You may have seen it on the ingredient list of your shampoo, conditioner, cream, lotion, foundation, or makeup primer-dimethicone. What is this ingredient, and should you avoid it?
What is Dimethicone?
Dimethicone is what the chemists like to call a silicon-based polymer-“polymer” meaning it’s a large molecule made up of several smaller units bonded together. Simply put, it’s a silicon oil, man-made in the laboratory and used in personal care products as an anti-foaming agent, skin protectant, and skin and hair conditioner.
Manufacturers like it because it makes products easily spreadable, so you get that feeling of the lotion or cream gliding over your skin. Dimethicone also helps form a protective barrier on the skin, and can fill in the fine lines and wrinkles on the face, which is why it’s often used in makeup primers.
Is Dimethicone Safe?
The FDA has approved the use of dimethicone as a skin protectant ingredient in over-the-counter products, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel has assessed it as safe to use in personal care products. Some studies have found it to soothe and help improve chronic hand dermatitis, and to help reduce inflammation and irritation. The Skin Deep Database also lists it has have a low hazard risk.
For us at CV Skinlabs, though, this is not a good ingredient to be using in your daily skin care. Like petroleum products, silicone oils can actually make dry skin worse over time. Instead of sinking into your skin and nourishing it from the inside out, like healthy ingredients do, it forms a sort of plastic-like barrier on the outside of skin.
Why Dimethicone is Bad for Your Skin
That artificial coating on the outside of skin causes several issues:
- It traps everything under it-including bacteria, sebum, and impurities-which could lead to increased breakouts and blackheads
- The coating action actually prevents the skin from performing its normal activities-like sweating, temperature regulating, sloughing off dead skin cells, etc.
- Prolonged exposure to dimethicone can actually increase skin irritation, due to the coating property and because dimethicone is listed as a possible skin and eye irritant
- Those with sensitive or reactive skin are at risk of an allergic reaction to dimethicone
- On top of all this, dimethicone is a non-biodegradable chemical-bad for the environment
I also believe that using these types of ingredients on your skin can actually exacerbate skin aging. Why?
- You’re inhibiting skin’s natural processes
- You’re creating a dependency on the coating product, disrupting the skin’s own hydrating processes, which in the end increases dryness, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable
- The coating properties may increase breakouts, particularly if you’re susceptible to acne, which will lead to scars and older-looking skin
- You’re doing nothing to boost the health and vitality of the skin, thus letting aging take its toll
Much better to use nourishing ingredients that help keep your skin hydrated naturally, promote repair and a healthy skin barrier! (Speaking of, check out CV Skinlabs here!)
To avoid this ingredient, stay away from all dimethicone and similar ingredients like cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, and phenyl trimethicone.
What do you think of dimethicone? Has it caused you to break out? Please share.
Fowler JF Jr., “Efficacy of a skin-protective foam in the treatment of chronic hand dermatitis,” Am J Contact Derm 2000 Sep; 11(3):165-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11012005?dopt=Abstract.
Dimethicone. Truth in Aging. January 1, 2006. http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/dimethicone.
Material Safety Data Sheet, Dimethicone. http://www.essentialingredients.com/msds/Element%2014%20PDMS%20350.pdf
Photo courtesy kisluvkis via Flickr.com.
You are right. My experience is with construction materials.
Dimethicone. Since it blocks the skin. It’s like putting a layer of glue over my psoriatic skin. Makes things worse, skin can’t breath. What do I use to stop water from leaking around a bathtub. Silicone sealant. Using Dimethicone, is like going to the hardware store and getting silicone sealant, putting it on your skin and expecting good results. Just because it is approved for use by the FDA does not mean it is ok to use. Anyone that is allergic to petroleum products, most humans are, will have a problem. Note:The problem, or reaction, may not show up immediately, it may take a few hours – days – weeks etc. Suffocating your skin, blocking off oxygen, not letting your skin get ride of toxins and bacteria, is never good. Your skin is the last defence your body has to remove toxins. Yes I have psoriasis, was put on antibiotics for about 2 months, so now I have a leaky gut. I’ve read at least 10 books by Medical Doctors, Dieticians. and Naturopaths, that have been healing people with Leaky Gut for 30 or more years. Have drastically changed diet, after 4 months of pain and loss of sleep, Itching is gone. pain is almost gone, peeling skin and redness is leaving. Doctor recommended Lubriderm made it worse.
