The Truth About Silicones in Cosmetics

Silicones like cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone are staples in cosmetic skin products, because of their many useful enhancing properties. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of products that include silicone. Their use in cosmetics, then, is the subject of some debate. However, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has declared them safe to use in cosmetics. (1)

For some reason, they have a bad reputation, although the truth is these substances are incredibly enriching for your skin. If you look at the ingredients for some of your skin products such as Boots No 7 Serum, Advanced Dermatology, and The Ordinary Skin Care, no doubt you’ll find at least one of them contains silicones. They are very low risk. These soothing ingredients provide rich benefits for the skin and can treat under eye bags, crow’s feet, dark circles under eyes and under eye wrinkles while you sleep.

What are Cyclopentasiloxane & Dimethicone Silicones?

Cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone are synthetic substances that are made up of silicone, oxygen, and sometimes other elements like carbon and hydrogen. Although they are natural, before they go into skincare products, they do undergo chemical processing.

Cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone are very liquid substances that can make the skin smooth and radiant looking, as they are emollients. Silicones are effective at wound and scar healing. Although silicones are not comedogenic, they may on occasion trap oil, dirt, and dead skin and cause blemishes.

These substances condition the skin. They are in skin care products like creams for skin tightening, serums, foundations, and makeup primers. Using products early in your skin routine can be problematic because they act as a barrier blocking less occlusive products from entering the skin. They need to be applied last in a skin routine. Because of their slick texture, they can make the skin look plump and smooth.

cyclopentasiloxane & dimethicone silicones
Understanding the Role of Cyclopentasiloxane & Dimethicone Silicones in Cosmetics. Image/Shutterstock

Cyclopentasiloxane for the Skin

This silicone is in both skin and hair care products. It’s a thin, colorless substance that has hydrating properties. It actually does not penetrate into the skin but evaporates rather quickly. Cyclopentasiloxane for skin is an emollient that can make the skin soft and smooth by trapping liquid and hydrating.

The Cyclopentasiloxane benefits include treating skin conditions such as rosacea (Note: Avoid silicones in acne-prone skin or rosacea because they could worsen the condition). It has anti-aging benefits, moisturizing properties, and it’s sometimes added to sunscreen. There is a chance that Cyclopentasiloxane could cause people with allergies a mild irritation on the surface of the skin, but it’s not common.

One major benefit of Cyclopentasiloxane in skincare for manufacturers is that it’s incredibly cheap to purchase, which makes it more attractive as an ingredient than some of the other relevant organic substances. Consequently, you’ll find it in cosmetic products very often.

Some people believe that this substance is bad for the environment, as chemicals in skin products may get into the sewage system and be harmful. However, a review in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act has concluded that it’s in fact not dangerous to the environment, and very little of it actually gets into the system. Silicones are bioaccumulative. Sludge pollution in the water can occur when they are rinsed or washed off the skin and they may not break down for many years. (2)

Dimethicone for the Skin

Dimethicone is a silicone polymer which is in skincare, hair care, and makeup products. When it comes to the skin, it’s a very effective anti-aging substance. It has the ability to smooth out deep forehead wrinkles and frown lines. It’s an excellent moisturizer because it traps liquid under the skin, therefore keeping it well-hydrated.

Dimethicone cream can lessen redness and irritation on the skin because it’s very soothing. In addition, it’s a protective ingredient which can prevent further damage to the skin. Many people think that dimethicone for skin can irritate acne, but there’s no evidence for that and customer reports do not support it.

In fact, it’s included in many products like SiO Beauty SkinPad, Instantly Ageless Moisture Lift, Clinique and Luminesce Advanced Night Repair By Jeunesse Global that treat this skin condition. Dimethicone in skin care is actually an effective treatment for acne. (3)

Side Effects of Dimethicone

There’s a rumor going around in beauty circles that dimethicone and other silicones can clog the pores and contribute to acne. We’re not sure how this line of thinking got started, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Silicones are non-comedogenic, do not lead to acne, and they also have a low likelihood of causing allergies. They are actually among the safest ingredients in skin care products.

