Silicone Mythbusting

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How to cite: Wong M. Silicone Mythbusting. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. June 1, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2024.

This post is sponsored by Grant Industries.

Silicones are one of the Big Bad ingredients in skincare, make-up and haircare. They’ve been demonised by natural brands, and there are more warnings about them than you can count. So I was delighted when Grant Industries (ingredient manufacturer, maker of Granactive Retinoid, physical sunscreens and of course, silicones) asked me to do a video to bust some myths about silicones.

For the video, click here – otherwise, here’s the wordy version!

Silicone Mythbusting Video

What is a silicone?

Silicones in beauty products are organosiloxanes. These contain alternating silicone-oxygen-silicone atoms, bonded to carbon. They’re made from sand (silicon dioxide).

There are a few different types of silicones in products, with varying properties and uses. In general, their names end in -cone, conol or -siloxane (ingredients that end in -silane usually don’t contain enough silicone to be classified as silicones and have different properties).

The major types of silicones are:

  • Small silicones: these tend to be very liquid, are often volatile (evaporate and don’t stay on hair or skin), e.g. phenyl trimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane
  • Silicone polymers: long chain molecules made up of repeating siloxane units, can be liquid or solid, e.g. dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS), polysilicone-11, polymethylsilsesquioxane
  • Functionalised silicones: contain other atoms on their structures which give them special properties on top of the usual silicone properties, e.g. amodimethicone, dimethiconol

Silicone Types

Related post: Amodimethicone: The Science of My Favourite Hair Ingredient

Why are silicones in beauty products?

Silicones have been used and researched since the 1950s, and are super common in beauty products, for good reason. They have some really cool properties that other ingredients just don’t have.

A lot of this comes from the fact silicones are very unreactive ingredients with a smooth glide. They’re also cruelty-free and vegan.

In skincare:

  • Silicones are hypoallergenic, non-irritating and non-comedogenic
  • They’re good moisturisers, and help products spread on your skin
  • They can enhance the penetration of active ingredients, and protect them from degrading before you apply them
  • Waterproofing silicones can be used in sunscreens to help them stay on
  • Silicones can be used to coat mineral sunscreen particles to stop clumping and to reduce free radical formation in sunlight
  • Silicones can also be used to protect your skin from wind and chafing.

In make-up:

  • Silicones glide onto your skin, so make-up blends easily
  • In make-up primers, they fill in lines and pores, making skin look plumper with less wrinkles, giving a smooth canvas for make-up
  • Silicones can give longwear properties to foundations and lipsticks, while keeping them flexible enough not to crack
  • Mattifying silicones can blur light, making skin look airbrushed

In hair care products:

Silicone Myths

So if silicones are so great, why are there so many myths about them?

Like with a lot of other beauty topics online, you’ll see myths that have no basis in reality, and you have myths that start with a grain of truth and quickly mutate into something else entirely.

Silicones are synthetic and not natural

This is true, and coupled with the fact they’re so popular, I think this is the main reason there are so many myths about silicones!

Related post: Are Natural Beauty Products Better? (Video)

I’ve covered this topic before in an older video. Us humans have a bias towards thinking that natural means better, safer, more environmentally friendly, etc.

But that’s not true. Natural does not mean safer, and synthetic does not mean more dangerous for you or the environment! The most toxic substances in the world are natural. In beauty products, natural plant extracts are some of the ingredients that cause the most irritation and allergic reactions. When we use natural products, sometimes it’s incredibly destructive to the environment – things like palm oil, sandalwood, ivory, shark’s fin. You can check out my video on whether natural is better if you want more details.

So if the word “natural” doesn’t mean much – let’s ignore the “natural” part, and focus on the actual issues instead: the perception that natural things are safer for your body in terms of health, and better for the environment.

Silicones are bad for sensitive skin

This isn’t true – in fact it’s the opposite! Silicones are frequently used in medicine because they’re so hypoallergenic, non-irritating and unreactive.