I am convinced it causes what is sometimes known as SMELLY HAIR because the scalp cannot breath, I get painful itch spots on my scalp too. I have resorted to just using Jojoba oil instead of conditioner spread through the ends of my hair while wet to condition it. I always read the ingredients before I buy. It really aggravates me that even high end brands use this stuff to create slippage in shampoo or conditioner..
Hi, Lizzie—jojoba. What a great recommendation! So much better for your hair, for sure. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for the great recommendations!
I understand the importance of being and using “natural” products in and on our persons…however, last year I was diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosus, a very painful and horrible skin condition. The use of Dimethicone has been a necessary hygienic regimen for me.
I have eczema. I discovered through trial and error that beauty products with any of the -cone caused allergic reactions around my mouth, nose and eyes and minor break outs. I explain to people that dimethicone is like putting plastic wrap on your skin. I switched off completely for a couple years (including shampoo and conditioner so my scalp and back no longer have outbreaks). There are very few products that don’t contain some form of dimethicone or other silicon substance. Many are very expensive, such as my foundation, that I’ve compromised and now use eye make up with the terrible stuff. Even non-prescription eczema “treatments” have dimethicone as the active ingredient!!
Hi, Kathy. Thanks so much for commenting! Greatly appreciate your recommendations. I loved “Green Beauty” as well—one of the staples in my library! So glad that you’re finding benefits in what we’re doing and even happier you let us know about it! All the best. 🙂
Thank you for all the info, links & opinions. Although some may not experience this YET it can be an irritation or allergy that can take time to rear it’s ugly head. As we age our skin does get thinner and what I’ve learned from my dermatologist and research over time what you may have been able to use is now irritating and cause dermatitis. In the past 6 months I’ve figured out anything with dimethicone, silicone is not right for me. Since there are companies who see the customer concern and complaints I’m keeping my fingers crossed we see more who go cone/xane free. I’ve had success with Juice Beauty and I’m interested to try some of the others people have posted. As for the negative comments, especially from the derm resident I hope you understand that criticizing and mocking others concerns and obvious symptoms does not help. Unless there is definitive proof that this ingredient has NO comedogenic issues than it should be discussed.
Thanks so much for writing in, GHoward. You’re so right that a sensitivity can develop over time, and also about the changes our skin undergoes as we age. I totally agree with you that these issues need to be discussed and it’s obvious from the response to this post that a number of people are having symptoms from this ingredient. So appreciate everyone sharing here!
Hi, I’ve been having all these problems, too, but now I have found REN; their sensitive skin care range (Evercalm) does not contain any Dimethcone, not the redness serum. The range has only 4 products (and I haven’t checked any of the other products in other ranges), but so far I have to say, I am completely converted. Good luck all, Deborah
i have a terrible reaction to dimenthicone…itchy bumpy rash..i have found purmineral pressed powder works fine (not bare minerals) but i would like to find a safe liquid foundation–even dhc which i thought had great skincare has it in theirs:( thanks for spreading the word!
I have used Clinique products since I was a teenager. I am 30 now and all I can say is I wish I had known about this 10 years ago. I have a skin issue where my skin does not exfoliate naturally and causes little white bumps called milia. I used to have some on the top of my cheeks and over the years they spread all over my face. I did some research and found that dimethicones (or silicones in general) are one of the causes of milia. I just read the ingredients on my Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion and guess what? The second ingredient after water is Dimethocine and it also contains other cones. I am never touching this thing again. Off to find a new moisturizer. Thanks so much for the article
Hi, Vesna. Oh such a good point! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Yes, that milia is so irritating! Would love to hear if you’re able to reduce it with the changes you’re making. Moisturizer is definitely one of those products that stays on your skin long-term, so you want to be extra careful of the ingredients in it. Best of luck in your quest for clean and clear skin!
I have been fighting acne most of my life and now suffer from rosacea
(I am 57), due to dimethicone in so called oil-free foundations. Dimethicone is everywhere. It is in shampoos, handcreams, most all
makeup except Regular Covergirl (my only all-time favorite), and sunscreens even. Dimethicone is an over used additive used even in hair DYES.
