Have you ever showered with a shower gel that gives such silky feeling that you don’t want to ever leave? Well, silicones are responsible for this feeling. Also silicones can be found in most primers. They are ˝guilty˝ for the smooth effect and we can’t blame them. #sorrynotsorry

What are silicones ?

Silicones are synthetic organic polymers of silicon. They can form silicones, silicates, silanes, or siloxanes. These can connect to larger molecules, which are normally flexible.

  Chemical structure State of matter
1. Silicone oils (dimethicones, cyclomethicone…) Liquids
2. Silicone waxes (alyildimethicones) Resins
3. Silicone emulsifiers (silicone polyether) Elastomers (dimethicones)

Approximately 85% of all silicones in cosmetic products are classified as silicone oils. That’s why we’ll give them a little more attention.

Silicone oils

Dimethicones

Dimethicones are waterproof ingredients, that distribute well over surfaces and are inert (they don’t react with other compounds). In one of the studies, more than 60 different dimethicones were observed to see which one is most common in cosmetic products. The most commonly found are dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crospolymer (in 457 cosmetic products) and dimethicone crospolymer, which was present in 442 products.

Cyclomethycones

Cyclomethycones are volatile compounds, but they don’t leave a cold feeling while evaporating as ethanol does. They are odorless and non-toxic. Usually they are used as solvents or carrier systems for other silicones. With their incorporation into lipsticks, we can prolong their persistence.

Silicone waxes

Alkyldimethicones

Alkyldimethicones improve the compatibility of ingredients with oils and increase the stability of cosmetic products containing silicones. They work as moisturizers as well. They are used in many cosmetic products such as lipsticks, creams and lotions. They are very welcomed in suncreens since they are able to increase their effectivness.

When can we use silicones?

Silicones are safe and compatible (aren’t complicated and can get used to the new environment quickly). They are excellent ointments and lubricants, antifoams, emulsifiers, emollients and surfactants. Almost everything, right? But recently they are not that ˝in˝ anymore, since almost every package has a ˝without silicones˝ inscription.

Where can we use them?

Silicones are very common in decorative cosmetics and in skin care products. They are also found in products for children and products for sensitive skin, because they don’t irritate the skin. They are also suitable for application to deeper skin layers. Their origin isn’t animal so they are also suitable for vegans.

1. Hair: accelerated drying, increased shine, easier combing, regeneration

2. Give a good sensory feeling on the skin

3. Moisturizing (formation of a film that can beathe)

4. Skin protection (waterproof)

5. Cleaning ability (silicone powder – the ability to absorb lipophilic substances, including sebum)

6. Increase the effectiveness of active ingredients

7. Matting effect (for oily skin products, since silicones aren’t comedogenic)

8. Adhesion of pigments (used in primers under our make-up)

What are their advantages?

Silicones can get very well distributed and well smeared. They are surface-active (surfactants) substances that are colorless, tastless and odorless. Absence of color, taste and smell is very important in the formulation of cosmetics. They are inactive, temperaturely and chemically stable (they don’t interact with other substances).

Studies show that silicones are very safe for the consumer. They belong to the “Clean Beauty” substances. Clean Beauty is a platform where you can find safe products, they can be made of natural or synthetic materials. The point is, they are safe for the user.

Myths about silicones

“Silicones are toxic to nature because they rinse into rivers and seas.”

Health Canada has concluded that cyclomethicone (a type of silicone) has a low or no probability of environmental pollution and there is no necesity for any restrictions about the use of this substance. Very volatile silicones quickly evaporate and degrade in the air under the influence of the sun. Smaller quantities that remain in solid or liquid state are hydrolysed.

“We inhale silicones inhale and can be loaded in the lungs.”

Approximately 95-99% of the particles in sprays are bigger than 10 μm. According to the study, the particles inhabited by mistake are located and remain in the nasal cavity. They don’t go anywhere, regardless of the amount of silicones we inhale. So the chances of inhaling silicones, which can get and stay in the lungs is equal to almost 0.

“Silicones can clogg the pores.”

Silicones as substances aren’t occlusive (we still know what that means, right?), So they can’t clog the pores. They help to protect our epidermis and are also allowing our barrier to “breathe”. There are no reports proving that silicones irritate our skin, they actually do all the contrary, the feeling they leave is very ligh and soft.

However, due to the whole chaos, they are looking for alternative forms. Substances that are recently replacing silicones are olive oil derivatives, argan oil derivatives, coconut derivatives, alternatives to silicone elastomers, wheat sprouts.

In one study, however, it was confirmed that silicones pass the skin barrier and are loaded into epidermis. It’s expected to have negative effects on the epidermis, which we can see as a reduction of it. However, the whole study is imprecise, as they didn’t specify which parameters they took into consideration, so it’s difficult to be sure about the relevancy of this study.

Conclusion

If you are still afraid that the use of cosmetic products with silicone will clogg the pores, don’t worry, it won’t. Whether silicone compounds cross the skin barrier or not we know that such large compounds don’t cross neither healthy or damaged skin. Silicones have many advantages, even though they aren’t natural.

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