Allergies to silicones are very rare even though they’re used so much, and dimethicone is even listed as FDA-approved skin protectant (and has been used effectively in products to decrease skin irritation). Most people can put undiluted dimethicone on their skin with no issues.

Silicones are toxic for your body

This is another one of those myths that grew from the whole “natural is better” notion. Silicones are actually very safe! They haven’t been linked to cancer or hormone disruption or any other long-term health effects, and regulatory authorities around the world (Health Canada, European Union’s Scientific Committee on Consumer SafetyUK Environment AgencyCosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR)Australia’s Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP)) have said that they’re not a risk to humans.

(Note: I’ve linked assessments of small cyclic silicones like cyclopentasiloxane, since those are considered the most risky.)

Silicones are used in lots of medicated treatments like ointments and creams, and even inside the body in medical devices, pacemakers and hydrocephalic shunts in the brain. Silicones (specifically simethicone) are also in anti-farting oral medication, where it breaks up gas bubbles.

Silicones suffocate your skin and cause acne

A lot of the logic for why silicones are bad comes from the idea that they form a an occlusive, solid film on the skin. For example, you’ll often see that silicones are described as a “layer of rubber”, or that they trap dirt and germs in your pores like plastic wrap. Supposedly, this film interferes with your skin’s natural processes, so your skin can’t exfoliate, sweat, regulate its temperature properly, or even produce cells (though I’m not sure how that works, since cells are produced way lower than silicones can reach).

But this isn’t the case, and it’s hard to work out where it comes from other than just speculation – there’s zero research that shows any of this! (And in fact, there’s a study that found positive effects on skin physiology when a dimethicone-containing product was used.)

Silicones actually form a breathable layer on your skin – they’re permeable to oxygen and water vapour, and this is actually a problem when silicone rubber is used in equipment, since it can’t actually form a gas-tight seal. Oxygen and water molecules can wiggle out in between the flexible siloxane chains in a silicone layer.

Silicones also have low comedogenicity according to standard tests – dimethicone has a rating of 1, while cyclomethicone has a rating of 0. Any ingredient can cause acne, and silicones are the same as any other ingredient in that regard.

Related post: How to Use Comedogenicity Ratings (with Video)

If you’ve used some products in the past and you’ve concluded that silicones are problematic for you – keep this in mind:

Lots of people will get breakouts from products and look for ingredients common in ingredients lists, and see dimethicone or other silicones and blame that. But silicones are incredibly common, some of the most common ingredients after water. And since so many products have silicones – somewhere around half of all skincare products – the chance of seeing them as ingredients in products that break you out is super high, even if they’re not actually the culprit.

There’s a perception that because silicones are used for longwear products, they’re hard to remove from your skin at the end of the day, and build up on your skin. But it’s really hard to make anything occlusive that stays on forever, because you shed one layer of skin cells a day. A buildup of silicone on your skin just doesn’t happen.

Silicones just makes your skin look nice but don’t actually do anything/makes your skin worse

In general, this is talking about dimethicone is in skincare, and it’s a similar accusation that gets thrown at petrolatum or petroleum jelly as well – that it forms an impenetrable occlusive film on your skin that dries out your skin and make it dehydrated.

But apart from the fact that water can actually pass through silicone films, some studies also show that silicones can improve your skin!

  • In one study, 2% silicone in cream led to greater skin hydration and lower TEWL than cream alone, so while it wasn’t entirely occlusive, it did help prevent water loss.
  • Another study found that TEWL was unaffected, which means that it wasn’t occlusive and it didn’t moisturise.
  • This study found positive effects on skin physiology when dimethicone was applied in combination with glycerin.

So silicone’s effect on the skin is dependent on the formulation, and the silicone used. Dimethicone also has protectant properties for your skin, and it’s included as a skin protectant on the FDA’s list of drug ingredients.

