Products marketed for achieving smooth and silky skin often include silicones. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there about silicones, leading some people to avoid using products that contain this type of ingredient altogether.
However, silicones are actually a large category of diverse ingredients that are used for different purposes, some of which can benefit sensitive skin.
In this blog post, we’ll answer any questions you may have about dimethicone, a great ingredient that provides many benefits to the overall health of your skin.
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What is Dimethicone?
The scientific term for dimethicone is polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). It is a natural substance that is derived from silicone.
Dimethicone is used in many different cosmetic products on the market. You can find the ingredient in most face products such as lotions, primers, creams, and moisturizers.
The Benefits of Dimethicone
One common myth about silicones is that they do not provide any skincare benefits, and are in formulations as filler ingredients only. However, we’re here to debunk that myth. Read on to learn about dimethicone’s many benefits:
Dimethicone creates a barrier on the outer layer of the skin. As a result, water loss is reduced and moisture gets “locked in”. When your skin is able to better retain water, it stays hydrated. Hydrated skin tends to be healthier, and is naturally smoother, softer, and more likely to have that healthy glow we all seek.
When dimethicone forms a barrier on the outer layer of skin, it also functions as protection from outside elements that can irritate skin. Thus, it's an excellent choice for those who suffer from dermatitis or other skin sensitivities. Experts widely regard dimethicone as a gentle and safe ingredient, and those with sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions are often able to use this ingredient without any irritation. Thus, since most skin types can tolerate dimethicone, and it provides additional protection from irritation, it’s often used in products for sensitive skin.
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Even though dimethicone is occlusive (meaning it forms a protective barrier around your skin), there is no need to worry about it clogging pores, as it is non-comedogenic. This means that dimethicone can safely be used by those with acne or breakout-prone skin, and functions well in oil-free products.
Silicones, including dimethicone, provide a silky and velvety feel when used in cosmetic products. It makes tropical creams and lotions feel light, smooth, and non-greasy. That’s why you’ll frequently see silicones in ingredients lists, as silicones are what give these products that luxurious feeling.
Minimizes Shine with Matte Finish
Dimethicone reduces shine and provides a matte finish. This is one reason dimethicone is often used in facial primers and cosmetics - it helps create a smooth, matte canvas, and manages shine throughout the day. Dimethicone keeps your face from looking shiny or greasy.
Dimethicone acts as an emollient when applied to the skin. In other words, it prevents skin from becoming dry by preventing water loss. Emollient products are often used in moisturizers or to prevent itching and irritation.
Smoothes Skin Texture
Dimethicone is frequently used in anti-aging products for a few reasons. First, texture makes it ideal for temporarily filling lines, wrinkles, and pores. It seals the spaces between the dead cells within the stratum corneum. This makes skin look smoother, feel softer, and contributes to younger-looking skin. Secondly, because dimethicone keeps moisture from escaping, it has a plumping effect which gives skin a youthful glow.
The Side Effects of Dimethicone
While some silicones are comedogenic and can clog pores or cause nasty breakouts, this is not a concern with dimethicone. In fact, dimethicone is a pure synthetic, meaning it is a “cleaner” silicone.
Dimethicone is widely regarded as safe to use. The FDA listed dimethicone as a skin-protective ingredient. When included in skincare formulations, it provides the benefits listed in this blog article, and helps boost the performance of the product.
However, there are some exceptions. Some people have allergic reactions when using products containing dimethicone. The allergic response includes redness, itchiness, swelling, and peeling skin. In rare cases, there are more severe reactions, including trouble breathing and tightness in the chest.
Thus, if you are someone that has extra sensitive skin, dimethicone is generally safe to use. However, it is safest to spot test a small amount of product containing dimethicone before making it a part of your regular skincare regimen. If you suffer from an allergic reaction, contact a doctor to see if it is the dimethicone or the product itself that caused the reaction.
Best Skin Types for Dimethicone
Dimethicone is an incredibly versatile ingredient, and those with almost any kind of skin type can benefit from products that include this ingredient, even those with extra-sensitive skin.
People with dry skin can use dimethicone-based products to help lock in moisture to keep skin hydrated and healthy.
People with oily skin can use dimethicone-based products to both mattify oily skin and keep skin hydrated without using oil-based products.
Aging skin will enjoy dimethicone’s blurring and plumping effects.
Even acne-prone skin can use dimethicone without worrying about their pores getting clogged, as this silicone is non-comedogenic.
Reap The Benefits of Dimethicone
In conclusion, there is no scientifically-backed reason to avoid using products that contain dimethicone. In fact, dimethicone is considered one of the safest emollients available. Products containing dimethicone provide many benefits, including its moisturizing, mattifying, and protective effects. Dimethicone is generally safe for all skin types, and can contribute to a well-rounded skincare routine.