.
Oleyl alcohol – Derived from olive oil, beef fat or fish.
Stearyl alcohol – Made from stearic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid, coconut oil or vegetable fatty acids its used as both an emollient and emulsifier. Stearyl alcohol is derived from coconut oil. Because it is an emollient as well as an emulsifier, it can be substituted for cetyl alcohol to firm skin care formulations.
Simpler forms of alcohol, such as alcohol denat, SD alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, can be irritating to the skin and even strain your skin's normal functions— especially if listed within the first five or six ingredients of a product (meaning there is a large portion of that ingredient in the product).