Actives can’t get through silicones

Silicones aren’t entirely occlusive, and the film they form breaks down over time. Silicones are actually used to deliver active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, and petroleum jelly, which is much more occlusive, is used for this as well. So yes, active ingredients can get through silicone films, and it won’t build up on your skin. Dimethicone also usually isn’t in products at a very high concentration, and even when it’s meant to form a barrier, sometimes… it just doesn’t work. Depending on your products though, within your skincare routine, it still might make sense to layer it over other ingredients if you want more immediate effects.

Silicones do nothing for your hair except coat it and make it look shiny

It’s true that silicones form a shiny coating on your hair… but this is a good thing!

Hair is pretty fragile, and if your hair is damaged it tends to snag, which leads to more damage. Smoothing out your hair is good – it stops cuticle scales from snapping off (which is what happens when you feel friction when you pull a comb through your hair), and it can make it stronger and more resistant to snapping. Silicones also protect your hair from heat when you dry or curl or straighten it. So they’re great at protecting your hair from damage, which is definitely doing something for your hair!

There’s one potential issue here though. Hairdressers tend to hate silicones because they can stay on your hair and affect the results of treatments or affect their assessments of your hair, so colouring and perming might not turn out as predicted. To avoid this issue, use a clarifying treatment before you go to the hairdresser, and stop using silicones a few days before you go to the salon.

Silicones stay on your hair and weigh it down

This can be the case for some people, for particular silicones. Different people have different hair needs, and not all silicones are the same. This “your mileage may vary” concept applies to other hair ingredients too, like oils and fatty alcohols.

For example, before I bleached and dyed my hair, I found that dimethicone was fantastic for my hair. Now it can sometimes feel a little heavy, but amodimethicone is amazing. It wasn’t heavy enough for my hair before bleaching, but now it’s perfect for targeting damage.

Related post: Amodimethicone: The Science of My Favourite Hair Ingredient

Silicones are non-biodegradable and toxic for the environment

Technically yes, silicones aren’t really biodegradable. But it’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

“Biodegradable” means that something can be broken down by living things (e.g. bacteria). But non-biodegradable doesn’t mean that something is bad. For example, glass is non-biodegradable, but it’s inert and non-toxic, therefore it isn’t a big issue.

Silicones, on the other hand, aren’t biodegradable, but they are degradable – they degrade in the environment, and turn back into silica (sand), carbon dioxide and water.

For example, dimethicone is non-biodegradable, but it’s mostly removed in wastewater treatment, and degrades in contact with clays and sediment. It’s not very water soluble, so most of the time it ends up touching clay or sediment and degrading – just without any intervention by living organisms.

A lot of silicones also evaporate and degrade when they meet UV in sunlight and oxygen in the air. For most cyclic silicones used in beauty products, half will break down in 2 weeks. In soil and sediment, they break down in less than 2 years. This is relatively persistent from an environmental chemistry standpoint, but it’s really quick compared to the non-biodegradable things we usually think of, like plastics, which take thousands of years to break down. It’s also worth noting that the concentrations around the world are very low, even though we’ve been using them for a long time, which suggests that they’re not really building up in the environment.

The other issue is environmental toxicity. Most authorities around the world (Japan, Canada, Australia, US) think silicones are of little concern, given the low concentrations in the environment and their low solubility in water. The only region which has limits on silicones at the moment is the EU (ECHA), which limits D4 (cyclotetrasiloxane) and D5 (cyclopentasiloxane). The difference in the regulation between regions comes from Europe’s use of the precautionary principle, which means they focus on laboratory studies and the potential for harm over environmental evidence when making safety assessments.

At the moment with what we know, it doesn’t look like silicones are likely to be an environmental problem – although of course if new evidence comes up, it’ll need to be revisited.


