Dimethicone :: What it is & My Opinion

Dimethicone is a silicone oils used in cosmetics.  Silicones are man-made rubberlike compounds that add glide and smoothness to cosmetics.  Dimethicone is used at levels as high as 15% in cosmetic formulas.  Your skin is unable to breathe as nature intended under the smothering properties of dimethicone.  By smother, I mean that dimethicone conceals and envelopes the skin, not that the skin is completely deprived of oxygen.  Dimethicone is designed to stay on the top of the skin and create a barrier your finger tips can feel, making it seem that the texture of your skin is soft and smooth. In reality it is only the large molecules of the unpenetrated dimethicone that your fingers feel and not your skin at all.

Dimethicone literally does not allow the skin to do 4 of its 7 functions.  Dimethicone is to vegetable oil what processed cheese is to cheddar cheese.  Dimethicone and processed cheese come up empty while the vegetable oil and cheddar cheese feed the body.  Vegetable oils are nutrient packed and work to improve the skins function.  Dimethicone smoothers the skin and leaves it dependant on the product long term.  Vegetable oils feed the skin while dimethicone coats the skin in a layer of silicone.

I once had a salesperson try to convince me the value of adding his dimethicone product to a formula because it would literally not wash off the face for up to five days.  This was supposed to be a selling point, but to this natural loving girl it was a definite no thanks.

My opinion is that dimethicone is great in the hair but does not have a place in natural skincare. The best natural alternatives to dimethicone that are on the market today are Broccoli Seed Oil and Meadowfoam oil.  Dimethicone won’t literally kill skin cells or do extreme damage to your skin, but why use it when there are natural alternatives that work synergistically with your body.

  • Dynese Mouzakis

    Does it have the same staying power when it is in a cleanser?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RM6FYXYOF2F6DPIXTOEKXA3724 Bruce

    I could not agree with you more. There is very little about dimethicone that is natural, and it makes me chuckle when I see manufacturers listing sand as its source. As if you could take a pile of sand, pound it, and out comes dimethicone. It is listed as an OTC wound healing agent, and I do tell people with severely dry chapped cracked, painful conditions to look for products that contain it, but these products do not claim to be natural.
    Dimethicone was a tough one to drop from the formulating quiver because of its myriad of properties, both in product feel and skin afterfeel, however we as natural formulators must place ethics above simplicity. Keep up the good work


  • Anonymous

    Everytime I used dimethicone in a product (or a combination of silicone oils), it made my face feel like an oil slick. While technically not an oil, it certainly felt that way on m skin. The fact that it doesn’t penetrate probably had a lot to do with it. The products I used may have had as many as 3 silicone oils in them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VR4C6E47WTAEQXS7I6GCS4WD6I Katherine Sands

    Thanks for a rational and non-alarmist critique.I’d appreciate it if you could expand on what the 7 functions are for skin and which 4 are blocked by dimethicone, but only because I’m rather a geek.

  • http://twitter.com/essentialU Kayla Fioravanti

    Our skin has 7 functions

    EXCRETION (the skin eliminates sweat, salt and wastes from the body, therefore helping remove toxins from the internal systems)

    SENSATION (feelings generated by the nerve endings just under the outer layer of the skin make you aware of heat, cold, touch, pain and pressure. The reaction to a sensation is called a reflex)

    RESPIRATION (to breathe, the skin takes in oxygen through its pores and releases carbon dioxide)

    HYDRATION (The skin contains water to keep itself soft and supple. It secretes perspiration and an oily, sebaceous fluid that maintains the skin’s moisture balance)

    ABSORPTION (the skin permits certain substances like water and oxygen to pass through its tissues)

    REGULATION (the skin helps maintain the body’s temperature)

    PROTECTION (the skin shields your body from the direct impact of heat, cold, bacteria, and other aspects of the environment that could be detrimental to your health)

    Dimethicone blocks the skin’s ability to naturally perform the functions of excretion, absorption, respiration and regulation.

    • Perry Romanowski

      The production of Vitamin D is another major function of the skin.

  • http://www.modevillemag.com Christina

    I recently learned about the dangers of dimethicone but your article has educated me further. I will be avoiding it at all costs. Why would you think it is ok for the hair? Wouldn’t it lead to further damage? I am not a scientist so just wondering.

  • Swati Murti

    can you please elaborate on silicones and their usage in hair products??? Do they lead to product build up and are they really difficult to wash off???? And, all the related information.

  • http://EffortlessVitality.com/ Lauren Lionheart

    Thank you for your explanation of what properties dimethicone has, and how it smothers skin. I’ve always had a feeling that it had no place on our skin, but wasn’t able to explain why. How fascinating that Broccoli Seed Oil and Meadowfoam oil are the natural alternatives. Do you know if there is any danger of those two oils smothering skin, or is the molecular size small enough to allow for more permeability?