As the consumers are becoming more and more informed about the cosmetic products they are slathering on their skin, many skincare ingredients which were once religiously been used in cosmetic products are now being questioned. For example, the sulphates and the parabens which were once used in each and every cosmetic product, are now known to have a damaging effect on the skin and hair. Hence, all the beauty brands are now avoiding the usage of parabens and sulphates in their skincare and haircare formulations. According to experts, there are many other ingredients such as phthalates, formaldehydes etc which need to be avoided in beauty products. One beauty ingredient whose existence in cosmetic products is still in question is Silicone. What is your opinion about the presence of Silicone in cosmetic products? There are people out there who are in favour of Silicone and others who are against the usage of Silicone in cosmetic products. What is the role of silicone in beauty products and how does it affect your health?
Also Read : Parabens - All you Need to Know
Silicone is a semi-liquid substance which is made with the combination of silica, oxygen, and other elements including carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is derived from silica which is the main component of sand, but that doesn’t mean that silicone is a natural derivative, as it needs to undergo chemical processing, which makes it is a synthetic ingredient. The Silicone thus obtained is used in many skincare and haircare formulations. The thought of having a synthetic ingredient in your beauty product may leave you baffled. But is the presence of Silicone in cosmetic products- a matter of concern? Let us find out.
Role Of Silicones In Beauty Products
The best and easy way to spot the presence of Silicone in any beauty product is to check the label for the list of ingredients. Check for the ingredients which have a suffix as –cone or –siloxane. Some of the terms which indicate the presence of Silicone in the formulation are
- Cone- amodimethicone, dimethicone, trimethicone, methicone
- Siloxane- cyclopentasiloxane, polydimethylsiloxane, siloxane
Silicones are found in beauty products ranging from skincare, haircare and makeup products. Silicones are extensively used in beauty products because it is known to form a thin protective film on the surface of your skin, preventing loss of water, keeping your skin moisturized for a longer time and acts as a breathable film. Silicone in beauty products helps to enhance the texture, appearance and feel of your skin. It also helps to improve the product performance by making your skin soft, smooth and gives a silky finish to your skin. Another important role of Silicones in your beauty products is that it adds shine to your skin and helps to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
Silicone in the beauty products acts as an emulsifier which helps to combine other active ingredients in the formula, its emollient properties help to make your skin soft and smooth. It also acts as a surfactant which helps in even application of the product on your skin/hair and helps to enhance the performance of the formula. Silicone helps to add thickness to the product formula.
Silicones are also known for their repairing, protecting and healing properties due to which it is used in many skin care ointments for treating the wounds and healing scars.
Also Read : Why Are Silicones So Controversial In Hair Care
Reasons why Silicones Have Become A Cause Of Concern
Silicones are generally considered to be safe for topical application. They are known to give a smooth texture, a matte finish to your skin and also help to increase the performance of the product formula in many beauty products. They have some drawbacks as well due to which people want to boycott use of Silicones from their beauty regime. Let us have a look at some of the reasons why Silicones have become a cause of concern:
1. Silicones Benefits Are Only Superficial
Silicones are known to be beneficial for your skin only if you are dealing with an open wound. They are in the beauty products just to provide a feel-good-factor to your product formula. Your skin doesn’t actually benefit from Silicone-based formulas, as they may make your skin feel soft, smooth and moisturized but the moment you wash your face, the benefits are gone. Silicone-based products do not provide any long term benefit to your skin.
2. Silicones Get Stuck Inside The Pores And Are Difficult To Wash Off
Silicones are considered to be hydrophobic in nature as they repel water. Hence silicone-based products which get stuck inside the pores are difficult to wash off. You need to cleanse your face by the oil cleansing method to get rid of Silicone particles from the skin. So before going to bed, remember to clean your face thoroughly if you are using Silicone based products.
3. Silicones Interfere With Cell Regeneration
Silicones are known to interfere with the cell regeneration process as your skin cells regenerate in every 28 days, but Silicones delay this natural cell regeneration process by slowing down the production of new skin cells and retaining the older and dead skin cells for a longer time.
4. Silicones Can Cause Breakout
Silicones forms a thin breathable film over the surface of the skin protecting your skin from the environmental aggressors. But at the same time, they also trap the dirt, dust, grime and dead skin cells under the skin, causing breakouts.
5. Silicones Interfere With Product Layering
If you are using a silicone-based serum then it will not allow other ingredients of the skincare products to reach your skin as Silicone molecules are larger and tend to sit on the surface of your skin blocking the way for other ingredients to reach the skin. If you apply a moisturizer after applying a Silicone-based product, then your skin will not get the benefits of a moisturizer as Silicone blocks the absorption of the moisturizer. So practically anything applied after a Silicone-based product is useless. Thus, people are recommended to use Silicon-based products at the end of the skincare regime.
6. Silicones Act As A Filler
Silicones act as fillers or inert substances in your skincare products, whose benefits are only short term and have no significant long term use for your skin and hair. Silicones are beneficial for wound healing but should be avoided in everyday use.
7. Silicones Are Not Eco-Friendly
Some types of Silicone such as siloxanes may be harmful to the environment as they are not biodegradable in nature. Silicones can have an adverse effect on the environment especially aquatic life if dumped in water resources without treating.
Though Silicones are used in major cosmetic products, which can give your skin and hair temporary gloss, making them soft and smooth, but once you wash off the products its effects are washed down the drain. Hence, many beauty brands are avoiding Silicones in their formulations.
Silicones form a thin layer over the surface of the skin, keeping your skin moisturized for a longer period of time and protecting it from environmental aggressors. But it traps dirt, dust, grime and dead skin cells underneath which results in the formation of acne and pimples. Silicones provide a temporary gloss to your strands but accumulate on your strands over a period of time, making your hair dull, dry and lifeless. But Silicones are considered to be quite safe for topical use and it’s not necessary that you should totally avoid Silicone-based beauty products. If not for daily use, you could use it once in a while.
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