(Read the ingredients next time you color your hair). I am so scarred as a result of acne and rosacea resulting from
this stuff. I even had breakouts on my back from hair conditioner (loaded with dimethicone).Hopefully one day this stuff will be banned
and soap, makeup and shampoo will be a safe product for us with sensitive
Hi, Candy. You’re so right. This stuff is everywhere, which is bad news for those who are sensitive to it. Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry to hear about your acne and rosacea. Definitely use only natural products and I hope it will clear up for you! Good luck. 🙂
I’ve been dealing with severe eczema on my hands for over 2 years now. I’ve tried every OTC cream, multiple topical steroids and steroid injections. My skin has gotten so bad at times that every finger on both hands had multiple cuts. Extremely painful, especially while trying to care for a newborn. Now I find out that this chemical is in some baby wipes. It’s causing the exact symptoms I have, to other people and worse yet, to babies. I was using an Oil of Olay make up remover wipe and a couple of days ago, I woke up with a swollen face covered in welts. I thought maybe I had been bitten by something and was having an allergic reaction. After some Benadryll and some tea tree oil, it calmed down to leave what look like red patches of eczema. This made me check the ingredients of both brands I have in my home and they both contain it. I’m going to start eliminating the baby wipes and the face wipes and see if it makes a noticeable difference. I’m so glad I found this. Thank you.
Wow, Danielle. That’s amazing. I feel for you with all that suffering, but you may have found the key, here. If not, please keep looking, as you may be sensitive to other chemicals, as well. Meanwhile, I would recommend our CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion for your eczema. (http://cvskinlabs.com/?product=body-repair-lotion) I’m proud of the product, of course, but I’ve received so many testimonials from people like yourself who suffer from eczema who say our products are the only ones that work. Hate to see you continue to suffer! Good luck with eliminating dimethicone—I hope it helps!
For people who want a foundation without dimethicone they can try Laura Mercier, the oil free one does not contain it. It saddens me that almost all over the counter facial products contain dimethicone. Acne products that are supposed to clear up blackheads contain this crap which only makes their acne worse! I wish there were more products out there for us people who hate dimethicone.
Thanks for the recommendation, Kadji. I agree we need more dimethicone-free options!
Thanks so much for your story, Shannon! I would recommend my post, “Where Do I Find Safer Products?” (http://cincovidas.com/where-do-i-find-safer-products/) for a list of other online shops where you might find dimethicone-free products. There are others out there–it just requires some research because the ingredient is so prevalent today. Good luck and thanks for sharing!
Hello all.. as a liaison navigator for one of the world’s top toxicologists in 2009 and 2010, I would have to say what I learned the most was about the detrimental properties of dimethicone and it was one chemical we cautioned people to stay away from. Do a search on Morgellon’s disease.. on nano-tecnology and you will find out some of this technology has a life of its own as it inhabits the body in many ways. I do love a first year dermatology student having the opinion that this caution is basically internet rubbish…. it is no such thing. I would not take the advice of a first year derm student over a world renown nano-toxicologist EVER… You can research Dr.Hildegaard Staninger and find out more about how man made nano technology is ruining our bodies… it is subtle, long lasting, and we haven’t seen the beginning of the problems that will arise. I have had really great luck with Dr. Hauska products…and tho more expensive, it is much better than having to pay for repair later on that nano products cause.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for your information, I have an allergy to this also, well this is one of three really long named ingredients in a shampoo, I have sinus problems, headache right on top of my head,. I have just covered my scalp in organic coconut oil, then added some manuka honey, my scalp has been really itchy and I have been scratching and broke the skin, these chemicals have caused a reaction, so much for the saying ‘ I use it all the time should be ok’. One day you use it and it’s not ok.
Thanks for sharing your story, Janine. You’re right—we can use these products for a long time, and then suddenly one day we experience a reaction. That’s how a “sensitivity” happens, unfortunately. Take care of yourself.
I’m trying to get accurate information on scar tissue healing. Just about everything I’ve read says Dimethicone is the stuff to use. I purchased two Mederma products to use on scars that formed from some cuts on the underside of my forearm that I got a couple months ago. One product, an “intensive overnight cream” is Dimethicone 2%; the other is a day formula called “advanced scar gel” and its main ingredient is Allantoin 0.5%. I’ve only been using them a few days, but it seems to me like the scars are getting more red. Overall, the skin seems smoother and has less of the tightness I’ve been experiencing prior to using these products, but the redness concerns me. I need these scars to to begin healing ASAP. They are unsightly and I’m job searching. I live in Key West, FL, and it’s hard to stay in long sleeve shirts to try to hide the scars. I’ve been wearing a soft arm brace to cover the scars when I’m in public, but it’s hot and uncomfortable. Has anyone else out there had a similar experience with using scar creams w/Dimethicone and/or Allantoin? I can’t decide if I should keep using the stuff or if I should stop right away and stick to natural things like vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel, etc. any input will be greatly appreciated!
