Do you need to steer clear of silicones?
Silicones are one of the most widely used ingredients in the beauty industry, but thanks to the misconceptions prevalent in the beauty industry, silicones have earned a terrible reputation! But believing in science means not demonising ingredients without understanding context. So, here’s your 101 on silicones to help you decide whether you hate them, tolerate them or love them. The choice is yours!
What are silicones?
Silicones are a group of ingredients derived from silica. The fluid properties of silicones give them a great deal of slip, so they are often used in products to give them a silky, smooth finish. The most popular silicones are dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and phenyl trimethicone.
Let’s address some common myths about silicones.
Myth #1: Silicones Don’t Really Do Anything in Skin Care, They’re Just Filler Ingredients
Silicones do more than just acting as fillers for formulation texture & feel. Silicones form a protective barrier that locks in moisture and keeps the skin hydrated. Some silicones even temporarily fill in dents and fine lines on the skin surface, effectively smoothing the skin’s texture. They are very effective in controlling the skin’s TEWL (Trans-Epidermal Water Loss) due to their film forming properties.
Myth #2: Silicones Clog Pores and Cause Acne
The molecular structure (larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule) of commonly used silicones makes it impossible for them to clog pores. Firstly - the molecules in silicones are too big to be absorbed by the skin. Secondly – they’re porous, which means that other ingredients can seep through them. In fact, silicones are classed as non-comedogenic, which in fact means they DON’T clog pores.
Myth #3: Silicones Don’t Let Actives Get Through
All ingredients have to be suspended in some base formula. Some of those ingredients stay on the skin surface, some absorb into the skin layers. Silicones form a barrier that is both protective and breathable. This means silicones remain on the skin surface because of their molecular properties, but the other ingredients they are mixed with filter through.
Myth #4: Silicones are Toxic
This is just one of the myths that stems from the “natural is better” idea. Extensive safety and toxicology evaluations have been conducted on silicones that prove that silicones pose no risk when applied to the skin. In fact, silicones are used extensively in medical treatments like ointments and cream - that’s just how safe they are!
All in all, you don’t need to worry about silicones in your skincare regime. They are one of the safest ingredients out there. But if you have more questions about them, just hit us up in the comments.