Silicones and Skin Care

What are silicones?

Silicones, do your products contain them? Most people are surprised to find the answer is, yes…

You may be surprised at the ingredients in your products, and why ingredients are important.  Below are some Quick Helpful Links for you:

What's in your Microdermabrasion Product? (note the highlighted ingredients)

What's in your Anti-Aging Products? (note the highlighted ingredients)

Shocking New Anti-Aging Trend (hint: Lye)

Wrinkle Secrets

The unexpected benefits of microdermabrasion (and why you want to know)

If silicones are being banned in hair care products in many Asian countries, why are they in your skin care products?

Silicones, or polymerized siloxanes, are synthetic polymers. Silicones are part of a family of chemicals, called a class, which is why you don’t see “silicone” listed as an ingredient. Molecules of silicon and oxygen are combined, and other chemicals can be attached. Developed from silica, a common ingredient found in sand, in cosmetics, silicones are used as emollients, thickeners, and for their water resistant properties.  Silicones are hydrophobic compounds and are water insoluble at room temperature. As a result, they are commonly used in hair products, cosmetics, caulk, auto lubricants, adhesives, sealants, silly putty, resins, and sunscreens. Skin cancer is a serious risk, and the use of silicones in some countries for sunscreens is required. However, there are countries that have banned the use of Cyclopentasiloxane, a common ingredient in sunscreens.

In the presence of oxygen, at temperatures over 300'F (149'C), the PDMS in silicones becomes a formaldehyde releaser.  Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS ) is a commonly used type of silicone oil.  Silicone bases are non-biodegradable, inert, and too large to be absorbed into the skin; they “sit” on top of the skin.  Silicone derivatives in this class, number in the hundreds, and include Dimethicone, Simethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Methicone, Pilysiloxane and Siloxysilicate. Effective on dead proteins such as hair, when applied to the skin, silicone bases leave a residual film that covers the pores of the skin. Upon initial appearance, the skin looks smooth as the silicone polymers fill in the gaps of imperfections on the surface of the skin.

This film coats the skin, and as a hydrophobic compound, it can have an effect on the absorption of expensive high tech ingredients, and nutrients found in anti aging products. In fact, the majority of skincare products, and in particular the anti aging skin care product lines, including what may be considered the best anti wrinkle cream of the month, or using catchy names like SNAP and plasma skin care products, usually contain at least one silicone derivative in their ingredient list.

This video clip is an excellent visual illustration of a finger coated in a hydrophobic powder.  Now imagine this coating is in your cosmetic, or skin care product.

If our objective is to get the maximum benefit from product ingredients like retinol, ceramides, peptides, DMAE, hyaluronic acid, snake venom, dragon’s blood, or even those touted for DNA repair that are mainly expensive enzymes, is it possible if there is a film on the skin?

At the cellular level, this film may affect normal functions of the skin, as an organ. The skin is the largest organ in the body; 1 inch of skin = 20 blood vessels, 65 hairs, 78 heat receptors, 100 oil glands, 165 pressure receptors, 1300 nerve endings and 19.500.000 cells. The functions of the skin include: protection, temperature regulation, sensation, vitamin synthesis, water and cell fluid regulation, immune response, and the elimination of wastes and toxins. Blood is moved from skin tissues to the general circulation every 20 seconds. The skin is a multi-functional living organ and is in a constant state of healing and renewal. Cells are a collection of synchronized integrated mechanisms fueled by enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acid proteins, that produce the functions, required to run the human body.

Cellular wastes and toxins are excreted thru the skin. If the skin cannot exchange gases, its functions as an organ are impaired. If cellular wastes and toxins are not eliminated, they can be re-absorbed.  A build-up of wastes and toxins increases cellular stress, which in turn triggers the release of substances that increase cytokines.

Stress hormones have an internal and external affect on every system in the body, including the skin. Cytokines affect cellular inflammation and cell damage. When cells become stressed, normal cellular function begins to fail, which can cause damage to supporting skin structures. Continued damage can create changes in blood vessels, and in the lipid, or fat matrix of the skin. To make matters worse, our skin is covered with salt, which is released when we sweat. Salt is alkaline and alters the protective pH mantle of the skin, which can increase bacterial growth and visible signs of aging. Stressed or aged skin, can appear puffy dull and dehydrated, or saggy. When a plant leaf dries from lack of water, it droops and begins to crack. Hydration can only occur when the plant is watered, and the plant absorbs the water. The skin responds the same way. Perhaps what most people think of, as the feeling of their skin being moisturized, is really just the feeling, of product “sitting” on the skin?

Then, there is the new alarming trend, especially in Anti Aging skin care products, of the use of sodium hydroxide, Why? Sodium hydroxide is a lye base (as if that isn’t enough…) and alkaline. Your skin, and many Anti Aging high performance ingredients are acidic, which can affect performance.

Here’s a blog post on some products that contain sodium hydroxide, such as:  Murad Advanced Active Radiance, SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex, VERSO Day Cream, Caudalie Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum & Cru, Caudalie Premier The Eye Cream, Proactiv Complexion Perfecting Hydrator, Algenist Anti-Aging Eye & Genius Cream, and Clarisonic Opal Anti-Aging Sea Serum, Epionce Melanocyte Pigment Perfecting Serum, and Epionce Facial Lotion.

What’s in Your Anti-Aging Products? (note highlighted ingredients)

Learn more about hydrophobic compounds here:

Why does pH matter?


Images©Alex Merwin All Rights Reserved.
Video use: Education purposes only.  www.viewingtheconversation.com

Disclosure:  These are actual stories sent in by customers.  No products, or services were provided.  Customers followed recommended use, which requires daily use.  They are not typical of all customers.  Typical use can expect to see smoothing of the skin within the first week of daily use.

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