I’ve been using silicone based creams for about 2 months now and I love them. They are great moisturizers and are helping diminish scarring I’ve had from surgery. I don’t think I’ll stop using them.
Hi, Tara. I’m glad they work for you. Some people have no sensitivities to dimethicone, but as you can see from the comments here, many do. Thanks for writing in.
I recently had a severe allergic reaction to eye liner causing corneal blisters. So severe was the reaction, my eye doctor prescribed steroids with three return visits so far. Two brand new eyeliners in a row caused a reaction. I did an ingredient comparison and came up with dimethicone, synthetic wax, and polyethylene as probable culprits. The product that caused the most severe reaction contains TWO forms of dimethicone. I wish I had done my research before I endangered my vision… Who knew?
Ugh. That sounds painful, Teresa. Thank you for sharing your story and alerting others who may have similar sensitivities. We are surrounded by synthetic ingredients and sometimes the body just doesn’t accept them. I wish you the best for speedy healing.
I am thrilled to have found this blog and others who have had issues with dimethicone (and the other notorious cones). While I don’t have the knowledge or access to do any “scientific” experiments, several years of trial and error and lots of cash have indicated that my skin and dimethicone are a no no. I have friend who swear there’s no problem and the sales staff at Sephora and Ulta must think I’m crazy when I insist dimethicone causes those lovely under the skin, painful bumps. Like medications and anything else that causes irritation (both physical and emotional), it’s all personal. What irritates one may not irritate another. I envy those who can apply products with dimethicone without waking the next day with beauty wounds.
I thought I found a great moisturizer once…no mention of dimethicone or any of its cone friends. First jar…no problems. Second jar…my skin was doing very well. Third jar…my skin was not only getting pimply, it was red with dry patches (which is very unusual for my oil slick of a face). I checked the jar, and guess what those sneaky makeup making people did??? They included dimethicone. There was no mention of new or improved ingredients. My old jar was dimethicone-free…what gives?!?
ALSO, I found some products featuring “silicone free” on the box, but the FIRST listed ingredient is generally dimethicone. The people at Sephora always insist there’s no dimethicone if it says silicone free on the packaging, yet I have not found one (potential exception: REN BB cream…I need to check the box to be absolutely certain).
Thanks for sharing your story, Stephanie. What a great lesson in reading labels! Always disappointing to find that a trusted brand has made a change without informing customers, but as you said, it happens. Thanks for reminding us to check and re-check!
Just decided to see if my hairloss has anything to do with a product I have been using for years. Dimethicone is in it. Hair loss is significant and skin around where hair touches gets rashes. I would hope to take note of this possible link to hair loss and requirements of the sun to our hair. Can’t allow a product designed for hair and hold risk to losing your hair. Science should be very easily available to understand the depth of a hair growth with our suns natural purity to the things that block that process.
I was just reading the list of ingredients on several skincare products given to me as Christmas, birthday, etc. gifts. On one product alone, dimethicone is listed in FIVE different places! Reminds me of the various foods that list sugar by so many different names in the same product.
Hi, Bonnie. Thanks for sharing. It’s so true, isn’t it? I mean, this is like the “it” ingredient for cosmetics right now. I prefer nourishing ingredients myself!
This is fear-inducing rubbish. Let’s consider the following points:
•You’re inhibiting skin’s natural processes
>Which natural processes? How are they inhibited? And why is that bad?
•You’re creating a dependency on the coating product, disrupting the skin’s own hydrating processes, which in the end increases dryness, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable
>Do you have a source to back up this claim? Does a dependency actually develop? I doubt it. Moisture comes from within (oils in your diet, water consumption). Dryness comes from without (environmental factors like humidity, hot showers, soaps, sun exposure, etc.). The dimethicone is designed to provide a seal to prevent those external factors from taking the natural moisture from your cells. Put your faith in real applied science, not uneducated baloney.
•The coating properties may increase breakouts, particularly if you’re susceptible to acne, which will lead to scars and older-looking skin
>This is true, particuarly if used heavily on the face. It will have a tendency to clog pores, which could trap bacteria and result in breakouts. But this doesn’t really apply to hands/feet, which are most heavily in need of moisturizer. People with sensitivities/allergies should also use caution, to avoid rashes.
•You’re doing nothing to boost the health and vitality of the skin, thus letting aging take its toll
>Ridiculous! You’re helping your skin keep it’s natural moisture! In most cases, dimethicone helps alleviate the effects of environmental skin damage. It protects against wind, dry air, etc. Quit spreading poorly-researched, misleading information.
