Most of us have used cosmetic products that contain some kind of silicone, whether we know it or not. That’s because silicones are an essential part of the mass-produced cosmetics industry. They’re easy to produce and use, considered “safe,” and perhaps most important of all – they’re cheap. And they’re in almost everything, from the cheapest drugstore products to the cosmetic lines produced by high-end brands. Silicones have a few characteristics that make them attractive to manufacturers and consumers alike. In addition to being inexpensive, silicones also make the cosmetic product in question feel smoother and softer on the skin, producing a smoother spread. But there are good reasons to avoid cosmetics with silicones in them – here are the top 3.
- Silicones smother and clog up your skin
Although cosmetics that contain silicone can and often do feel pleasing to apply to your skin, that doesn’t mean that their effect on it is good. It’s often the opposite, in fact. Since silicones are closely related to plastic – both are, after all, made from oil – you can imagine the effect of silicone-based cosmetics being like plastic wrap placed on your skin. It can create a barrier that keeps moisture from getting out, which is why silicones are so widespread in moisturizing creams – they allow the manufacturers to make better-sounding claims about the moisturizing effect. But it can and does trap all sorts of other things in your pores, too – nasty stuff such as bacteria, oil, sweat, dirt, dead skin cells and more. This can lead to bad breakouts of acne, which is why good dermatologists tell acne sufferers to stop using silicone-based cosmetics.
- Silicones are hard to remove
The same properties that give silicone-based cosmetics a silky smooth feel are also what make them hard to remove. Not all of them – some silicones are water-soluble and come off relatively easily. But the most common silicone used in cosmetics, dimethicone, is much harder to remove than more natural cosmetics which don’t have it as an ingredient. Two cleanses are usually needed to get it out properly – just one, with regular face wash, won’t do the trick. And dimethicone-based hair products such as conditioners leave behind a hard-to-remove layer that can cause back and hairline acne on top of creating a layer of dead skin and other debris trapped on your scalp.
- Silicones block other things from working
Since silicones have an effect similar to plastic wrap, you can be sure that any layering of cosmetics will be less effective if you put them on after you’ve used a silicone-based cosmetic on your face or another part of your body. Expensive natural cosmetics with their beneficial ingredients might go to waste if you layer them over a silicone-based product. Since layering is part of the daily skincare routine of many people, users of silicone-based cosmetics are wasting other skincare products that they put on afterward. It makes no economic or skincare sense.
While silicones as ingredients might be considered “safe” due to being chemically inert, the way they work isn’t good for your skin at all. Unfortunately, that initial smooth, pleasant feeling when applying silicone-based cosmetics only means more problems for your skin down the line. That’s why you should avoid them and opt for different cosmetics, ones which don’t have the dirt-trapping, smothering effect that silicone-based ones do. When buying cosmetics, take a look at the ingredients – anything that ends in “cone,” “siloxane,” or “conol” is a silicone. Avoid that, and try something that is better for your skin and the environment!