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Silicones: Good, Bad, Necessary?


By: Paolo Giacomoni, PhD. Posted: 11/26/2015

Silicones are artificial, synthetic molecules made up with Silicium and Oxygen. Silicones can be small molecules, or big polymers. Silicones may be listed on product labels as cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone and phenyl trimethicone. Though safe, they are not biodegradable and therefore they risk accumulating in the environment.

Because of their properties, silicones are often used to confer a silky feeling to products for topical application. However, this effect is accompanied with a less desirable effect: often silicones bind to active ingredients not allowing them to penetrate in the skin to exert the desired effect. Often times a product containing silicones turns out to be less effective than a product without. In addition, upon topical application, silicones leave a greasy feeling on the skin.

The good news is that there are silicone-free products on the market, containing ingredients able to create the silky feeling, while still delivering maximum results of the product’s key actives.