Dimethicone is a silicone oil polymer that is an extremely popular personal care and cosmetic ingredient. It applies smoothly onto the skin, fills in fine lines, and corrects uneven skin textures.
This ingredient is typically used in makeup foundations, primers, lotions/creams, moisturizers, hair conditioners, and hair detanglers.
It is one of the most-used emollient ingredients in moisturizers as it is an effective moisturizing agent without a greasy feel. It has a unique smooth, silky feel that enables it to form a permeable barrier that prevents moisture loss from the skin. This means that it decreases transepidermal water loss and maintains water and hydration levels in skin and hair.
What You’ll See on the Ingredients List
If dimethicone is used in a product, you will see “dimethicone” listed on the ingredients list. Raw material manufacturers offer Dimethicone in various viscosities from low to high. The viscosity of the dimethicone that is used in your product will not be highlighted on the ingredients list.
Low viscosity dimethicone is favored by many because of how spreadable it is. (I really like 50 and 100 cst, which are on the lower end of the spectrum).
Other Forms of Dimethicone
Dimethicone crosspolymers are silicon-based polymers that have been modified with hydrocarbon side chains — in short, you can think of them being a bigger molecule than dimethicone.
Similar to dimethicone, dimethicone crosspolymers can function as suspending agents, thickeners, stabilizing agents, skin & hair conditioners, texture enhancers, anti-foaming agents, and more in cosmetic formulations.
Safety of Dimethicone & It’s Crosspolymers?
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel reviewed dimethicone crosspolymer ingredients used in cosmetics with a variety of functionalities. The panel concluded that these dimethicone crosspolymer ingredients were SAFE in the practices of use and concentration given in their safety assessment.
Of course, if you have allergic reactions to Dimethicone or other silicone oils (such as irritation, redness, etc.), it’s not safe for you to use. Don’t use it! Just because something doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work well for others — so keep your opinions to yourself.
I would not be bothered about any rumors you hear about dimethicone or silicones. Just know that dimethicone is a great multi-functional silicone oil that can smooth your skin, make it soft and moisturized, and keep your hair smooth and detangled.