Englert C et al., Pharmapolymers in the 21st century: Synthetic polymers in drug delivery applications, Progress in Polymer Science 2018, 87, 107–164. DOI: 10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2018.07.005

Aliyar H & Schalau G II, Recent developments in silicones for topical and transdermal drug delivery (open access), Ther Deliv 2015, 6, 827-839. DOI: 10.4155/tde.15.39

SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), Opinion on cyclomethicone D4/D5, 22 June 2010

Mojsiewicz-Pieńkowska K et al., Direct human contact with siloxanes (silicones) – safety or risk part 1. Characteristics of siloxanes (silicones) (open access), Front Pharmacol 2016, 7, 132. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00132

Draelos ZD et al., The effect of vehicle formulation on acne medication tolerabilityCutis 2008, 82, 281-284.

De Paepe K, Silicones as nonocclusive topical agentsSkin Pharmacol Physiol 2014, 27, 164-171. DOI: 10.1159/000354914

Kwon SB et al., The effect of glycerin, hyaluronic acid and silicone oil on the hydration, moisturization and transepidermal water loss in human skin (open access), Kor J Aesthet Cosmetol 2013, 11, 761-768.

Hoggarth A et al., A controlled, three-part trial to investigate the barrier function and skin hydration properties of six skin protectants (open access), Ostomy Wound Manage 2005, 51, 30-42.

Zhai H et al., A bioengineering study on the efficacy of a skin protectant lotion in preventing SLS-induced dermatitisSkin Res Technol. 2000, 6, 77-80.

Fowler JF Jr, Efficacy of a skin-protective foam in the treatment of chronic hand dermatitisAm J Contact Dermat 2000, 11, 165-9. DOI: 10.1053/ajcd.2000.7184

Yahagi K, Silicones as conditioning agents in shampoos, J Soc Cosmet Chem 1992, 43, 275-284.

Rücker C & Kümmerer K, Environmental chemistry of organosiloxanesChem Rev 2015, 115, 466-524. DOI: 10.1021/cr500319v

Nendza M, Hazard assessment of silicone oils (polydimethylsiloxanes, PDMS) used in antifouling-/foul-release-products in the marine environment, Mar Pollut Bull 2007, 54, 1190-1196. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2007.04.009

Bridges J & Solomon KR, Quantitative weight-of-evidence analysis of the persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, and potential for long-range transport of the cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes (open access), J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev 2016, 19, 345-379. DOI: 10.1080/10937404.2016.1200505

Gobas FA et al., Fugacity and activity analysis of the bioaccumulation and environmental risks of decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) (open access), Environ Toxicol Chem. 2015, 34, 2723-2731. DOI: 10.1002/etc.2942

Australia Department of Health, Cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes: Environment tier II assessment, 2 March 2018 (accessed 30 May 2019).

Lamb H, Scared sili: is tougher regulation required for silicone? E&T Magazine, 13 March 2019 (accessed 30 May 2019).

This video was sponsored by Grant Industries; however, the content is all my independent research and honest experience. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

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32 thoughts on “Silicone Mythbusting”

  1. This was an interesting and informative post, and I’m glad you put it out there. I had misconceptions about silicones for years, until I started getting serious about treating my skin problems – rosacea, dermatitis, and dandruff.

    I think the difference a silicone made in the efficiency of delivering a skincare active can be illustrated by my experience with using two skincare products: Melazapam cream, and The Ordinary’s azelaic acid suspension.

    We all know azelaic acid works really well to suppress the symptoms of rosacea, but it is a difficult ingredient, in some ways. It cannot be solubilized with water or oil. Most products I can buy in the market are quite expensive. So when I found ecological formula’s melezapam cream, I was eager to try it. The ingredient list looked very skin-friendly, with non-reactive ingredients, including safflower oil. (azelaic acid, safflower seed oil, propylene gycol, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, petrolatum, laureth-7, glyceryl stearate, isopropyl and benzyl alcohols, xanthan gum, potassium hydroxide and potassium sorbate)

    However, the melazapam cream did not spread evenly and had a slightly gritty texture. It was a 10% Azelaic acid formula; it took nearly 3 months before I saw any changes in my skin. I nearly gave up, because I thought it wasn’t working.

