Beauty 101: Dimethicone


The path to flawless skin.

Indeed tis‘ a rocky one. A journey to a destination you may never reach.  You, your skin, ever changing, influenced by so many factors. Time, the sun, your diet, the bad habits you refuse to give up or the good ones you wished you’d taken on so much earlier.

Of course, this quest is not without its moments of hope and even the satisfaction of victory. But it’s a confusing path, for some overwhelming, for many it feels so out of reach why bother at all?

This quest can lead us to believe much more than we should. When you want something badly enough, it’s hard not to. Right?

There are times when the desire to believe should be pushed aside just long enough to let the truth, just this once, get in the way of what seems like a good story.  Overlook the smart or dare I say it, unscrupulous marketing thrust upon you.  

By all means, buy the hope, when your feeling vulnerable, it somehow helps, but before you leap, get a few more facts.


Can it be found in dimethicone?

There is an ingredient that can give you the false impression you’ve found the answer to flawless skin. Dimethicone. A silicone base polymer.  What was once sand, becomes silica, then silicone.  In the case of dimethicone, it’s synthetic and has been quietly morphed into a magical gel-like substance that will undo the years. Or will it?

Despite its widespread use, you won’t find dimethicone proudly displayed on the front label of your moisturiser or serum.  You’ll know it as, Age Perfect, Wrinkle Filler, Perfect Blur, Miracle Worker, Micro-Sculpting Cream, Miracle Sleeping Cream, Miracle Wake Up Cream and on and on it goes.  

It’s hard to resist the allure of a well-named skin care cream or serum promising you results akin to a visit to your dermatologist or cosmetic doctor.

The beauty industry is a collective giant worth billions worldwide and the use of dimethicone or other derivatives of silicone is commonplace among many industries. In the beauty industry, it’s everywhere. You’ll have no trouble finding it. The bigger the promise on the jar the more likely there is some form of dimethicone in your skin care.


How does it work, you ask?

It gives your cream or serum its fluidity, its silkiness and spreadability and in some cases its elegance. Once on your skin, it will settle into your laugh lines, furrows, frowns and the deepest crevices and smooth them over, giving your skin a slightly plumper look. Your makeup will look better. Great; you want that. We all want plump, flawless skin. Why not fill in the lines and wrinkles? But, on its own, the effect is temporary. Dimethicone is a volatile substance eventually evaporating from the surface of your skin. By the end of the day, you can expect to be back to your old self. 


But it does more than just plump you up.

If you’ve found a great cream or serum that has more than just dimethicone, then you’re in luck. Dimethicone acts as a carrier for other ingredients. Retinol, Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Peptides to name just a few, can be transported into the skin far more efficiently with a good carrier agent. Dimethicone is one such ingredient.


Does it harm or help?

On its own, it does no harm, and it works. Some may say it suffocates the skin. I disagree. Your skin does many things but breathing is not one of them, so it cannot suffocate. Some might also say, it will clog your skin or cause blackheads. Doubtful. 

Dimethicone has a large molecular size and sits on the surface of your skin and, as we now know, evaporates away, and has no ability to penetrate beyond the surface of your skin. So while it will act as a short-term protective barrier, filling in imperfections and assisting in water retention, after a few hours it’s pretty much disappeared from your skin. It’s job done until the next time you use it.


Is it really going to clogged your pores?

While you’re unique and dimethicone might cause congestion, there are lots of reasons why your skin might become congested and clogged.  It’s more likely to be the concentration of emollients or lipids being carried by the dimethicone are far too nourishing for your skin type.

It could even be other ingredients such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that have not penetrated into the deeper layers of your skin where they belong and are oxidising in your pores, forming blackheads or, it’s as simple as your exfoliating routine needs your attention. 

It’s rarely dimethicone on its own causing your skincare woes.

Where to from here?

In its place, dimethicone is a useful ingredient, but I’ve got a BIG issue with any product that promises to fill in your lines and wrinkles or give you laser-like results if the ingredient list doesn’t have adequate amounts of other high-quality anti-ageing ingredients.

So, in addition to dimethicone, look for products where there is a substantial cocktail of other super nutrients.  

You’ll get the ‘first-thing-in-the-morning-wake-me-up-miracle’ you’re looking for, with the knowledge the dimethicone is doing its job as a carrier and getting those nutrients to a deeper level and you’re getting a bit of skin-plumping-moisture-protecting-action at the same time! Okay?

Having said all this, the failure to add dimethicone to a product is by no means a deal breaker, in fact, there are many well-formulated creams and serums delivering the ingredients needed to reduce the signs of ageing without a silicone in sight and more power to them. 

In its place, dimethicone is a useful ingredient, but any product promising to diminish your lines or wrinkles, yet failing to offer other high quality, meaningfully active ingredients in the product is misleading.


Quality over quantity. Always.

Some products are so loaded up with dimethicone purely to improve the texture of the product and give you the illusion of a better skin and while I’ll admit some of these serums have an almost addictive quality, look for balance. If a product is so loaded up with dimethicone, then you should ask, what else does it offer you? Maybe, not so much. For me, that’s just not good enough. 


And now you?

Find the skin care labelling misleading and the ingredient list overwhelming? Got a story to share? Or maybe you’ve had a skincare revelation? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  

Thanks for stopping by and if you found this article useful why not share it with your friends, they’d probably like an intelligent perspective on their skin care choices too.

See you next time.

The Beauty Issue