In the realm of skincare and personal care, there exists a vast array of ingredients and formulations. Among them, silicone stands out as one of the most prevalent and controversial. When people come across this word at the top of an ingredient list, it often evokes thoughts of something unnatural, chemical, and potentially harmful. This seems to be the consensus among friends and fellow beauty enthusiasts, based on a quick poll (not the most scientific approach, we admit). However, if silicone is truly that detrimental, why is it present in numerous skincare products and brands? To shed light on this popular skincare ingredient and dispel the associated myths, we sought the insights of experts.
What is Silicone?
Silicone is an ingredient that carries various connotations, but what exactly is it? According to Svendsen, “Silicone is derived naturally from polymers, which are compounds composed of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms, sometimes mixed with carbon or hydrogen, or both. It is considered to have low toxicity and is resistant to heat.” Svendsen adds that silicone’s occlusive properties, versatility, affordability, and widespread availability may have contributed to its extensive use in skincare.
Unlike other synthetic substances, silicone does not require additional chemicals to maintain the stability of its molecules. Svendsen explains, “Since silicone lacks ‘active’ properties such as antioxidants or glycolic acid, it is considered stable and does not react with other ingredients or degrade when exposed to air or light.
Benefits of Silicone for Skin
Silicones are widely used inert and synthetic compounds that find extensive applications in various personal care products. These silico-organic polymers are known for their exceptional stability across a wide range of temperatures and environments, making them resistant to degradation and buildup.
In addition to their durability, silicones offer numerous benefits beyond thermodynamic stability. They possess improved solubility and dispersibility, exhibit surfactant properties, and can be easily manipulated at different temperatures.
One of the key functions of silicone is its ability to lock in moisture and aid in wound healing while reducing scarring. Acting as an occlusive, silicone forms a barrier that resists water and air, making it useful in anti-frizz products for hair and providing protection against moisture. Moreover, the breathable barrier created by silicone can assist in shielding wounds from infections during the healing process.
Silicone’s occlusive and emollient properties contribute to filling in fine lines and creating a smoother appearance, making it a popular ingredient in makeup primers, BB creams, foundations, and other cream-based cosmetics. Its versatility extends beyond cosmetics to everyday items like household lubricants and sealants, enabling the development of revolutionary products due to its unique properties, which ultimately benefit our well-being.
Silicones are commonly found in various hair products due to their ability to address similar concerns. They play a role in smoothing out the hair, detangling it, and combating frizz, resulting in a temporary improvement in smoothness and shine. Additionally, silicones can help lock in moisture and prevent hair from becoming dehydrated, promoting healthier and more hydrated strands.
Silicones are the perfect choice for high-quality sun care products as they play a vital role in safeguarding consumers from harmful UV radiation. When it comes to sun protection, customers seek enhanced defense and acknowledge the significance of higher SPF levels. They also desire sunscreens that offer increased resistance to wash-off, ensuring longer-lasting protection, as well as ease of spreading and a non-greasy sensation. Silicone can deliver all of these properties effectively, making it an excellent ingredient for sun care formulations.
It’s worth noting that while silicone can create a barrier that locks in moisture on the skin’s surface, it does not actually moisturize the skin. There is a lack of proven long-term benefits associated with silicones. While silicones can temporarily enhance the look and feel of the skin, providing a healthier, plumper, and smoother appearance upon application, their effects diminish once they are removed or washed off, returning the skin to its original state.
Side Effects Of Silicone
While there is no proven toxicity to humans, silicones can potentially cause issues with the skin and hair. Due to their difficulty in being washed off, they have the potential to clog pores, leading to acne breakouts, especially in individuals prone to acne. Additionally, silicones can accumulate on the hair, resulting in a dull and dry appearance, and may even contribute to hair breakage. As silicone acts as a barrier, it can hinder the penetration of other beneficial ingredients for both the skin and hair. If you have concerns about potential problems arising from the use of silicone-based products, it is advisable to use them in small amounts and infrequently, completely washing them off., following the guidance of your doctor.
In terms of side effects, silicones are generally considered hypoallergenic, with very few reported cases of allergic reactions. Some individuals may experience temporary redness, but these instances are rare. If you have sensitive skin, it is always a good idea to perform a patch test in a small area before applying silicone-based products more extensively to ensure your skin does not have an adverse reaction.
1. Is silicone toxic?
Silicone, such as dimethicone, used in cosmetics has not been found to be toxic. However, it can cause blemishes and worsen existing skin issues if not properly cleansed.
2. Can silicone clog pores and cause acne?
Silicone itself does not directly clog pores or cause acne. However, its occlusive nature can lead to pore-clogging and contribute to acne if not thoroughly washed off.
3. How can you identify silicone in skincare products?
The term “silicone” may not be explicitly listed in the product details. Instead, look for ingredients ending in “ane” or “one,” which often indicate the presence of silicone derivatives.
4. Is glycerin the same as silicone?
No, there is a fundamental difference between silicone and glycerin. Silicone is a non-toxic synthetic compound composed of silica, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. Glycerin, on the other hand, is a natural organic compound derived from animal fats or vegetable oils.
5. Can silicone sheets be reused?
Yes, silicone sheets can be reused. It’s important to wash them daily before reapplication.
A1 Silicones is a global silicone distributor of famous silicone brands such as Momentive, Bostik, Dow Corning, etc. We have 13 years of experience in the silicone field to ensure that we bring our customers good silicone solutions best for your production process.
If you find Silicone for Skin and Person Care, Contact A1 Silicones
See more: Medical Grade Silicone