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What Is Dimethicone and Is It Safe?

December 16, 2019

Is dimethicone safe?

Written by Audrey Swanson. Medically reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson.


When choosing body care products for your family, reading labels is always a smart move. Unfortunately, chemical names are often difficult to decipher, and it's not always possible to research ingredients when you're pressed for time. As a leading eco-friendly skincare brand, Puracy wants to make this information as accessible as possible.

What is dimethicone?

If you've ever used makeup primer with a silky or slippery feel, it probably had dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane) in it. Because molecules of this silicone-based polymer are too large for your skin to absorb, it leaves a thin layer of product on the surface. As a result, you get shinier-looking and smoother-feeling skin and hair. 

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson states that dimethicone “does not interact with the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin). It works by forming a film that prevents the loss of water through the skin, thus keeping the skin moisturized. It also works as an emollient, filling the spaces between cracks in the skin.”

What Is Dimethicone Used For?

Dimethicone is commonly found in hundreds of personal care products, including diaper rash cream, moisturizer, hand lotion, and liquid foundation. It allows products to be applied seamlessly, and when used in makeup primer, it prevents foundation from oxidizing (i.e. changing color).

To see a list of everyday products that contain dimethicone, check out this database from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

 

Is Dimethicone Bad for Hair?

Dimethicone in shampoo

Popular in hair care products due to the slick film it leaves behind, dimethicone in shampoo and conditioner coats the cuticle and makes detangling easier. Natural, eco-friendly ingredients, however, can easily provide the same functions and benefits.

Plenty of dimethicone-free products – like Puracy Natural Shampoo – will still leave your hair moisturized while promoting natural bounce and shine. Puracy shampoo includes potent, plant-derived ingredients such as soapbark, black walnut leaf, and ginseng extracts. It also includes Diheptyl Succinate (castor oil) and Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer (coconut and castor oil), which provide the slick, frictionless feeling without the use of a man-made silicone.

Note: Just like any natural hair care regimen, it can take about two weeks to safely remove excess chemical build-up on follicles. Check out more of our expert hair care tips

Is Dimethicone Safe for Skin?

According to the FDA – as well as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) – dimethicone is a safe skincare ingredient that calms irritation, minimizes redness, and protects the skin from further damage. We consulted with Dr. Jackson on this topic, and she agreed that dimethicone is indeed safe to use on skin.

When asked whether dimethicone can clog pores and lead to acne, Dr. Jackson concluded, “There is no evidence that dimethicone can cause acne.”

What Are Natural Dimethicone Alternatives?

Moisturizer without dimethicone

Dimethicone is an unnatural, man-made substance. And while Dr. Jackson's opinion is that dimethicone is a good chemically-inert moisturizer, it isn’t biodegradable. As a result, we never include this chemical in any Puracy formulas. 

Many harsh skincare ingredients receive FDA approval, even if they aren't good for the environment. However, there are many natural skincare ingredients that perform similar functions, such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. Puracy Organic Hand & Body Lotion is a perfect example. This organic moisturizer is made of natural, biodegradable, and renewable ingredients that soften and protect the skin, like aloe vera, sunflower oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil.

Is Dimethicone Bad for the Environment?

The short answer is yes: As a hydrolyzed chemical, it’s essentially washed off with soap and water. Depending on the route that water takes, it can feed into aquatic environments and impact fish and plant life. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that “the use of low molecular weight silicones should be reduced...and the purity of high molecular weight silicones should be monitored.”

Though researchers are still exploring the full extent of dimethicone’s environmental effects, we’re understandably concerned and want to avoid contributing to this growing issue.

That’s why we always strive to ensure our Puracy ingredients are natural and biodegradable. 

Puracy: Helping Your Family Live a Better, Healthier Life 

The first step to avoiding dimethicone is by carefully reading labels and looking for products that use biodegradable, renewable ingredients. Next, choose products that are silicone- and dimethicone-free – like the entire Puracy brand.

Our company’s goal is to help your family live a healthier lifestyle while helping the environment. And we’re doing that, one bottle at a time.