I have had chronic sinus infections for years, the bumpy cystic painful facial acne, and unexplained dryness. I discovered my reaction to dimethicone with a salon level loreal shampoo. It seems my body’s response to it has remained. I also have a nickel allergy, and a yeast response to sugar after going cold turkey off diet sodas. Do you think there is a connection? It has been very helpful to read others’ stories.
Hi, Jazzy. Thanks for sharing your story. Though I’m not an allergy doctor, my research has shown that if you have sensitivities to one ingredient (like nickel), you may be at an increased risk for other sensitivities. That’s why I created my own line of skin care, for people just like you—and there are many of us out there—who are reacting to all these unnatural ingredients in our daily care products. Wishing you better luck with safer and more natural options!
Interesting- there is some validity to this. I try to use natural products for my hair because I usually wear it curly (no petroleum, sulfates, silicones, mineral oil). About a year ago I discontinued a product after I realized that I broke out in hives in my face and neck areas and had itchy eyes. Recently I flat ironed my hair and utilized some heat protectant products. A few days later I’ve broken out in hives with itchy eyes again. So I just decided to look for the common ingredient in these products which may be the culprit. Sure enough I found dimethecone (and several forms of it) included in all products. Upon searching for its risks and effects I came upon this article. Good to know, and glad that I’ve found the culprit. Thanks
Thanks for sharing your story, Mercedes. The more we share the more people we can help. I’m so glad you zeroed in on what was causing those nasty hives. I’m sure they weren’t fun. Good luck moving forward with safer products!
To Gary J. Palys who wrote that his Dermatologist said that there is a very small percentage of people, probably under 1%, that will have a allergic reaction to Dimethicone, and to ignore this blog’s information….you need some common sense. A dermatologist is going to write off anything that’s contrary to what they can make money from. Dimethicone makes my eczema/psoriasis worse, especially when in the Aveeno products. Sensitive skinned individuals have a lot of skin issues related to Dimethicone. Uneducated comments like yours and your dermatologist are why so many products are still made with harmful ingredients.
Aveeno with Dimethicone for severe dry skin is the only product that works for me… It is sad that you would write this article. I took the liberty of printing your article and showing it to my Dermatologist and all she would say is that there is a very small percentage and probably under 1% that will have a allergic reaction to Dimethicone. She also said to disregard your article and that is what I intend to do!
I was researching Dimethicone/Silicon and stumbled upon your blog. Your information is absolutely spot on. Dimethicone-free shampoos/cosmetics are very hard to find. I’m a Miessence representative and I do market certified organic cosmetics along with skincare that is certified organic to international food grade standards. Our cosmetics have no toxins, chemicals etc. Miessence is definitely an organic alternative to chemical-based cosmetics. I hope Britta doesn’t mind sharing my shop info here! I wanted express that certified organic cosmetics DO exist. 🙂 http://www.miessence.com/theoliveparent
Thanks for the info, Hannah. 🙂
I looked up the Korres face primer with high hopes, but found the foundation has dimethicone as the second ingredient after water. It’s so frustrating to have to sift through every product line and each product ingredient within the line. It’s exhausting and seems impossible. How can anyone ever find a good list of affordable everyday products. We need everything from shampoo/conditioner, soaps and body washes, deodorant, toothpaste and cosmetics that are free of harmful chemicals yet still work. It’s truly overwhelming.
Hi, Lara. How frustrating, huh? The primer doesn’t have it, but I’m not surprised the foundation does. I agree—would be nice if brands were more consistent across the line. But I think dimethicone is too tempting for them as it’s an inexpensive way to provide smooth application and appearance on the skin. I know it can be overwhelming, but once you do find those products you like, you can return to them again and again. Just take it one product at a time. When you finish that product, do some research on a safer brand, then stop there. Next time you run out, repeat the process, and within a few months you’ll have several products you can return to. Good luck! (Note—Suki Organics has a dimethicone-free tinted active moisturizer you may be able to use as your foundation, as well as a safe concealer.)
I love this product for use AFTER doing dishes or taking a bath. When used as such, it actually works quite well in keeping the moisture IN.
I to had problems using eye creams that contained Dimethicone, until one day I walked in to my local Drugstore and asked for samples to try out.
I have tried out several brands, until I tried the NeoStrata-Anti-Aging Eye cream-Fruit Stem Cells. My problem was solved. No more stinging, burning, itching and irritation. I love this product and the price is good also $47.-.
it goes on sparingly, and last’s well.
Um all of this is your own opinion and there are no links to ANY studies or research backing up your claims.
