What is Dimethicone?
Dimethicone or polydimethylsiloxane is a silicone based polymer. Polymers are a naturally occurring synthetic or man-made molecule comprised of repeating units.
In the case of Dimethicone, the polymer is man-made. Dimethicone is classified as an Emollient. This means the ingredient has the characteristic of smoothing and helps soften the skin.
The Origin of Dimethicone
Dimethicone was discovered by a Swedish Chemist named Jons Jacob Berzelius in 1824. Berzelius is considered to be one of the founders of modern chemistry, along with Robert Boyle, John Dalton, and Antoine Lavoisier. Berzelius was an official member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences from 1808 to 1818.
Derived from Silica, Dimethicone was created by the combination of natural elements. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen combined with the silica formed the polymer as we know it today.
What are the Benefits of Dimethicone in Skin Care?
As an Emollient, Dimethicone acts as a smoothing agent in moisturizers, primers, and sunscreens. Here are some of the benefits of Dimethicone on skin care products:
- Seals in moisture – It’s occlusive characteristics allow it to seal in hydration. This keeps out external moisture and irritants by forming a water-resistant film on the skin, according to Heidi Waldorf, MD, of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics.
- Makes other products work better – The occlusive sealing quality in Dimethicone increases absorption in the skin for other products. Additional products on the skin/face such as, serums and/or lotion are protected as well. This allow the product to work longer and more effectively.
- Control Shine – The thin membrane layer of Dimethicone applied on the face still allows sweat to evaporate. The protective layer also works to suppress the secretion of oil reducing shine.
- Smooths Skin – It’s emollient quality helps smooth the texture of skin. The softening of the dermis reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This eases the application of make up if your are using Dimethicone in a primer.
Is Dimethicone Safe for the Skin?
Dimethicone is classified as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration.
There has been speculation in the past about Dimethicone causing clogged pores due to it’s occlusive characteristic. Silicone’s are non-comodegenic which negates the potential of clogging pores.
In an interveiw with Byrdie.com Chemist Victoria Fu, of Chemist Confessions, had this to say.
“(A)ccording to Fu, there is no scientific basis for those claims (Dimethicone causing clogged pores). “Silicones are non-comedogenic and non-sensitizing,” she explains. “You could even say they’re ‘cleaner’ since dimethicones are pure synthetics.”
What beauty products do you use with dimethicone? Leave a comment below!