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Find Out the Shocking Secret Behind Rubbing Alcohol Acne Treatments

If you have been trying out acne treatment after acne treatment, both online and through your dermatologist, you may have stumbled across quite a few treatments that don’t work by this point. I know I sure have.

One of the most interesting recommended treatments for acne out there is the rubbing alcohol acne treatment, which is often endorsed for its potential to dry up surface oils on the skin that are known to cause acne breakouts.

But how will this really affect the quality and health of your skin?

Rubbing alcohol acne treatments use topical rubbing alcohol, which is made from 95% isopropyl alcohol and pure ethanol. [1] Rubbing alcohol in its natural state is a highly flammable and volatile substance; if rubbing alcohol does happen to be ingested, it will be oxidized in the liver and converted by the body into a substance called acetone, which can become increasingly toxic. Ingesting too much rubbing alcohol could cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, depression, and even a coma.

So what does this have to do with your rubbing alcohol acne treatment? Well… everything!

To start, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it easily and quickly absorbs any topical substances that are placed on it. This means that you must be incredibly vigilant about the ingredients that you put on your skin, which I highly recommend being natural and organic.

If you do put a chemical substance onto your skin directly, like a rubbing alcohol acne treatment, then the odds are that it will be quickly absorbed into your skin to penetrate your bloodstream and potentially cause toxic overload in your circulatory system. Yes, this is a harmful and dangerous chain of events that should be avoided at all costs.

Is Using Rubbing Alcohol for Acne Safe?

Many blogs online today praise the rubbing alcohol acne treatment for being a cheap and easy home remedy for getting rid of pimples and inflammation. However, it is not advised for rubbing alcohol to be applied directly to your skin since it could cause swelling, irritation, redness, and severe dryness as it removes the protective surface oils from your complexion. [1]

And wasn’t this inflammation and redness exactly what you were trying to get rid of in the first place when treating your acne?

The use of a rubbing alcohol acne treatment will only leave your skin in a worse condition than when you started, also making you susceptible to potential damage as your complexion suffers from severe dryness, flaking, and chapping as a result.

Just to give you a better idea, here is what several acne sufferers from the forums had to say about using rubbing alcohol to get rid of acne:

Given that if you ingest isopropyl alcohol it causes blindness, death, and other not so fun things, I’d think that it’s not so good for your skin… duh.

Rubbing alcohol is not used over the whole body, and for good reason. It can be very damaging to the skin by drying it out, it can irritate the skin. People, remember that acne isn’t caused just by bacteria. It is a multifactorial disease; factors include impaired skin shedding, increased ‘stickiness’ of shed skin, clogged pores, ‘sticky’ sebum, etc. Not just bacteria. Not just oil.

Rubbing alcohol dehydrates the skin more than anything, the stratum corneum and epidermis consists of 10%-15% moisture, without this moisture your skin cannot perform as well thus causing skin problems like oily skin and extremely dry skin. etc.

My uncle used to use rubbing alcohol as a “toner” for his acne-prone skin. Not only did it leave his skin incredibly red and dry, but it didn’t help much with the acne. In fact, the irritation brought on more breakouts. Isopropyl alcohol has an irritation factor of four on a list where zero means no irritation and five means extremely irritating. If anyone’s considering trying this, they might want to take that into consideration.

If you really want to avoid the harmful and damaging effects of rubbing alcohol that you have just read, it is time to get serious about the food that you eat each day.

Yes, the solution to your acne is actually found in a much simpler remedy, which is improving your diet and eliminating any triggers that may cause further inflammation in your skin.

You can begin by cutting out unhealthy hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated fats from your diet since these man-made ingredients can directly impact and even harm the quality of your skin. These man-made fats are found in many standard processed foods, and they will fill your body full of toxins to the point of overload so that the only way for your body to purge is through your skin.

When you eat too many unhealthy, man-made fats, you will be rewarded with acne, acne, and more acne. The simple solution? Clean up your diet, and clear skin will follow!


  1. Jathar, Rutuja. “Rubbing Alcohol for Acne.” Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. 11 Jan. 2011. <>.

About the Author: Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician and makeup artist with a special interest in using nutrition to heal and alleviate a number of conditions in the skin. You can find out more skin care and makeup tips by visiting her blog at FacebyBethany.

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Great post! Someone recently asked me about this and I don’t recommend it either. It’s something that is toxic and will cause more problems overall.

Thanks for being very resourceful and insightful on your site! One of the best acne/skin care sites on the web.

Keep it up!

David “The Skin King”

sorry if i’m simply misunderstanding, but are you saying that polyunsaturated fats are man-made??? aren’t both mono- AS WELL AS polyunsaturated fats considered to be rather beneficial to overall health? a quick and simple google search seems to bring the answer to that. although i agree about the hydrogenated fats, cutting polyunsaturated fats from our diet would seemingly be a sacrifice of our overall well-being simply for the appeal of outward ‘beauty’. if this is simply a misunderstanding or ignorance on my end then please clear this up for me. thank you

I agree! Polyunsaturated fats are supposed to be the best for you, not manmade. Also, I eat healthily and still break out…

I’ve used rubbing alcohol on my skin since I was around 14 and started developing acne. No drugstore cleansers or creams would seem to do the trick and since I’m allergic to benzoyl peroxide I wasn’t left with very many choices anyways. I can’t argue in saying it’s not a toxic substance, or that it’s particularly good for your skin, but rubbing alcohol has never let my skin down. I only use it as a spot treatment when I have a pimple coming on. Rubbing alcohol gets rid of it fast and leaves NO redness and NO flaky skin. Some dryness-yes. But nothing a little moisturizer can’t fix!

I use 70% rubbing alcohol on my face every night and hardly brakeout…love it & it never dries out my skin!

I used rubbing alcohol swabs on my face for a little while. IT RUINED MY SKIN COMPLETELY!!!! Yeh it cleared up but it made every single pore on my face super visible. I used to have pretty smooth skin and now it looks like it’s very scared all over my cheeks. My nose was already like that from years and years of black heads but now my whole face looks like that. NEVER EVER EVER WILL PUT ALCOHOL ON MY FACE AGAIN!!!!

I am 39 and been using 70 to 90 percent rubbing alcohol on face every night since I was 17. People think I am 29. I use it to remove makeup but avoid eyes and lips. I have no winkles and perfect skin. I have fair skin with a few freckles. No extreme drying, no pimples or breakouts. I love it and will continue to use forever.

Peroxide helps to remove n get rid of acne. And it’s not dangerous like the rubbing alcohol is. Peroxide is great to sterilize ur counters after cleaning them simply to remove bacteria and that’s what u need to keep off the skin. Plus it doesn’t cause the irritation effects alcohol does.

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