What Is Dimethicone? The Essential Skincare Alphabet

This is just my opinion, but I feel like dimethicone is not spoken about enough. It’s strange because it’s controversial and used often.

If you work in the beauty industry, you aren’t likely to agree with the above sentiment however, ask someone who doesn’t pay attention to beauty. I reckon they’d know nothing of this polarising ingredient.

Well, lets take a look at what it is.

What is dimethicone?

It is a silicon based polymer that is used in beauty and haircare products to give them a super smooth formula.

There are lots of different kinds of silicons in beauty, dimethicone is just one.

There has been some controversy about silicones in general. Most of this was not based on published research but on anecdotal evidence suggesting silicone are irritating and suffocating on the skin.

There is even a study from 2014 (while slightly old in terms of research, I think it is still useful) that assessed the safety of 62 dimethicone crosspolymer ingredients as used in cosmetics.

It found that all of the dimethicone crosspolymer ingredients are safe in the practices of use and concentration found in cosmetics.

What are dimethicone’s sources?

These tend to be made in a lab.

Is it vegan?

Yes, because they are made in labs. It does not contain any animal products.

What are it’s uses and potential side effects?

In beauty products it’s very much about changing the texture of the product. It provides a silky, smooth feel that few other ingredients can replicate.

It’s also used as an emollient and has properties that can lock moisture into the skin’s barrier.

This study concluded it functions mainly in skincare and haircare as an:

  • absorbents
  • bulking agents
  • film former
  • hair-conditioning agent
  • emollient skin-conditioning agent
  • slip modifier
  • surface modifier
  • nonaqueous viscosity-increasing agent

It’s side effects can vary from person to person and none are guaranteed. The most common complaints about this ingredient, are that it irritates, stings and causes redness to the skin.

Today, there are no product recommendations because it’s mostly texture and this ingredient is found in SO many things. In fact, unless the product states that it is silicone-free, it probably has this in it.

For a look at other product recommendations, for other ingredients click here. If not please subscribe to my mailing list below!

References

Becker LC, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, et al. Safety Assessment of Dimethicone Crosspolymers as Used in Cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology. 2014;33(2_suppl):65S-115S. doi:10.1177/1091581814524963

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