For starters, why don’t I inform you with one fact? Silicone might seem to you as one word identifying its own property. However, there’s silicon (minus the letter ‘e’ that is). The difference? The effects on skincare in particular is what today’s article will tackle…
Silicone Vs. Silicon (Scientifically Speaking)
Silicon is a naturally occurring chemical element. You might have come across it being the 14th element on the periodic table. It’s a metalloid, meaning it has properties of both metals and nonmetals, and is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, after oxygen.
Silicon readily bonds with oxygen and is rarely found in nature in its pure form. Silica is better known as quartz, which is the most common component of sand. As silica, silicon is a key ingredient in bricks, concrete and glass.
Silicone, on the other hand, is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements, most typically carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is generally a liquid or a flexible, rubberlike plastic, and has a number of useful properties, such as low toxicity and high heat resistance. It also provides good electrical insulation.
In the medical field, silicone can be found in implants, catheters, contact lenses, bandages and a variety of other things. You can also find silicone in a number of personal care items, including shampoos, shaving cream, personal lubricants..
Now, let’s talk beauty and skincare.. Regardless of one’s skin type, silicones are better be avoided.. The fact that they go under many names, makes it hard to identify and avoid silicones. Many beauty formulations, from makeup to skincare to haircare have silicones within their ingredients.. Spreading them on your face, hair or body is simply bad news..
Commonly used in beauty products, there are reasons why silicones are a main ingredient;
- They’re smoothing. Therefore they give products a silky, spreadable, luxurious texture. They fill in crevices to make skin look and feel smoother, even though it’s only a temporary, surface effect.
- They’re water-resistant. Silicones form a seal over the skin, which allows companies to claim longer-lasting (24- to 48-hour) “hydration” benefits. The same ingredient family is behind sweat-resistant sunscreens, and most makeup-setting sprays.
- They’re cheap. It is sad that beauty companies care more about the bottom line than actually helping your skin. They’d rather use cheap, man-made plastics as fillers than formulate with more expensive raw materials that may have a shorter shelf life.
Why you must avoid silicones..
Silicones form a barrier on top of your skin. That barrier can lock in moisture, yes, but it can also trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells and other debris along with it! That’s how insulating it really is.. Just like plastic wrap..
1 || Acne Breakouts.
If your skin is prone to breakout regularly then you must aim for products that are free from silicone. Oil, dead skin and bacteria underneath the semi-occlusive seal of silicones can lead to increased breakouts..
2 || A Dull and Dehydrated Complexion.
Clogging your pores can cause dryness and dullness instead of acne. Not only do silicones prevent additional moisture from getting in, but the impacted materials can dehydrate your pores and your skin becomes less able to shed dead layers and hydrate itself.
3 || Compromised Cell Renewal.
Naturally, our skin renews itself every 28 days, whereby old cells are sloughed off and new cells make their way up to the surface. Silicones inhibit this process by slowing down the production of new cells and keeping dead cells stuck longer. Impaired cell renewal could decelerate the improvement of conditions such as pigmentation, redness, fine lines and scarring!
4 || Silicones Block Other Ingredients from Absorbing
Layering products is our hobby isn’t it? However, when silicones are within the ingredients we layer, they can prevent them from doing their jobs properly. Silicone-based micellar water is an example. Any moisturizers or treatments you put on next would have a diminished ability to penetrate, rendering them less effective. Nightmare!
5 || Silicones Are Difficult to Remove
Dimethicone is the mostly used form of silicones. It is extremely heavy and leaves a coating on the skin unless it is carefully removed.
This is why nightly double cleansing is recommended, to properly remove the silicones from your skin—a single pass with a regular face wash simply isn’t enough!
6 || Silicones Have Zero Benefit To Your Skin
Remember, smoothing products are heavy in silicones, and when you think you’re hydrating and doing good to your skin, in fact you are being tricked by silicones’ impact..
How To Identify Silicones On Product Labels
Always look for words that end in one of these:
- Cones: For example, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone, trimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone.
- Conols: For example, dimethiconol.
- Silanes: For example, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, triethoxycaprylylsilane, triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer.
- Siloxanes: For example, cyclopentasiloxane, polydimethylsiloxane, siloxane