Published: 11-05-2016 11:42:06
Topics: Ingredients


Silicones: good or bad?

Silicons are synthetic substances, consisting of chains of silicium and oxygen that alternate in a chain with several branches. The length of such a chain, a type of branching and the presence of other molecules in a chain determine the properties of a silicone molecule. There are many different types of silicone, but all of them have the same characteristics:

  • silicone are stable; they hardly react with other chemicals and are resistant to the influence of water, oxygen, light and micro-organisms.
  • Silicones are non-toxic and so interesting for medical and cosmetic industry.
  • Silicones are not sticky and are barely visible on the skin (as opposed to fat/oil).

By the above properties silicones are frequently used within the cosmetic industry; in hairproducts (to make the hairs shiny and soft), but also in skin care products (for hydration and to smooth) and makeup products (to smooth). We'll elaborate on this last category; silicones in makeup products.

Generally, makeup products with silicones provide an airy structure that is spread on the skin easily without feeling sticky. That is precisely the reason why silicones often are added to Foundations, Primers and Lipsticks; the product is smooth on the skin, has a protective and moisturizing effect and gives a silky feeling. In mascaras silicones ensure that the mascara is more resistant to water and the silicones optically lengthen the eyelashes.

Although there are more than 100 different types of silicones, makeup usually uses silicones with the name Dimethicone or Cyclopentasiloxane. Most cosmetic products contain relatively little silicones (1 to 5 percent) as it usually is an addition. But there are products for which the silicones are the main ingredient, particularly in the case of primers is that often the case; the silicones give a silky feel and give 'grip ' to other products that are used on top of the primer.

Unity Cosmetics uses silicones in the Primer, Foundation and the Concealerpencils.

Contrary to what is frequently claimed, it is scientifically proven that silicones do NOT penetrate the skin and that they don't clog the skin. Silicones are as a thin film on the skin, but it is similar to the way a thin gauze lies over a wound. The silicones form a kind of 'gauze' over the skin so the skin can "breathe" and is still able to secrete dirt, sweat and sebum. The silicones have a molecular structure that can not stifle the skin or clog the pores. The fact that some people might experience symptoms after using products containing silicones, is generally not caused by the silicones but by the other ingredients or by insufficient cleansing of the skin at the end of the day. In conclusion - as an answer to the question that was asked at the beginning of this article - it can be concluded that silicones have very pleasant characteristics and that there is nothing wrong with it! 

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