Silicone in skincare – The truth behind the myths

August 26, 2019 3 min read

Silicone in skincare – The truth behind the myths

Never before has the customer known so much and had so much power over what they purchase, what it contains, how it’s made and where it’s made, spanning everything from pet food to personal care, never have customers demanded more transparency from brands, then they do today.

In the skincare and beauty market, skincare ingredients and their individual properties have been a focal point, with intense scrutiny being paid as to whether the ingredients being used are beneficial or not. Ingredients are unceremoniously deigned good or bad, with several factors playing into their fate and  why those conclusions are drawn.

One such ingredient is silicone. It has suddenly found itself under the microscope, specifically, cosmetic silicones and it is alleged to be the cause of an array of skin concerns, prompting some consumers to actively avoid purchasing products containing them, on hearsay alone.

The good news is that these concerns are unwarranted and are based on anecdotal accounts and misinformation, not science, and in this blog,  we will dispel these urban myths!

So, what are silicones anyway?

Silicones are created from the natural ingredient silica dioxide and the most well-known personal care silicone ingredient name by the public at large is dimethicone. There are other kinds that are used in skincare formulas, namely cyclopentasiloxane and cyclohexasiloxane; other forms include various types of dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone. 

The myths….

The main myths that we are going to bust being held against silicones are that it blocks pores, impedes any active ingredients from being absorbed and that it interferes with the skins’ cell renewal process.

Blocks pores

Silicones physically cannot enter the pore lining, where breakouts and blemishes are formed, due to its netting like structure of a network of large and smaller holes that are held together. Also, our skin does not breathe like our respiratory system does for us; skin is our waterproof barrier between us and the outside world and is much like the feathers on a duck.

Silicones are also a medical mainstay ingredient to assist in healing scar tissue in over the counter remedies and in hospitals, if it blocked pores it would not be able to help scar tissue heal which it does by providing increased hydration stores to the stratum corneum.

Blocks active ingredients from absorbing into the skin

Silicones’ molecular structure is akin to a lattice of small and larger holes.  Actives in silicone are in no way hindered in their ability to reach the dermis and are easily absorbed via the accessible hole network, while the silicone framework provides a protective layer above skin, sealing in the ingredients and contributing to increased hydration due to its barrier forming properties.

It’s well known for giving products a silky, satin texture allowing them to apply smoothly on the skins’ surface which is not only part of the product formulation design but also gives the consumer an elegant experience making the product pleasant and easy to use. 

Interferes with cell renewal

Silicones are inert biologically and have no bearing on the skins’ 28-day cycle ability to renew itself.  Presuming you cleanse daily and exfoliate your skin regularly, you need not worry about silicones building up on the skin surface as they do on our hair, even if you don’t regularly cleanse and exfoliate, it still will have no impact on your cells ability to proliferate as nature intended.

So, in a nutshell, cosmetic silicones are your skin’s friend, not it’s foe!

For another informative take on the topic, we recommend you read this blog post by Kevin James Bennett, an award-winning makeup artist and industry expert in product formulation https://kjbennett.com/cosmetic-silicone-safety-fact-fiction/

 


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