Synthetic Alcohol & Hand Sanitisers
SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo, that restrict synthetic alcohols to <1% or less for leave-on products, and <3% or less for rinse-off products. Where a product has been clinically tested and found to be 'non-sensitising' or 'non-irritating' to the skin; product test reports can be submitted for SCA to endorse the product with the Allergy Certified logo. This is provided that the ethanol has been tested for carcinogens and is toxic-free, not containing carcinogenic impurities. *Provided a warning is provided on the product label "may dry the skin, do not use on broken skin".
Ethanol CAS No: 64-17-5. Other Names: Ethyl alcohol; Alcohol; Anhydrol; Ethyl hydrate; Methyl carbinol. "NICNAS Reported Cosmetic Use and domestic use as a cleaning/washing agent; as petrol additives/substitutes such as ethanol blended fuels and solvent". 2-Propanol CAS Number: 67-63-0 Other names: Isopropyl Alcohol, Dimethyl Carbinol , IPA , Isopropanol , Propan-2-ol or 2-Propanol
Not restricted for use in Australia, classified as hazardrous. Restricted for use in Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, UK, France and USA.
HOW IS PROPANOL USED?
"Cosmetics (details not specified), hair sprays and colours, printing inks and surface coatings, cleaning, washing, solvents; International use: up to 10% in lotions, perfumes, shampoos, skin cleansers, nail polishes, makeup removers, deodorants, body oils, shampoos, hair dye rinses preparations and permanent wave lotions, and skin lotions. As well as anti-freeze and fuel additives and tanning products and much more.
HOW IS ETHANOL USED?
"Contact dermatitis is caused by a substance you're exposed to that irritates your skin or triggers an allergic reaction. The substance could be one of thousands of known allergens and irritants. Some of these substances may cause both irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis." - MayoClinic.org
"alcohol as a main ingredient in any skincare product is a problem. When you see these names of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question they will aggravate and be cruel to skin. No way around that, it’s simply bad for all skin types. Consequences include dryness, erosion of the surface of skin (that’s really bad for skin), and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin. Just to be 100% clear, there are other types of alcohols, known as fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be exceptionally beneficial for skin. Examples (good alcohol) you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol. All of these are good ingredients for dry skin, and in small amounts fine for any skin type as they give a pleasing texture and help keep ingredients stable in products. " - PaulasChoice.com
RESEARCH - WHAT DO EXPERTS SAY?
"Allergic reactions to alcohol-based formulations may represent true allergy to the alcohol, or allergy to an impurity or aldehyde metabolite, or allergy to another product constituent. Allergic contact dermatitis or immediate contact urticarial reactions may be caused by ethanol or isopropanol. Allergic reactions may be caused by compounds that may be present as inactive ingredients in alcohol-based handrubs, including fragrances, benzyl alcohol, stearyl or isostearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, myristyl alcohol, propylene glycol, parabens, or benzalkonium chloride." - Skin reactions related to hand hygiene, NCBI, 14.2.
SD alcohol functions as a cosmetic astringent in skin care products; "Specially denatured (SD) alcohol is a mixture of ethanol with a denaturing agent. Ethanol is considered broadly toxic and linked to birth defects following excessive oral ingestion." - EWG
Denatured alcohol, in cosmetics is Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, or alcohol that is made unfit for human consumption. "It often contains water and a bittering agent (Bitrex or Aversion which are denatonium benzoate or denatonium saccharide), but other chemicals are sometimes used. Other common additives include (but are not limited to) isopropanol, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, pyridine, benzene (known carcinogen), diethyl phthalate, and naphtha." - ThoughtCo.com
Isopropyl, isopropanol and ethyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol, ethanol or surgical spirit); "It is common to find isopropyl rubbing alcohol at concentrations from 68% alcohol in water up to 99% alcohol in water. The 70% rubbing alcohol is highly effective as a disinfectant. Isopropyl alcohol is toxic, in part because the body metabolizes it into acetone." - ThoughtCo.com