The Benefits of Silicones as Primers

Posted By: Jacine Published: 29/04/2018 Comments: 0

Today we came across an article by botanical brand Eminence.   It basically states that silicone primers are bad for your skin.  Which quite frankly is complete rubbish and also plain wrong.  In fact they actually have a lot of benefit for the skin, particular when it comes to acne healing and also prevention of aging.


According to this brand........“Using a chemical like silicone on your skin comes with some risk”


Let’s get the FACTS straight…….The risk is you will be scared into using a natural product that doesn’t contain any.  Because FEAR sells doesn’t it!!


So in this blog article we will be covering the myths that have been perpetuated from this blog article.  These include the assertion that they:


1.    Seals your Pores

2.    Traps Dirt and Sebum

3.    Makes your pores larger


First of all Silicone is not an ingredient but a class of ingredients.  There are many different types of silicones, including Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone.  The first comment in this article is that silicones are possibly endocrine disruptors.  They actually cite a study that is not even cosmetic use, and is actually bake ware made from silicones which has no relevance to cosmetic use.


The safety of the cyclomethicones has been reviewed on several occasions by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.  In 1991, the CIR Expert Panel reviewed available safety information for cyclomethicone (defined as a mixture of cyclomethicone compounds with 3-7 siloxane groups (i.e., D3-D7) and concluded that it was safe in the present practices of use.  In 2009, the Expert Panel re-opened the report of cyclomethicones in order to consider new data and to include the individual chain length compounds now identified as separate cosmetic ingredients.  Considering all of the additional data, the Expert Panel again concluded that these cyclomethicone ingredients were safe under current practices of use.


The second comment they make is that silicones trap dirt and sebum.  Actually it is the opposite.  They don’t trap anything as they are vapour permeable and allow the exchange of gases.  They do however prevent pollution particles from entering the skin and that is a good thing [2].


Usually when you use a primer you also have clean skin, so dirt and pollution are very unlikely to be on your skin in the first place.

1. Seals your pores

"Silicone lies on top of your pores as an impenetrable layer. As a result, minimal moisture can enter your skin. Also, any potential benefits from skin care products are blocked from entering the skin." 

This could not be further from the truth.   The statement that it prevents your actives from penetrating is bogus as well.  " Common silicone fluids such as dimethicone are well known to cosmetic formulators. A general property of silicone polymers is their high permeability. The permeability of silicones makes them suitable for controlled release applications and for this reason they are used widely in transdermal delivery systems. Cross-linked silicones such as elastomers and adhesives are a relatively new class of cosmetic raw materials that have utility in delivery systems for active ingredients " [7]

So the statement that they prevent your cosmetics from working is utterly not true.


2. Traps dirt and sebum

"Nothing gets in, but also nothing gets out. All the dirt and sebum in your pores stay trapped in there, potentially causing inflammation and possibly even triggering acne breakouts."

Actually they are completely non-comedogenic and are very anti-inflammatory.    Silicones don't actually suffocate the skin at all.  They form a vapour permeable membrane.  What this means is that it allows for the exchange of gases between the atomosphere and the skin.  This is important because suffocating the skin stops it repairing itself.   It functions as a non-greasy thin water-impermeable (not gas impermeable) barrier over damaged skin that exhibits chronic dehydration. The film maximizes the environment for barrier repair, which is necessary for the healing of extremely dry skin and dermatitis skin conditions. It also creates an artificial barrier until the skin can repair itself. Lastly, it increases skin smoothness by functioning as an emollient to fill in gaps where damaged corneocytes are missing from the stratum corneum.  Now I don't expect you to believe me but you can see the facts for yourself.  Companies stating that silicones suffocate the skin are not telling you the truth.  It is deceptive at least.

They area also not impenetrable, however they do prevent pollution particles from entering the skin.  We also don’t want moisture to enter your skin we want to keep the moisture in the skin, which silicones do a fantastic job of.

Below shows the effect of an o/w (cream formula) versus a silicone formula for preventing the adhesion of pollution particles.  The photo on the left is a normal moisturiser version the adhesion of pollution when using a silicone based product.


Researchers have found the following effects of pollution on the skin: Ozone in photochemical smog appears to speed up skin ageing because it depletes Vitamin E levels in the skin.  It stops wounds (acne lesions) from healing properly.

Skin exposed to pollution areas experiences a higher sebum secretion rate, when compared to non-polluted areas. So silicones actually minimize sebum secretion, not increase it.


3. Enlarges pores

"Although silicone based primers mask the appearance of large pores, regular use may actually increase pore size. As impurities fail to escape pores, build-up increases in pores causing them to stretch out in size."

Again……please state a scientific fact.  Because this is again not true.  Pore size is a factor of sebum output and also elasticity of the skin.  It has nothing to do with silicones being used.

So before you ditch your silicone primer…..think again.  We don’t even sell silicone primers for makeup application.  We are writing this article to dispel myths and deceptive marketing that regrettably too often occurs.


1. Short RW, Chan JL, Choi JM, Egbert BM, Rehmus WE, Kimball AB (2007) Effects of moisturization on epidermal homeostasis and differentiation. Clin Exp Dermatol 32(1):88–90, Epub 2006 Nov 27

2. Glombitza B and MuÈller-Goymann C. Investigation of interactions between silicones and stratum corneum lipids. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2001, 23, 25-34

3. Sawada Y, Sone K (1992) Hydration and occlusion treatment for hypertrophic scars and keloids. Br J Plast Surg 45:599

4. Mustoe TA, Cooter RD, Gold MH, Hobbs FD, Ramelet AA, Shakespeare PG, Stella M, Te ́ot L, Wood FM, Ziegler UE, International Advisory Panel on Scar Management (2002) International clinical recommendations on scar management. Plast Reconstr Surg 110(2):560–571

5. Sawada Y, Urushidate S, Nihei Y (1998) Hydration and occlusive treatment of a sutured wound. Ann Plast Surg 41:508

6. Tandara AA, Mustoe TA (2008) The role of the epidermis in the control of scarring: evidence for mechanism of action for silicone gel. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 61(10):1219–1225

7. Patravale, V and S. Mandawgade, S. (2008) Novel cosmetic delivery systems: an application update.   International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2008, 30, 19–33

Tags: silicones, primer