The words " silicones free" in the description of cosmetics have become a popular marketing ploy. The media talk a lot about the dangers of these substances, while different types of silicones can be found in many cosmetic products from shampoos to face creams. Let’s figure out whether silicones are so dangerous and how to recognize them in cosmetics.
Silicones give cosmetics a smooth and uniform structure. Thanks to them, it is well distributed over the skin or hair. In addition, silicones have a hydrophobic property so they repel water and therefore are poorly washed off. Silicones make cosmetics more steady and are often added to moisturizing products. If the cream has a delicate structure and does not leave a sticky feeling on the skin, it is likely to contain silicones.
Scientists can not yet unambiguously agree on whether silicones are harmful in cosmetics. Anyway, officially these substances are not considered hazardous and are approved for use. Adherents of natural care products consider silicones as a threat. Moreover, silicone is criticized and praised for the same property: its hydrophobicity, which creates a barrier on the skin or hair.
Silicones soften the skin and make it smoother. As part of the primers, they level the surface of the skin, give it a healthy glow and leave a pleasant feeling.
Silicones create a kind of film on the surfaces. In hair products manufacturers often write that they “seal” the hair, making it smooth. Such a barrier prevents external contaminants from entering the skin.
People who say that cosmetics with silicones can cause an allergic reaction are right, but the same can be said about any cosmetic components. Brands and influencers that promote natural self-care and “pure beauty”, often put an equal sign between the words “organic” and “safe”. It is important to understand that natural components can also be allergens and the likelihood of this is even higher than in the case of artificial ingredients.
Due to the silicone barrier, you may feel that the skin is saturated with moisture, and the wrinkles are filled. This is why it seems that products with silicones instantly moisturize and smooth the skin. This is a temporary effect as silicones are not able to penetrate deeply into the skin, which means they do not really nourish it.
Those who practice multi-stage self-care “cleansing-toning-moisturizing” should pay attention to whether there are silicones in the first-use products. Gel for face washing with silicones can reduce the effectiveness of all subsequent products as they simply will not be absorbed by the skin due to silicone film. But the silicones in a primer will not interfere with proper care.
The main disadvantage of silicones in cosmetics is that they are difficult to remove from the skin. The film created by this component becomes not only an external but also an internal barrier. As a result, it is difficult for the skin to get rid of keratinized cells. Regular exposure to silicones creates a multilayer film that clogs pores. As a result, it disrupts oxygen metabolism, increases greasiness, and runs the risk of comedones.
If you notice that your skin becomes dull, lifeless, and oily then take a closer look at your everyday face care and consult a dermatologist as probably the silicones in your cosmetic are to blame.
There are more than 300 possible ingredients in cosmetics that are made from or contain silicones, the most popular among them is dimethicone. These polymers may have a purely synthetic form or may be combined with natural substances. Commonly you can identify a silicone-based cosmetic ingredient by the ending of the word on the ingredients list on the back of the product packaging. To find them look for such endings as ‘-cone’ or ‘-oxane’.