Lately I’m really confused about which ingrediënts are to avoid in skincare and which ingrediënts are fine. I’ve been wanting to walk a clean path, but then realising that I had the hugest difficulty with defining what it is. Is it natural? And even natural what is it? Is it organic? And then, what does organic mean? And once you now what it means, is it good for the skin or isn’t it?
Really, don’t you get crazy sometimes? Actually I had to stop thinking in that way due to everything I’ve realized doing a literature study. I’ll try to explain how difficult it is to walk the path of clean beauty! And maybe provide you an alternative philosophy!
I’ll explain it by using one simple ingrediënt of skincare, widefully used or explicitly avoided, Silicones!
The Origin of Silicones
Actually silicones are derived from Silica, which is the 2nd most available natural element of the earth. It’s quartz made of the molecule Silicon. So it is natural! Well yes! Up to this point! Can you use it on your skin without some treatments? No, you would hurt yourself, you would wound your skin!
You see me coming, natural but not necessary good for the skin!
Is it organic? ‘Organic skincare’ includes products comprised from naturally sourced ingredients that are produced without chemicals or pesticides. So if the cleaning proces didn’t include chemicals or pesticides, than it is organic. But still not necessarily good for your skin!
A Silicone is a chain of Silicon, oxygen and other elements like carbon and hydrogen. So you know silicon is natural, what about carbon and hydrogen?
Carbon is in organic matter in the soil, and it’s in rocks. So natural yes! But it can also be part of carbondioxide, emitted by cars when they burn fuel. On the other hand Carbon is also the second most abundant chemical in the human body. Intresting, no?
Hydrogen occurs on the Earth primarily in the form of water. Every molecule of water (H 2 O) contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. … That makes hydrogen the tenth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Hydrogen also occurs to a very small extent in the Earth’s atmosphere. So it is natural!
So there we are, silicones are made of only natural ingrediënts! But this would be to simple! Talk about the whole production process would lead us to far. But it’s enough to know that it has an inorganic and organic part. Production needs chemical processess.
So is it natural, probably! Is it organic, certainly not!
What about silicones in skincare?
You’ve read in the previous article that I tried to avoid the silicone dimithicone in my moisturizers because I had the feeling it dried out my skin! Doing this made me think about it. As I would like to know what I put on my skin I started to read about silicones in skincare. Let me explain to you a little what I found. Keep in mind I am no scientist and this article is only my humble opinion!
First of all, FDA approves silicones as ingrediënt in over the counter drug production. CIR approves the use of silicones in personal care and says it’s a safe ingrediënt.
In the Inci list of skincare you can identify silicones as ingrediënts ending on -cone , -conol and -siloxane
Silicones can be found in implants and contact lenses due to the extremely low occurance of allergic skin reaction.
50% of all new cosmetics globally, during the last 10 years, contain silicones . It’s a valued ingrediënt in luxury skincare!
What are it’s functions?
It is an anti-foaming ingrediënt, a skin protectant and it plumps wrinkles. Furthermore it’s water-binding, wound healing and it improves the appearance of scars. Scientific studies have proven that it’s soothing irritant contact dermatitis! It has been used for year in burn units due to their unique healing, protecting and breathable properties.
What are it’s properties?
It has a high molecular weight, meaning it’s to big to penetrate skin. It’s porous and resistant to air. You can see it as a collection of big stones with big holes in between. On skin you can compare it with a tea bag, releasing all it’s actives while leaving a protective breathable film on the skin.
They improve spreadability of actives avoiding hot spots (places where actives clog and could do damage due to the high concentration in one place) and improving a great coverage of coloured particles in foundation, highlighter, liquid blush,… eg..
The cyclomethicones evaporate quickly, dimethicone leaves a non occlusive breathable flexible film.
Silicone elastomers, which are cyclomethicone and dimethicone cross polymers are blurring. The quartz particles reflect and scatter the light blurring lines and wrinkles and absorbing sebum.
What about the contra-indications?
I read a lot of articles explaining you should avoid silicones in skincare. Actually you read completely the opposite of what I explained to you above this paragraph. The only difference was that all articles I consulted for writing this before this paragraph had references to scientific studies. The articles with the cons didn’t. I’m sorry, I searched hard. Yes I did find people not reacting well on cremes with dimithicone, but those kind of literature was anecdotal and not scientific.
So I searched harder. I found something intresting. Due to the soothing effect of dimethicone, it is used to bring to the skin some more irritating ingrediënts particularly UV-absorbers, like titanium and zinc dioxide. But also other ingrediënts. Therefor people might associate their reaction on these harsh ingrediënts with the silicones.
Listen to your skin! Learn what is good for your skin! Regulations for production in Europe are really safe! And remember, there are people soffocating from eating a peanut. But it doesn’t mean everybody soffocates from eating a peanut! A peanut is natural, sometimes organic, but if you’re allergic to it, this doesn’t mean anything!
Regulations in Europe and USA are rather safe as it comes to skincare. Everything depends on the country or continent. For instance in China imported skincare, fysically sold in China, has to be tested on animals before it can be allowed to the human market, while we try to buy cruelty free skincare.
If you can do something, then maybe try to take sustainability in your skincare journey, at least the planet benefits of it and humanity in the long run!
some sources: Truth in aging , Paula’s Choice, Dermascope
For your intrest:
Lala retro Drunk Elephant no silicones
Maiiro Anti Blemish cream no silicones
Bellflower Cocunut moisturizer no silicones
LK skincare Anti Aging cream no silicones
Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer no silicones
Omega+ Complex Moisturizer Dimethicone