    I was convinced by a friend to try The Ordinary’s products, and encouraged by the company’s no-hassle return policy, I gave it a try. I did hesitate unlovingly when I read the ingredient list -( Aqua (Water), Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Isohexadecane, Tocopherol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Triethanolamine, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin)

    However, the Ordinary’s 10% azelaic acid cream spread evenly, and within 3 days, I started seeing changes; it took about 3 weeks, but my micro-pustules and redness from rosacea were reduced greatly – I’d estimate a good 80 to 90% reduction happened. There was absolutely no reaction from the silicones, and frankly I kind of enjoyed touching my face – the silicones helped provide a smooth barrier. my bb cream glided on nicely, and stayed put for an 8 hour workday instead of migrating to my nasolabial folds , as it usually did.

    I’m only an amateur when it comes to formulating DIY skincare, and I am no chemist, but I think I had enough evidence to prove to myself silicones were a benefit and not a hazard. I believe the difference in the formulas helped deliver the active ingredient to my skin in a better way.

    I am on my 4th purchase of The Ordinary, and I’d be happy to share photos of my skincare journey anytime.

    I hope your post gets people to take a second look at silicones – thanks!

  2. Thank you so much for this well-researched, well-reasoned article! I’ve seen other articles on beauty blogs extolling silicone-free products that didn’t even bother to say why that might be a good thing, so a good dose of facts is a welcome change.

  3. This was really interesting and informative, thank you! I definitely thought a couple of these myths were true. My only real issue with silicones is that I hate the slippery feeling they can give. It grosses me out for some reason.

  4. Thank you for the info, I have grown out my gray hair and have been doing the co-wash thing and read things that tell me silicone products are a big no-no because they weigh the curls down. It’s good to know their are different weights because I do still have fly-aways, and I think some amount of silicone will help maintain the curl better.

  5. I was disappointed to see you being asked (and paid?) to say good things about silicones by a company that makes them. That was warning flag # 1. You cannot be unbiased under such circumstances. I also noticed you using the pattern of arguments from The Skincare Edit to debunk the myths. I happen to agree with Skincare Edit, so for me, that was warning flag # 2. When I read the paragraph below (in quotes), it was the final blow. I know from talking to hair stylists and colourists that hair dye can get through ANYTHING, and if it cannot penetrate the silicone residue from shampoo, then much of what you have said cannot be true. I’m not a chemist to be sure, but I read a lot and research a lot (formerly a medical editor) so I followed up on your studies. A single study does not make a statement true or false. Also, Health Canada is looking into silicones as environmental hazards, and the FDA is notorious for not doing its job to protect consumers. The “precautionary principle” of the EU is much safer so I would be inclined to go with that rather than anything the FDA says.

    “There’s one potential issue here though. Hairdressers tend to hate silicones because they stay on your hair and stops treatments from getting to your hair, so colouring and perming might not turn out as predicted. To avoid this issue, use a clarifying treatment before you go to the hairdresser, and stop using silicones a few days before you go to the salon.”

    • I find it ironic that you say you disagree with the information presented here because there aren’t enough studies/anecdotal evidence from “talking to hairdressers”, yet your main reason is that you agree with The Skincare Edit, who generally cites zero studies, and promotes ideas that go against the scientific consensus, as well as the ideas of pseudoscientific quacks like Ray Peat. It’s especially disappointing that you were a medical editor, but you can’t see the contradiction in your point of view.

      • I have a PhD as well and am active in research. You CANNOT be objective when you are sponsored. Come on… Never again in this website

        • Maybe that’s the case in social sciences, but in the physical sciences and medical research, industry collaborations are very commonplace amongst leading researchers.