I definitely believe there is some connection between Diamethicone and skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema. I stopped using silicone based hair products three months ago, I also stopped using sulphate based hand wash and shampoo. My hands normally have eczema break outs around the autumn and winter time. This year I had none, until my children picked up head lice at school and I washed their hair using Hedrin, I didn’t think to check the ingredients. I now know Hedrin contains 4 percent Diamethicone. My right hand is severely affected, two of my fingers are cracked to the point of bleeding. This happened within hours of contact. The irritation began almost immediately. The fact that a chemical has been liscens obviously does not mean it remains safe. After reading other comments on this thread will also be stealing clear of sulphates.
Hi, Gill. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Sounds like you definitely have a sensitivity to dimethicone and it’s best if you stay away from it. Sulfates are very harsh and corrosive as well and are terrible for people with skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. You may want to start using gloves more often when washing or cleaning to protect your skin. Meanwhile, give CV Skinlabs a try! (grin) It’s awesome for soothing irritated and inflamed skin.
Sigh. As a 2nd year derm resident this is laughable at best. Internet nonsense. Dimethicone is safe. It is an effective product for 99%+ of the population. What isn’t bad for the environment nowadays? If the product works for you, use it. If you’re in the 1%, discard it and move on to other products until you find one that fits your personal skin profile.
I was prescribed (by a woman GYN/OB, a product for sexual comfort for post-menopausal ladies and it has these ingredients in it. I read it is not that easily absorbed into the skin, but mainly stays on top. I am going to try it, but be cautious. Have you known of any vaginal issues from these products?
Hi, Mary. Thanks for writing in. I’m glad you’re being cautious. You’re right that from what we know so far, dimethicone stays on the surface of skin. The vaginal area is much more sensitive, however, and potentially more absorbent. Even WebMD cautions against using dimethicone in this area, so you may want to test a very little bit first. (http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-18321-Dimethicone+Top.aspx)
I’ve been reading everone’s comments, and it’s VERY disconcerting how little we know as a population the adverse effects caused by products we use every single day. If dimethicone isn’t in your shampoo/ conditioner it’s probably in your lotion, sunscreen, anti aging cream, baby lotion, makeup… basically anything smooth. I’ve been looking at the ingredients in all my products. Furthermore, where there is dimethicone, there are most often going to be sulfates bc that’s the only thing that removes the insoluble silicone. If you are using a sulfate free shampoo, and there is dimethicone in one ore more of your products, you are surely going to accumulate a buildup that won’t wash off with anything Other than sulfates. Why in the world are we so uneducated about the toxicity of products we use multiple times everyday?! And even more alarming, why isn’t anyone regulating on what is going into these consumables? Is it because of money perhaps? Where there is dimethicone there is acne… Acne requires treatment… BOOM there’s an industry. Also, where there’s dimethicone, there’s sulfates… and where there’s sulfates, there’s cancer. Cancer requires treatment…. BOOM another huge industry. AND it’s no surprise that there is no cure for cancer… There’s no money in the cure; the money’s in the medicine. Those of you that are challenging the FACT that dimethicone and sulfates are bad for consumers, need to do a little bit of research. Just do a quick google search on sulfates, dimethicone/silicone, dioxane 1,4… The facts are there and they are startling!
I’ve recently experienced the worst of the worst side effect from prolonged use of Pantene Pro V. Pantene has hi concentrations of dimethicome and other silicone products that when you stop using it, these additives that have built over time become VERY apparent. In short, I have been sealed from head to toe in this unbreakabale silicon. After months and months of trying to wash it off, I finally learned through my own research that sulfates are required for the removal of the insoluble molecule, dimethicone. Sulfates are also very bad for your body because many such as sodium laurel/ laurelrth sulfate, oxidate when combined with other common ingrediemts and produce the byproduct dioxane 1,4 which is a proven carcinogenic. The FDA doesn’t put many restrictions on the cosmetic industry for reasons unknown
Yeah I think the more I use lotions with this silicone/dimethicone stuff the more my skin gets dry and so I depend on it to moisturize my skin not knowing, that’s why my skin is overly sensitive now, it is the lotions with dimethicones makes my skin more dry.
thanks for your review! Now I realized it.
