Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, Senior Lecturer and Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: “As Muslims, it is our Islamic duty to steer clear of prohibited things to the best of our ability. Therefore, if you know for sure that gel contains alcohol then you should avoid it as much as possible. However, because gel and cosmetics are generally applied externally on the skin, they are considered permissible if they are used only for external use according to the Fatwa of a number of scholars in the Muslim world.
This is based on the fact that the prohibition of consuming alcohol cannot be applied to external uses. Also, the amount of alcohol that is used in producing such cosmetics is so minor that one may overlook it without incurring a sin, because Shari`ah does not encourage extreme rigidity especially in matters that are of common use and cannot be avoided except with difficulty.
However, in case of doubt, it is always close to piety or Al-Wara` to avoid that which is doubtful in favor of that which is not doubtful. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said, “Leave alone what puts you in doubt and turn toward what put your heart at ease.” (Reported by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’i, Al- Hakim, and Ibn Hibban)