Skincare Ingredients to Avoid, Part 3: Silicone

A popular ingredient in skincare and cosmetics, silicone is advertised as a miracle solution for everything from concealment to anti-aging. However, recent studies show that the same qualities that make the mineral attractive to cosmetic manufacturers can prove problematic to users over time.

Silicone Minerals Used in PowdersSources & Cosmetic Application

Silica is a naturally-occurring mineral in the earth’s crust. For use in skincare products, it is usually ground into a fine powder. In this form, the silica can be added to cosmetics to provide light-dissolving and oil-absorbing characteristics. It is no surprise that silica can be found in so many skin products; the mineral does have cosmetic attributes:

  • The large molecules cannot be absorbed into the skin and so form a layer on top of the skin that prevents moisture from escaping.
  • The powdery texture tends to fill in fine lines and large pores, giving the skin a smoother texture.
  • The mineral absorbs oil and retains a matte finish.

Disadvantages for Skin and Health

For purely cosmetic purposes, silica sounds like a dream come true. However, prolonged use can have negative consequences on the skin and perhaps even your health.

While silica does act as a moisture sealant, it also seals in the bacteria and toxins that the skin is trying to release. When bacteria has nowhere to go, it remains in the pores, clogging and inflaming them. This situation causes acne breakouts and allergic reactions, especially for users with sensitive skin.

Possible Health Risks

Another more sobering fact is that silica may be a carcinogen according to California Proposition 65, and has been linked with many health complications in high concentrations.

While it has not been proven that the form of silica that is used in makeup can have adverse health effects, crystalline silica dust is known to cause lung problems when inhaled. Crystalline silica has also been linked with illnesses from cancer to kidney disease. There is even a respiratory disease named after it –  silicosis.

How to Avoid it

Silica is not an easy skincare ingredient to avoid. The mineral is most commonly found in the following products:

  • Skin serums
  • Moisturizers
  • Mineral foundations
  • Liquid foundations
  • Skin primers
  • Concealers
  • Reconstructive hair serums
  • Hair conditioners

Like many other minerals and mineral compounds, ingredients derived from silica go by many names. Here are some ingredients to lookout for:

  • Silicone oil
  • Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS),
  • Dimethicone,
  • Cyclomethicone,
  • Cetyl dimethicone,
  • Cyclopentasiloxane,
  • Phenyl Trimethicone

Living Clean is proud to provide customers with a selection of all-natural, silicone-free personal care products.

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