I’ve found some good options for both makeup and lotions (face and body) that are dimethicone free at Whole Foods. Zuzu Luxe and Gabriel Cosmetics make some dimethicone free foundations and powder (yes, even pressed powders contain dimethicone!) and there are multiple brands of face and body lotions there as well. On a budget, Everyday Coconut sells face lotions for under $10. I have a dimethicone problem. Sme products with it lower on the ingredient deck, I can tolerate for a couple of days, but then break out. Some products (primers) cause me to break out within hours. Dimethicone heavy products works wonders on my dry hands and seasonal excema. To me, it sounds as though Kiara may have mild excema (excema can cause the peeling acne that she describes). For me, it seals the cracked skin where the bacteria can get in on the backs of my hands and elbows. For my face its a different story, but I agree there could be benefits for some with excema.
About 2 years ago I was on a trip to Hawaii. I got a lot of sun and worked up a sweat on several hikes… and then I broke out with maybe the worst back acne breakout ever. It was horrific – basically from the back of my neck down to the bottom of my ribs I was covered in massive red welts. I saw my dermatologist and we tried Retin-A and several rounds of antibiotics and neither had an effect. My derm finally asked me what hair products I used and I told him that I was using a smoothing serum with dimethicone as the main ingredient. Just like you mentioned, he said the dimethicone creates this unbreathable barrier – trapping dead skin, sweat, bacteria. The sun (which causes inflammation and dead tanned skin to slough off), sweat, and bacteria that naturally occur on the skin were a lethal combination, trapped under the dimethicone from my hair product. It all made sense – the acne hardly showed up on my face, chest, or arms – just my back. It was clearly the hair product. Once I stopped using it and swapped it out for products that contained argan oil and healthy ingredients, the breakouts stopped worsening after about a year of spiraling out of control. The aftermath of the breakout was still too great and was healing so slowly that after much deliberation I ended up taking a round of a heavy duty oral acne drug with major side-effects for over 5 months. It wiped out what acne was left but the scarring is still taking a long time to fade (it’s been a year since I completed the drug). I haven’t had a single zit since completing the medication and discontinuing use of the dimethicone based hair products. I’d like to note that way before my awful breakout, I tried to stop using the smoothing serum, but my hair was drier than ever before. My hair was addicted to the stuff. I barely use any product now and everything is back in balance.
Wow, Kate. What an amazing story. Your experience is a great example of the harm dimethicone can cause under the right circumstances—to hair and skin. Thank you so much for writing in. Your words will serve as a great caution for other readers to use this product at their own risk. In the meantime, congrats on gaining control of the issue and changing to healthy, nourishing products!
Hi, Kiara. Thanks for sharing your story. You’re right that some people will not be bothered by dimethicone. I have never heard of someone actually finding benefits with it, though! Interesting. ?
Great conversation on dimethicone. I have HORRIBLE reactions to dimethicone but it took three years and many doctors visits to discover the cause b/c dimethicone (and family, like cylcomethicone) give me SEVERE sinus headaches (migraines), hot flashes and fatigue. I had sinus cat scans, was on three different steroid medicines for my sinus and was still in severe pain, until I stopped dimethicone, and then GONE. There are mass market makeup that doesn’t have it: I used Maybelline pressed powder, CoverGirl mascara, Covergirl undereye concealer, Neutrogena lip gloss etc. I have never heard anyone connecting dimethicone to severe headaches, fatigue and hot flashes, but it is in so many products that it is hard to figure it out.
I have oily bumps on my forehead and a “path” of bumps on my right cheek of my face. I also have bumps that can be very sore on my legs. Could these symptoms be caused by dimethicone?
Hi, Charlene. Thanks for writing in. I would refer you to a dermatologist for your symptoms. It could be that you’re having a reaction to dimethicone, but it could be many other things, as well. It’s hard to tell without more information and/or an examination of your skin. You could try abandoning all of your products that have dimethicone and see if that helps the condition go away, but I would also recommend a trip to your dermatologist to be safe.
very helpful information….the question now is wt do i use on my very oilybface to prevent my makeup from melting..i find out it doesnt stay beyond 3 hrs max…
Oily skin can be very frustrating, can’t it? The good news is that it’s less likely to wrinkle as you age, so you can at least be happy about that, right? ? To help absorb the oil and keep your makeup looking better for longer, make sure you’re using a regular cleansing and moisturizing routine that helps balance your skin oils. Try cleansers and toners infused with glycolic or fruit acids, as they help cut down on excess oil. Niora (http://www.niora.com/ ) has a lovely natural spray toner of fruit acids that stays on your skin to fight oil throughout the day. Use a lightweight moisturizer that’s oil free and non-comedogenic, and let it absorb. Try an anti-shine primer before you apply makeup—make sure it’s for oily and acne-prone skin or it will only make you shinier. Use only oil-free makeup products. You may want to prime your eyelids as well, to help eyeshadow adhere. Matte foundations are best—mousse formulas tend to float on the surface of skin. Use powder, but don’t overdo it, as that can stimulate your skin to produce even more oil. You may also want to try a finishing spray, which helps set the makeup and keep it from running. Take blotting papers with you to touch up during the day. Let me know how you make out!
