Dimethicone is a controversial ingredient in the personal care industry and we all know it. Is it truly as harmful to the skin as people make it out to be, though? We are here to unravel the mystery surrounding it.
Dimethicone is a class of silicones that is derived from natural resources. It functions primarily as an emollient and occlusive. It is gentle upon application to the skin and imparts a lovely, silky feel to it.
How it benefits the skin:
As earlier mentioned, dimethicone forms an occlusive layer around the skin without feeling heavy or greasy. It’s mostly used in moisturizers where it imparts a lovely skin feel to it while maintaining skin barrier function, preventing trans-epidermal water loss and accelerating skin healing. Your damaged skin that is constantly exposed to environmental stressors needs this. Did I mention it also makes the skin appear smooth and glossy? Yes, you could consider that an added benefit.
Certain myths surrounding dimethicone:
1. Dimethicone stops the skin from ‘breathing’.
Response to the claim: Untrue. Dimethicone simply forms a barrier against the evaporation of water from the dermis. The skin is fully capable of ‘breathing’ i.e. exchanging gases with the environment even with an occlusive layer on top of it. If all occlusives did that to the skin, then the first ingredients to be held to account should have been plant oils and butters. But they are not, isn’t it? All good.
2. Dimethicone can ‘clog pores’.
Response to the claim: False. Of itself, dimethicone is completely non-comedogenic. What you use along with it holds the potential, although very slim, to do the same.
3. Those with sensitive skin or skin disease must steer clear of it.
Response to the claim: False again. The opposite is actually true. It is a great ingredient to use on such skin types as it is hypoallergenic and relieves skin irritation.
4. Usage of dimethicone can lead acne, hyperpigmentation skin aging, eczema, dermatitis –
Response: Stop! Where do these claims even come from? They have no scientific basis.
All in all, dimethicone is safe for application on the skin and hair and you need not jump every time you flip your product over and notice dimethicone in its ingredient list. No matter your skin type or concern, you are okay with using it.