          • Acrylate co- and cross-polymers, nylon, polyacrylates, silsesquioxanes – the list of plastics hidden in cosmetics is long and confusing. Scientists are also concerned about this. “We can hardly estimate how these substances act in water bodies, especially not in combination,” says ecotoxicologist Stephan Pflugmacher-Lima of the Technical University of Berlin.

            Plastic gels or particles, for example, could deposit on algae and disrupt their photosynthesis. In fish, the gills could stick together. Water fleas would perform a “stress moult” if too many particles were deposited on them. “They do that twice – then they die,” Pflugmacher-Lima says.
            Must be nice to be paid by companies who don’t give a shit if it’s good or not, though.

          • Not all polymers are plastics, most of that list aren’t plastics – have a read of the EU legislation on this, they explain it nicely.

    • I am glad someone spoke up.

      The sponsorship of this post was a concern to me as well. There is no doubt this article is biased, the question is, does that make its contents untrue? I’d love to
      understand more about why the author posted a sponsored pro-silicone post. (Side note, I am not anti-silicone).

      Secondly, I took issue with this paragraph:

      “Natural does not mean safer, and synthetic does not mean more dangerous for you or the environment! The most toxic substances in the world are natural.”

      This is a clever and deliberate statement. The author clearly points out the fact that the natural beauty industry demonizes many synthetic ingredients, while this author passively demonizes natural ingredients. A more honest take would be “natural does not necessarily mean safer” and “SOME of the most toxic substances in the world are natural.” But clearly we are not putting the most toxic substances in our beauty products. Have you ever seen a natural beauty brand advertise arsenic, or cyanide? How about uranium?

      Thirdly, I would have loved for the author to expound upon this.

      “For example, dimethicone is non-biodegradable, but it’s mostly removed in wastewater treatment, and degrades in contact with clays and sediment. It’s not very water soluble, so most of the time it ends up touching clay or sediment and degrading – just without any intervention by living organisms.”

      Not all silicone is collected in wastewater treatments, and it doesn’t break down in water. What type of effect, if any, does this have on marine ecosystems?

      “It’s also worth noting that the concentrations around the world are very low, even though we’ve been using them for a long time, which suggests that they’re not really building up in the environment.”

      Just because concentrations are low doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not building up in the environment. Are we comparing environmental amounts to a previous time when silicones weren’t used?

      In summary, the article was very informative and I appreciated the references. But it was clearly a silicone-sponsored post and not without its biases.

      • Re: natural ingredients – I’ve expanded more on this point in my past video (which I linked) on natural ingredients. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to making a blog post version of the video yet, but if you don’t want to watch it you can look at the transcript on YouTube. In it there’s a graph showing that the most toxic substances in the world ARE all-natural (by several orders of magnitude). Natural beauty products also frequently contain mixtures of chemicals rather than simple, purified chemicals, so they’re not the best option for sensitive skin (which is also why dermatologists never recommend natural products). They also tend to have unpredictable compositions (“Apple Extract” can differ a lot in composition, but “propylene glycol” can’t). There’s also phototoxic and allergenic natural chemicals like lemon juice and essential oils.

        Re: effects on marine ecosystems and buildup – the video was already quite long and this part got very technical, so I highly recommend going to the NICNAS report I linked for more information.

  6. Thanks, Michelle, for yet more ammo for my “Silicones are GREAT, dammit!” weapon box. I do get so tired of fools spouting nonsense on the net and other fools believing it and helping to spread their “gospel,” and meanwhile, they’re suffering with all manner of skin problems that could potentially be solved if only they’d break down and use this product containing silicones, or that one. Sigh.

    I need a little bit of help with a sentence in this article, though; I can’t tell whether there’s an error in it, or whether my oldening, decaying, frustrating brain is simply failing to parse it:

    *most of the time it ends up touching clay or so therefore probably ends up touching clay or sediment and degrading*

    The problem starts with the “or so,” and continues in through the “probably ends up touching clay,” which is the second reference to clay-touching. I’d like to understand that paragraph, but this sentence is stopping me from doing so. I’d be grateful if you’d help me out with it.

