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Is Rubbing Alcohol Good for Acne? The Evidence

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. With countless remedies and treatments available, it's no surprise that many seek effective solutions to tackle their breakouts.

One such treatment that has been discussed for years is rubbing alcohol. But is rubbing alcohol good for acne? In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the world of rubbing alcohol and explore its potential benefits and drawbacks for acne-prone skin.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Rubbing alcohol, while having disinfectant and astringent properties, can be too harsh and drying for the skin, potentially worsening acne.

  • Alternative acne treatments, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and retinoids, are more effective and less irritating for acne-prone skin.

  • Finding the right acne treatment depends on your skin type, acne severity, and individual needs, requiring experimentation and patience.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive and gentle solution for treating acne, effectively addressing key factors like dead skin cells and oily skin while being suitable for sensitive skin types.

A female freelancer rubs her hands with a rubbing alcohol

What is Rubbing Alcohol?

Before we delve into whether rubbing alcohol is good for acne, we must understand what rubbing alcohol is and how it works.

The Basics of Rubbing Alcohol

  • Rubbing alcohol is a clear, colorless liquid commonly used as a disinfectant and antiseptic.

  • It is also known as isopropyl alcohol or IPA.

  • Rubbing alcohol typically contains 70% to 99% isopropyl alcohol, with the remaining content being water.

  • It evaporates quickly and leaves no residue, making it a popular choice for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.

How Does Rubbing Alcohol Affect Acne?

Now that we have a basic understanding of rubbing alcohol, let's examine its potential effects on acne.

Rubbing Alcohol as a Disinfectant

One primary reason people might consider rubbing alcohol on their skin is its disinfectant properties. Acne is often caused by bacteria, such as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which can become trapped in hair follicles and cause inflammation. Rubbing alcohol has the potential to kill these bacteria, leading to a reduction in acne.

Caucasian girl applies alcohol on face

Rubbing Alcohol as an Astringent

Another reason why some might believe that rubbing alcohol is good for acne is its astringent properties. Astringents can help to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of large pores, which may contribute to acne formation. Rubbing alcohol, when applied to the skin, can cause a temporary tightening effect, potentially reducing the appearance of acne.

The Drawbacks of Using Rubbing Alcohol for Acne

While rubbing alcohol might seem like a promising solution for acne-prone skin, it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks of using it as a treatment.

Over-Drying the Skin

One significant concern with rubbing alcohol on the skin is that it can be extremely drying. The high alcohol content in rubbing alcohol can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to excessive dryness and irritation. This can cause the skin to produce even more oil to compensate, ultimately worsening acne in the long run.

Close up portrait of young mixed race woman having dry skin

Potential Irritation and Allergic Reactions

As rubbing alcohol is a potent substance, it can cause irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. Applying rubbing alcohol to the skin may lead to redness, itching, and swelling, exacerbating acne and making it more difficult to treat.

Experience the Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is a comprehensive skin treatment system designed to combat acne and promote healthy skin. Using a combination of acne-fighting ingredients, Exposed Skin Care effectively manages acne breakouts while being gentle on sensitive skin.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Here are some of the key benefits of using Exposed Skin Care:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Exposed Skin Care helps to remove dead skin cells, promoting cell turnover and preventing clogged pores that can lead to acne breakouts.

  • Oil Control: The system effectively controls oily skin by targeting overactive sebaceous glands, helping to balance the production of natural oils without causing dry skin.

  • Inflammation Reduction: With ingredients that soothe inflammation, Exposed Skin Care is ideal for managing inflammatory acne, including cystic acne.

  • Sensitive Skin Friendly: Unlike using alcohol to treat acne, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and make acne worse, Exposed Skin Care is gentle and suitable for sensitive skin types.

Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive solution for treating acne and maintaining healthy skin. By addressing the key factors contributing to acne, such as dead skin cells, oily skin, and overactive oil-producing sebaceous glands, this skin treatment system helps prevent acne breakouts while nurturing sensitive skin.


While rubbing alcohol may initially seem like an effective solution for acne due to its disinfectant and astringent properties, the potential drawbacks of using it on the skin outweigh the benefits.

The harsh, drying nature of rubbing alcohol can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to excess oil production, irritation, and worsening acne. As a result, it's generally not recommended as a primary treatment for acne.

Instead, it's crucial to explore alternative acne treatments, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and retinoids, which have proven to be more effective and less irritating for acne-prone skin.

To achieve clear skin, it's essential to find the right combination of skin products to address the root causes of acne, such as excess oil, dead skin cells, and clogged pores, without exacerbating the problem.

Acne products like Exposed Skin Care offer a comprehensive and gentle solution for treating acne while being suitable for sensitive skin types. You can effectively clear acne and maintain healthy, radiant skin by focusing on alcohol-free treatments and investing time in finding the right acne products for your unique skin type and needs.


Q: Is rubbing alcohol good for acne?

A: Although rubbing alcohol has disinfectant and astringent properties that may seem helpful in treating acne, it's not generally recommended as a primary treatment. Rubbing alcohol can dry and irritate the skin, potentially worsening acne over time.

Q: Can rubbing alcohol cause skin irritation?

A: Yes, rubbing alcohol can cause skin irritation, redness, itching, and swelling. It can be particularly harsh on sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Q: What are some alternatives to rubbing alcohol for treating acne?

A: Some alternatives to rubbing alcohol for acne treatment include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and retinoids. These treatments are more effective and less irritating for acne-prone skin.

Q: How can I find the right acne treatment for my skin?

A: Finding the right acne treatment will depend on your skin type, the severity of your acne, and your individual needs. Experimenting with different treatments and formulations is essential to determine what works best for you. Remember that consistency and patience are key when trying any new acne treatment, as it may take several weeks to see noticeable results.