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The use of Silicones in Skincare

Silicones have become a topic of contention in the skincare world, with some claiming that the substance can irritate or “suffocate” skin. Today, we’ll unpack some of these claims and whether or not silicone serves a beneficial purpose in your favorite skincare and cosmetics.

What is silicone?

Silicone is derived from silica (sand is a kind of silica). It starts as a natural compound but goes through processing to create a fluid chemical compound.

Why are silicones used in Cosmetics?

Silicones in skin care are largely used to impart a silky texture to the product and to encourage water-binding that allows a product to be used reliably even on wet skin. Silicones also work to give skincare and cosmetics emolliency, which is the characteristic by which some moisturizers are able to trap moisture against the skin under a protective film.

The most common types of Silicones in Skincare

Skincare typically contains silicones in the form of dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, or cyclohexasilicone.

Is Silicone safe for Skin?

Some people take issue with silicones in skincare due to their presence in filling products, such as those used to cover acne scars or promote wound healing. Silicones are thought of as building a barrier to the skin which may clog pores, but this is largely based on anecdotal evidence.

Instead, silicones provide a layer atop the skin that traps moisture and active ingredients, but they are still volatile substances by nature. This means that their initial thick texture evaporates to leave the protective film, which still allows pores to express excess sebum and aerate.

Are Silicones bad for acne?

Silicones don’t penetrate the pore lining where acne is formed, as they only sit on the very top layer of skin to contain moisture. Silicones are unlikely to contribute to acne or other blemishes unless you have highly sensitive skin or another reason to avoid silicones.

Silicones in Skincare FAQ:

Is silicone bad for your Skin?

Silicones are unlikely to cause much harm to your skin, as they sit on the topmost layer of your skin.

Are Silicones natural?

Silicones are not natural, they are synthetic chemical products comprised of fossil fuels. Silicone is a non-toxic polymer, essentially a skin-safe plastic.

How do you know if a product has silicone in it?

Silicone is required to be declared in a product's ingredient list, though it will usually be specified as a form of silicone such as dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, or cyclohexasilicone.

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