Silicones: good or bad?


Silicones are synthetic substances. They are compounds in which silicon and oxygen alternate in a chain with various branches. The length of such a chain, the type of branching and the presence of other molecules in the chain determine the properties of a silicon molecule. There are many different types of silicone, but they all have the same properties:
Silicones are stable; they hardly react at all with other chemicals and are resistant to the influence of water, oxygen, light and micro-organisms
Silicones are non-toxic and therefore of interest to the medical and cosmetics industries
Silicones are not sticky and are barely visible on the skin (unlike fat and oil)

Due to the above-mentioned properties, silicones are widely used in the cosmetics industry, in hair products (to make hair shiny and soft) but also in skin care products (for hydration and smoothing) and make-up products (to smoothen). We would like to explain the latter category.

Silicones in make-up products

Make-up products containing silicones generally provide an airy texture that spreads easily on the skin without feeling sticky. This is precisely why silicones are often added to Foundations, Primers and Lipsticks. The product is easy to apply to the skin, spreads well, has a protective and hydrating effect and gives a silky feeling. In mascaras, silicones can make the mascara more resistant to water and help to visually lengthen the lashes. 

Although there are more than 100 different types of silicone, the most common silicone used in make-up is Dimethicone or Cyclopentasiloxane. Most cosmetic products contain relatively little silicone (1 to 5 percent) because it is usually an additive. But there are products where silicones are the main ingredient, especially in primers. The silicones give a silky soft feeling and give 'hold' to other products that are applied on top of it.

In Unity Cosmetics' products, you will find silicones in the primer (as the main ingredient), foundation and concealers.

Contrary to what is often claimed, it has been scientifically proven that silicones do not penetrate the skin and that they do not form a protective layer over the skin. Silicones do lie on the skin like a thin film, but it is comparable to the way in which a thin gauze lies over a wound. The silicones form a sort of 'net' over the skin so that the skin can still 'breathe' and get rid of dirt, sweat and sebum. The silicones have a molecular structure that cannot suffocate the skin or block the pores. The fact that some people experience complaints after using products containing silicone is generally not caused by the silicone but by the other ingredients or by not cleansing the skin sufficiently at the end of the day.

To sum up. In answer to the question at the top of this article, it can be concluded that silicones have very nice properties and that there is nothing wrong with them.