    As always, thanks ever so much for trying to help people out using SCIENCE and not woo (or worse, even: an empty skull or faulty gray matter). I appreciate you a lot!

    • I think Michelle just accidentally repeated “ends up touching clay”. I’m guessing she meant “most of the time it ends up touching clay or sediment and so therefore probably ends up degrading”.

  7. I adore silicones in my skincare but my hair struggles to find one that works for me. From what the internet says, you need sulfates to remove silicone but my hair tends to overproduce oil without the most gentle, sulfate free cleanser so I’ve been avoiding silicones. I was wondering if you just need any surfactant to remove silicones from hair or if you it’s just sulphates.

  8. Haven’t tried using silicone for my skincare and hair. I had a good read in this article. It’s very in-depth and well researched! Anyway, thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  9. The only reason I avoid silicones in hair products is because of the buildup or residue it leaves on my hair. I can feel it and even scrap it off with a fine blade. When I avoid silicone conditioners (or shampoos) that doesn’t happen. Alternatively, silicons don’t bother me in facial products; I’m assuming that’s because I wash ‘em off at night and don’t apply them until the morning.

  10. Thanks for the article! I think you kick ass and are a total inspiration! Keep outshining ‘em, girl.

  11. When a silicone’s job in a product is to absorb oil (or at least I assume this is what’s happening?), such as in a dry shampoo or no denim powder, would it then be drying to your skin? I’ve been wondering about this question a lot lately so I was glad to see your article & hope someone can answer this more specific question

    As far as I know, one of the main reasons for avoiding silicones in hair products (at least among people with curly hair) is that it takes a strong surfactant (sulfate) to remove them and sulfate shampoos are generally considered to harsh for people with this hair type. I think a commenter above mentioned this as well.

  12. OMG I just found your website and I’m gonna share it with the world. It’s so hard to find evidence based advice on beauty/hair care product. Thanks for this.

  13. Everytime I need to remember that silicones aren’t the devil and “natural” doesn’t equal safe and perfect, and everything is a chemical, I come to your blog and read one of your myth-busting articles about silicones or “bad chemicals”. Then I remove the hemp seed oil and the face cream full of irritating essential oils from my cart. My skin, my hair and I say thank you. 🙂

  14. Hi Michelle, I have a very oily skin especially around my nose. I’ve tried The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA and Cetaphil Moisturising Cream for Face and Body. TO didn’t break me out (which free from silicone) while Cetaphil (it contain dimethicone) did clogged pores around my nose and it was really painful. Since you’ve said silicone form a breathable layer on skin, so why does my skin get clogged and more whiteheads formed? I’m confused here.

    • Anyone can suffer irritation from any ingredient. There is no one size fits.

      I know that silicones are breathable and I don’t believe they’re toxic. But my skin doesn’t tolerate them and any sunscreen that contains them causes a breakout on my face within hours; so I avoid them myself.

      You have to find what work for you, regardless of the science.

  15. But chemically it’s got sooo many syllables! Hippie code for bad. (Ha, ha).
    Using silicones for a couple of helpful purposes and have a question for you. Silicone is being used for dermarolling scars. What do you think about using silicone or dimethicone when dermarolling around my mouth?

  16. Hey Michelle, so my dermatologist advised me to use a silicone gel (scaraway) for my hypertrophic scar. I found out that my La Roche Posay Cicablast has Dimethicone 1% as an active ingredient. Is it necessary to use the scaraway product as well or does the Dimethicone serve as a silicone for my scar?

    • The silicone gels for scars have way more silicone, and form a film on the skin – some of the benefit is from the massaging action so the Cicaplast will still work with that, but the film part is important too so I don’t think you’ll get the same effects. You can also get reusable silicone sheeting rather than a gel.


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