The D-low on Dimethicone.
This is a long one. Get your cup of tea and settle in.
There is some debate about Dimethicone in the green beauty world and it divides a few of us which is why I’ve wanted to give you my thoughts on why I don’t mind it being in my makeup. The main reason being, if I make an informed choice about something then I don’t want to feel like I’ve been judged or put down by other green beauty bloggers because of it and that’s what happening at the moment. So I’ve wanted to write this post so I can direct it to whomever brings up this ingredient in the future.
Dimethicone is a silicone based ingredient and can be called polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS that makes your product smooth when you apply it. It can help to fill in lines and smooth over the texture of your skin to give you a smooth base to start with if it’s in your skincare and is why it can be found in a lot of primers.
The ingredient has been known to help soothe the effects of dermatitis when ingredients that can irritate your skin are in a product (something like Iron Oxides), and because of the way it forms a barrier on the skin, it can even help to soothe contact dermatitis in general. It can help to reduce redness in roseaca, and it’s been suggested that the barrier it forms on the skin can help to prevent skin infections*1 which is why you’ll find it in some products which relate to the above issues.
On the EWG database it’s marked as a 3 (1 being the best to 10 being a no go) and on Paulas Choice it’s marked as Good. *2
Great! Well yes and no.
I personally am totally fine with Dimethicone being used in makeup products for my eyes, lips and generic makeup. It enhances coverage and light refractability of other ingredients in colour cosmetics which is why it improves their performance. I’m fed up of makeup products that give me rubbish pigment for eyeshadows, or ‘a light wash’ of colour on my lips. I want performance AND I want natural. And if that means that Dimethicone is in the product to help with the overall performance and consistency then that’s totally fine for the time being until the green beauty makeup world gets a bit more glam. If you’re not happy with that, then don’t use it. But don’t judge me for being perfectly happy with it in my makeup products. I am informed and it’s my choice. That’s what I think green beauty is about. Making informed choices.
What I probably wouldn’t want it in and would avoid, is if it was in my skincare. Skincare has come along leaps and bounds over the last 10 years and there are exceptionally great skincare products that perform amazingly and they don’t need dimethicone in them. They are already smooth. They already plump my skin and I don’t feel like skincare products that are already amazing, needs dimethicone in it. This is my personal opinion. If you’re happy with it in your skincare, then that’s fine too.
To clear up some confusion here…. there aren’t any actual scientific journals on the proof of dimethicone clogging pores, it’s just (false) opinion. Dimethicone is actually non comodogenic (condomogenic is where an ingredient increases the likelihood of it causing spots) (Rated 1 out of 5 in terms of comodogenic from the Science of Cosmetic Chemists journal) which means it doesn’t clog pores. There has been no scientific evidence that it makes your skin worse over time (from the plumping/smoothing effect it has when applying it to your skin) or it making dry skin worse. So when a company tells you that it does purely to make you buy their skin care line (yes, natural skin care companies use scare mongering to get you to buy their product) and don’t back it up with evidence, then you might want to look a bit closer. If someone tells you it’s listed as a possible eye irritant or skin irritant then this makes me mad. Of course it’s a blinking eye irritant, if you got most things in your eye it’s going to cause irritation! If a company says if you have sensitive skin or reactive skin then it could cause irritation – so can lavender oil.
Please also be aware that if someone tells you it traps bacteria underneath the skin which will cause breakouts then this may or may not be true (due to the lack of scientific evidence). We need bacteria on our skin. The skin has it’s very own microbiome which we need to look after and ingredients like SLS that strip the skin of it’s good (and bad) bacteria and leave your skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’ are way worse for you than something like Dimethicone. It’s why there are skincare lines like Mother Dirt around which was created by MIT grads and focus on the bacteria on your skin! No offense, but I’d take the MIT grad’s opinion over a green beauty blogger whose is trying to assert their authority over me to look good, with little knowledge and just a big ego. The one thing I would say here is that if the ‘bad bacteria’ is on the skin and is sealed by an ingredient that won’t let it out, it *might* be able to germinate there quicker than what it would if you didn’t have that product on your face, but again, who knows? It’s not been scientifically proven.
What I will also say is that if you were using this in your skincare or foundation daily over a long period of time then there is a question over the barrier that it forms on your skin and not allowing your skin to ‘breathe’ as much as it would compared to a product without the ingredient in (this would only apply to Organic skincare products however as other products that aren’t organic might have worse ingredients than Dimethicone in it). It’s something to think about.
The one thing I dislike about the ingredient isn’t that environmentally friendly as I would like it to be, but we, as green beauty bloggers are doing the best we can to try and give you glamorous looks that you want to see where it isn’t simply a ‘wash of colour’ as well as research every.single.ingredient in every.single.product, so cut us some slack will you when we are trying the best we can to be everything to everyone and sometimes falling short.
So, this is why Dimethicone is an interesting ingredient. I don’t want it in my skincare but I’m totally fine about it being in my makeup. So stop the judgement and jumping on the ‘holier than tho’ bandwagon to make yourself look good and try and put me and some other amazing bloggers who believe the same down. It’s MY choice.
Green beauty to me is about informed choices. About celebrating the companies that are doing great things and going as natural as they can whilst not compromising performance. We should be celebrating the people and the industry for trying hard to get the word out about these amazing other options, not bashing them when there is an ingredient you don’t know much about but have heard it might not be amazing so you try and call people out on it without substantive research. Be a lover not a hater. Encourage. Don’t drag down. Take if offline if you really want to chat to them about it. Not point it out in front of the 1000’s of followers they have just to try and make them feel inferior. It’s not cool, and makes you look like an ass.
I’d also like to encourage you to research everything for yourself. If there are scientific articles that have research that says how awful dimethicone is, then tell me about it so I can do more research. I am aware some of the journals I’ve cited are from America and I do question the ethicacy of that country and who has funded what so that has opened me up to potential criticism. But that’s OK if it starts off a healthy debate where it’s just pointing things out and noting them as interesting. There doesn’t need to be pointing of fingers because I may not be as ‘purist’ as another blogger. Who cares?! Or if you are pointing the finger, that’s fine, but make sure you never, ever, ever go for another product, service or food that is anything less than organic ever again right? Because then you’re just a massive hypocrite.