Why Do We Use Dimethicone and Silicone ?

Posted By: Roccoco Botanicals Published: 07/07/2017 Comments: 2

Consumers are often confused why we as a Botanical company use some silicones, including dimethicone in some of our products.  First I want to go through the myths about silicones and then explain WHY we use them.

The following myths exist about Silicones:

  1.  They suffocate the skin and trap bacteria.
  2.  They hinder exfoliation
  3. You're creating a dependency on the silicone, disrupting the skin's own hydrating processes, which in the end increases dryness, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
  4. The coating action actually prevents the skin from sloughing off dead skin cells.
  5. Prolonged exposure to dimethicone can actually increase skin irritation, due to the coating property and because dimethicone is listed as a possible skin and eye irritant
  6. Those with sensitive or reactive skin are at risk of an allergic reaction to dimethicone.
  7. Silicones can actually exacerbate skin aging. Why?  You're inhibiting skin's natural processes.
  8. You're creating a dependency on the coating product, disrupting the skin's own hydrating processes, which in the end increases dryness, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
  9. The coating properties may increase breakouts, particularly if you're susceptible to acne, which will lead to scars and older-looking skin.


So to explain why we use it and to cover these myths the facts are actually this:

  1. 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.

Silicones as non occlusive agents

So why do we actually use them in Roccoco Botanicals?

We use them because they have tremendous benefit for both acne and barrier repair.  In order for the skin to heal properly, especially acne lesions they need a moist environment.  This is why wounds heal better with a band-aid (sticking plaster with gauze pad) on them without one.  Our aim is to prevent you getting scarring as much as we can.  If you are an acne sufferer the scars can be devastating on your self confidence.  There is nothing worse than looking in the mirror and being embarrassed by your skin.  It took me years to be able to look in the mirror and like what I saw because I too was an acne sufferer.  Our aim is to help you get the beautiful skin you want.  Silicones help prevent scarring like nothing else because the increase the production of a substance called TGFB-3 (Transforming Growth Factor).  This substance is involved with scarless healing.

Hydration of the scar surface is the basis of action of 90% of scar management systems on the market. Most oils (tissue oils), lotions, and creams have beneficial effects on scars primarily on the basis of their hydrative capacities[8-10]. Normal skin has a mature stratum corneum characterized by minimal moisture loss. Dehydration of the top layer of the skin initiates signaling, inducing your skin cells to produce inflammation that activates your dermis to synthesize and release collagen. However sometimes it produces too much collagen and this is where we get scarring [11-12].  We know how to prevent this.

Scarring with Dimethicone




As far as hindering exfoliation again this is not true.  In fact they help to healthily thicken the epidermis.  If you look at the picture below a young healthy skin has a thick epidermis.  An older skin does not.  Short et al. showed that a moisturizer containing high amounts of glycerin and silicones increased maximum epidermal thickness, decreased epidermal melanin content, and altered protein expressions of keratins 6, 10, and 16, as assessed with immunohistochemistry after a 4-week treatment. Moreover, all these changes were accompanied by increased hydration of the skin.  [4].  As you can see an increase in thickness of the epidermis is a desired thing.



Effects of Aging on Skin


3. Dimethicone has been shown time and time again to be non-comedogenic. "Dimethicone is the ideal skin barrier enhancer because it is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and nonacnegenic." [1]  It is also widely used in acne preparations for this exact reason.  It actually helps acne lesions by  facilitate healing and preventing scarring.  So to state that it causes acne is false.  Most often those who allege it causes breakouts are actually breaking out from something else in the formula, as it is not the Dimethicone.

4. As far as irritation goes often Material Safety Data Sheets are misinterpreted by those who are not professionals or chemists.  They choose to put their own interpretation instead of a scientific one on it.  Sunscreens are often coated with Dimethicone to prevent irritation to the skin.  Those with Rosacea often have issues with sunscreens.  The coating of the particles of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide reduce this potential for irritation and it is recommended for Rosacea for this reason. [3]  It is actually one of the safest things to use on an allergic skin.  It doesn't sting and helps to heal the skin by forming an artificial vapour permeable barrier.  It is the reason it is used for Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema.

5. The assumption that silicones interfere with the skin healing itself is based on the "assumption" that they are occlusive, which you have just found out that they are not.  Silicones are used in the management of burns on the skin for their ability to prevent scarring and also to stop moisture loss.  Silicones do not interact with the stratum corneum lipids [2].  The study investigated the use of four silicones (Dimethicone) and its interaction with the stratum corneum.  The results revealed that the investigated Silicones do not change either the micro-structure or the biphasic lamellar/inverse hexagonal structure of the skin. They concluded that Silicones will not cause any side-effects when topically applied.  One of the reasons Albert Kligman the father of corneotherapy endorsed silicones for use in repairing the skin barrier.

 Apart from improving the feel and long-lasting benefits of skin care products, silicones can also enhance the efficacy of other ingredients in the formulation. Studies carried out on sun care products have shown that the alkyl methicones can enhance the SPF of products containing either organic or inorganic sunscreens. A 2% addition level of stearyl dimethicone into an oil-in-water silicone containing 11% of organic sunscreens resulted in an in vivo SPF of 49.7, an SPF/UVB ratio of 4.5, thus demonstrating high efficiency [6]. For inorganic sunscreens, a 100% increase in SPF was seen with an oil-in-water system containing 2 wt% cetyl dimethicone and a 75% increase in the SPF for a water-in-oil system containing C30-45 alkyl methicone [7]

There is so much misinformation spread in this industry and on the internet.  Our mission at Roccoco Botanicals is to give you the skin you want.  Everything we put in our products is there for a reason and our research is extensive on our ingredient selection.  At no point would we ever use anything that would not help your skin or be of concern for you using it.



Draelos ZD1, Callender V, Young C, Dhawan SS.Cutis.  The effect of vehicle formulation on acne medication tolerability. 2008 Oct;82(4):281-4.

Glombitza B, Muller-Goymann CC (2001) Investigation of interactions between silicones and stratum corneum lipids. Int J Cosmet Sci 23:25–34

Nichols K, Desai N, Lebwohl M. Effective sunscreen ingredients and cutaneous irritation in patients with rosacea. Cutis 1998; 61:344–346.

P. M. Elias, "Epilogue: fixing the barrier—theory and rational deployment," in Skin Barrier, P. M. Elias and K. R. Feingold, Eds., pp. 591–600, Taylor & Francis, New York, NY, USA, 2006.

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

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

Van Reeth I, Postiaux S, Van Dort H. Silicones bring multifunctional performance to sun care. Cosmet and Toiletr 2006; 121(10):41–54.

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

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) Inter- national clinical recommendations on scar management. Plast Reconstr Surg 110(2):560–571

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

Mustoe TA (2008) Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. Aesthet Plast Surg 32(1):82–92

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

Tags: Acne, acne scarring, barrier repair, dimethicone, silicone


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