Is rubbing alcohol good for acne?

Is rubbing alcohol good for acne? It seems logical that it might be.  Rubbing alcohol, also known a isopropyl alcohol, is a skin disinfectant. Bacteria contribute to acne. Rubbing alcohol is drying. Acne occurs more in oily parts of the body.  But your dermatologist does not want you to treat acne with rubbing alcohol…because it doesn’t work.  It may even make things worse.

Is rubbing alcohol good for acne?

What causes acne?

Acne is the most common dermatology diagnosis.  It is an inflammatory skin condition that starts with a clogged pore.  Before the clog is visible it is called a microcomedo. When the congestion gets severe enough to be visible the lesions are called comedos or blackheads and whiteheads.  A genetic tendency to not clear dead skin cells from the follicles and the production of excess oil contribute to the comedone.  Lesions can become red, tender and inflamed if the clog causes a rupture and from the activity of the local bacteria.

Learn more: Dermatology in NYC

How does rubbing alcohol work as a disinfectant?

Rubbing alcohol disinfects by breaking down the structure of bacteria.  It also kills viruses and fungi.

What does rubbing alcohol do to the skin?

Rubbing alcohol is helpful in cleaning and disinfecting the skin before a procedure, but it should not be used to treat acne or as personal care product.  Alcohol dries out skin cells, but it also dries out the skin.  Dry skin causes inflammation, which can make acne flare. In addition, dry skin, also creates a compromised skin barrier which increases the risk of infection.


Rubbing alcohol is a great disinfectant but it’s not a recommended treatment for acne.

Looking for a dermatologist for acne treatment? Schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologist here!

Read: How To Address Acne, With or Without a Dermatologist’s Assistance






Do you need help addressing a skin, hair, or nail issue?

Schedule a consultation to get our assistance. We offer a variety of medical and cosmetic dermatology services for patients of all skin types.

Ready to Schedule Your Appointment?

* All indicated fields must be completed. Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.

Accessibility Toolbar