Silicone: Fact vs. Fiction

The reputation of beauty ingredients is rarely a steady one. One day they reap praises for their effectivenessthe following, they can be defending their name. But, no single ingredient has been under the gun as much as silicone in recent monthsespecially as it relates to skin and hair care. So what's true and what's false? We debunk the myths:

You can have a silicone allergy: FALSE
Almost all “allergies to silicone” in cosmetics and personal-care products are related to other ingredients and not silicone itself, which is safe in the quantities it’s used.

Silicone protects the skin: TRUE
According to celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy, you can look at silicone as something that acts as a coating. “It’s not letting anything bad into your pores, but it also isn’t going to let any good skin-care ingredients in if those are applied on top of it.”

Silicone can cause breakouts: MAYBE
Some experts feel silicone doesn’t do anything, but, for supersensitive skin types, it could potentially cause some problems. It serves to retain moisture in skin, but that can also trap in oil and bacteria, which may trigger some skin reactions.

Silicone can weigh down your hair: TRUE
This is one claim against silicone that is true. According to cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos, “certain silicones may build up on hair and weigh it down.” But, it’s not fair to single them out, since other hair ingredients can do the same—and, it’s easily reversible by washing with clarifying shampoo and does not cause any long-term damage.

Silicone can seep into your bloodstream: FALSE
The silicone molecules used in beauty products are so small and the dosages are so low, that, according to Joy, there’s nothing to worry about. “It’s an element, and the percentage used can’t cause any harm,” she says. Plus, because silicone is inert, it cannot penetrate the pores to enter the bloodstream.