Should You Be Avoiding Silicones In Your Beauty Products?


Over the years, beauty brands and consumers have become a lot more conscious about product safety. The once-popular preservative, paraben, has been deemed a dangerous ingredient for its potential to cause disruptions to the endocrine system. While experts, brands and consumers agree and support the removal of some ingredients, one group of ingredients that is still up for debate are silicones. There are those that are adamant that silicones cause harm and others that say it’s perfectly fine. So, which one is it?


First things first, what are silicones?

Many would be surprised to hear that silicones actually start their journey from sand. They are a group of semi-liquid substances derived from silica, and silica is the main component of sand. To make silicones, it goes through a significant amount of chemical processes, thus it cannot fall under the “natural” umbrella.

Depending on the type, silicones can give emollient, smoothing or occlusive properties. Although it’s been demonised over the years, its skin-feel is unmatched with any other ingredient. As a result, it’s still one of the most popular ingredients in personal care, including those that treat wounds and scars.

One quick and easy way to determine whether your product contains silicones or not is to look out for ingredients that end with “cone” or “ane”.


So, should silicones be avoided?

Let’s turn to science to help us set the record straight on some of the claims.


Claim #1: Silicones don't provide any benefit

In terms of skincare benefits, this claim is true. It has no function in treating skincare concerns. Where the benefits lie is in the texture and finish. It’s a common misconception that silicones are just filler ingredients but, without them, the skin feel is just not as pleasant. Some silicones can help keep skin looking matte, blur the look of pores and temporarily smooth out the skin.

Claim #2: Silicones suffocate the skin

The structure of silicones allows for air and water to permeate through as per normal. It does not prevent active ingredients from working, prevent a person’s ability to perspire or suffocate the skin.

Claim #3: Silicones cause breakouts

Silicone are occlusive ingredients so their main purpose is to create a film on the skin to keep environmental aggressors out, but they also trap oil, dirt and dead skin cells which can cause breakouts especially for those with acne prone skin. Therefore, it’s important to cleanse the skin thoroughly before layering products on. Dermatologist say that if you’re not typically prone to breakouts, silicones shouldn’t cause any damage.

Claim #4: Silicones clog pores

Contrary to popular belief, silicones do not clog pores. As mentioned before, their permeable characteristics make it impossible for them to clog pores. However, if you neglect a proper cleansing routine then there is a likelihood to clog pores, but this does not just apply for silicones but other ingredients as well. This is why cleansing is such an essential step in a good skincare routine.

Claim #5: Silicones are hard to wash off

Because of their hydrophobic nature, it is true that silicones are harder to wash off. However, this would be the same with any kind of oils. The best way to wash off silicone-based products is to use an oil-based cleanser or double cleanse to ensure thorough removal.


Based on the above, there shouldn’t be any threat or major concerns with using silicones. While it’s not necessary to include silicones in your skin care routine, it’s also necessary to eliminate them either. If you prefer to go a little more natural and eco-friendly with your skincare products then we would suggest opting for products that claim to be silicone-free.

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