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Facts About Silicone – What Is It & Why Are They Used in Cosmetics

Silicones are fascinating substances which have a variety of uses, including treating the skin. Here are some interesting facts about silicones.

  • Silicone is the most bountiful element that makes up the earth’s crust. (4)
  • It’s the third most common trace element found in the body, in both people and animals. It’s also found in plants and in the water. (4)
  • A Swedish chemist by the name of Jöns Jacob Berzelius discovered the element in 1824. (5)
  • Studies on animals indicate that a deficiency in silicone can lead to certain skeletal abnormalities. (5)
  • Silicone can prevent hair loss from occurring, and also makes the hair brighter. (5)
  • Research shows that moisturizers with silicone increase the thickness of the skin and decrease the amount of melanin. (6)
  • Silicones are actually one of the safest substances to use on allergic skin. (3)
  • Dimethicone is used frequently in adhesives, rubbery silicone caulks, water-repelling coatings, and aquarium sealants.
  • Dimethicone can decrease the appearance of scars and heal damaged tissue. (3)
  • Cyclopentasiloxane in skin care is only one use for this substance. It’s also in lubricants, windshield coatings, medical implants, and sealants.
  • One reason for the use of cyclopentasiloxane in cosmetics is to give the products a lubricated, very slippery feel which is appealing to the eye.

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People Also Ask

Q: Is Cyclopentasiloxane toxic?

A: No, cyclopentasiloxane is not a toxic substance. It’s a safe element, but you could have a skin reaction to it if you have very sensitive or allergic skin. If this happens, this is not the right substance for you. See a dermatologist if you think it’s necessary.

Q: Is Dimethicone natural?

A: Dimethicone is definitely a natural substance, but it does undergo chemical processing before it’s included in skin care products. However, it’s still an organic ingredient.

Q: What is Cyclopentasiloxane used for?

A: It has anti-aging benefits and can eliminate the signs of aging. It provides hydration which can give the skin volume, eliminating wrinkles and expression lines. This substance also moisturizes the skin. In addition, Cyclopentasiloxane can treat skin conditions, heal wounds, and improve scars. It makes the skin soft and smooth.

Q: Is Dimethicone safe for skin?

A: Is dimethicone safe? Yes, it’s very safe and healthy for the skin, unless you have an intolerance to the substance. This could cause a redness on the skin, but it’s very uncommon with this ingredient.

Q: Is Dimethicone bad for acne?

A: This substance is an effective treatment for acne. As it’s very hydrating, it creates a barrier to trap oil, dirt, and dead skin cells which causes acne to flare. We’d certainly recommend acne treatment and moisturizer with dimethicone like Nu Skin and Perricone MD.

Q: Is Cyclopentasiloxane comedogenic?

A: No, Cyclopentasiloxane is certainly not comedogenic. It does not clog the pores, on the contrary, it cleans out the pores and rids them of oil and dead cells. Consequently, this can help to get rid of acne scars, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Q: Is dimethicone a silicone?

A: Dimethicone (also known as polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS) is technically called a silicone-based polymer. It’s a silicone oil with certain properties that make it extremely popular in today’s personal care market.

Q: Is cyclopentasiloxane a silicone?

A: Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone regularly used in cosmetic products. It’s commonly found in medical implants, sealants, lubricants, and windshield coatings.


Cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone are silicones that are used frequently in skincare products such as Crepe Erase, Mario Badescu, Obagi Skin Care, and Arbonne for their many benefits. They also have any other purposes, including cyclopentasiloxane to prevent hair loss. These are very hydrating substances which moisturize the skin deeply and provide anti-aging advantages.

The excess moisture provided under the skin can smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. these products are extremely helpful and enriching for the skin and are very safe to use. You can find them included in skin care products, anti-aging creams, makeup, eye creams, acne creams, serums, and other similar products because of their unique advantages. Look for skin care brands like Mary Kay, Murad, Proactiv, and Rodan + Fields if you really want a treat for your skin.

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Dr. Alina G. Bridges, DO

By Dr. Alina G. Bridges, DO

Dr. Bridges served as the Program Director for the Dermatopathology and Immunodermatology Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.