This is just your opinion. Please provide your research information. Your sources listed are not saying that Dimethicone is bad.
Hi, Jesse. I invite you to do some research yourself if you disagree with me. You have a right to your opinion, of course, but my research has shown that dimethicone is a silicone product that coats the skin. That means that it can clog pores, encouraging acne (as you can see by our readers’ comments), and it does little to nourish or improve skin’s health and condition. Applied daily, it can gradually worsen the condition of skin. I much prefer truly nourishing ingredients, like those I have in CV Skinlabs products.
Also, as far as the Korres face primer, I looked up the ingredients and it is full of oil. I can’t use oil on my face either. I just use spring water for a moisturizer and that’s enough. I used to get cysts that got infected and they would come back if I used any oil on my face, especially on a regular basis.
Thanks for your input, Janice. I’m sure there are many people out there with oily skin like yours that just can’t handle the dimethicone. It’s difficult as there are so many products now with the ingredient in it. Makes doing our own research all the more important!
I read all ingedients in every product I put on my face because I learned the hard way that I absolutely CANNOT use anything with dimethicone in it. It breaks me out in huge acne cysts and clogs my pores something terrible. I have had people recommend to me (at makeup counters) that it won’t bother me with acne, and I always look at them and say, “Well, I have research skills, since I am a PhD (which I am), and I know for a fact that acne is caused by products that clog your skin, and dimethicone is one of those.” That usually shuts them up. This product, in my opinion, is toxic and I can’t believe that the FDA approved it in the first place.
Do you have any scientific data to back up your claims?
Hi, Michelle. Please note the sources I listed at the end of the article for scientific support on the claims, particularly the study in the American Journal of Contact Dermititis.
I recently experienced a huge outbreak of eczema after using a face primer with dimethicone as its first ingredient. Initially, I was reluctant to believe that the cause of my problem could be the primer, knowing that dimethicone is so widely used in cosmetics and in anti-dermatitis lotions. It is approved by the FDA and it is listed as low concern in the EWG database. But upon retrying, after my skin had calmed down, just on a little patch, I again experienced tightness and extreme dryness of my skin in the area. I had a hard time finding confirmation of my findings on the web until I came across this website. Needless to say I will be avoiding dimethicone in any cosmetics product from now on.
What a great testimonial to the damage that dimethicone can do. And you bring up a good point that other readers have also noticed—where the ingredient shows up on the list can tell you a lot. That dimethicone was first lets you know that there was a good amount in the formula, so that likely contributed to the issue for you.
It can be difficult, but you can find products that don’t use dimethicone. The Korres face primer is completely free of all silicones, and may be something you want to try. Good luck in finding alternatives—if you come upon some great ones, please share them with our readers!
Thanks so much for your article on this product.
I’ve made my own skincare products for over 5 years and have always used very small amounts (less than 1/2 %) of dimethicone. It provides a gorgeous feeling lotion and great protection from my swims in a chlorinated pool. My skin is absolutely lovely and clear and I’ve never had any problems with breakouts or reactions and to my knowledge, neither have any of my friends, family and customers so far.
Of course reactions are possible, which is why anything new going on your skin should be patch tested first.
For those who are allergic or just prefer not to have products that contain dimethicone, there are lots of alternatives including using just pure oils.
Hi, Sarah. Thanks for writing in. You bring up a good point that some products have more dimethicone than others—those who are sensitive may want to see where it lands on the ingredient list. Closer to the top means there’s more of it.
I used redefine eye cream and noticed my eyes red and watery, which I didn’t realize it was the cream. I was out of the cream for about 5 weeks and just got it today and within 20 mins of using it my eyes started to bother me, and now I know it’s the cream. I looked up the ingredients and am not happy with the result, I have found this information very helpful, and will refer my friend to it.
I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to Dimethicone years ago, via patch test, at a dermatologist’s office. In attempting to respond to this diagnosis by buying dimethicone-free lotions, creams and cosmetics, I was shocked at how difficult it is to locate beauty and personal care products that do not contain some form of this ingredient. I was further dismayed to realize that brands marketed to people with problem skin, such as Aveno, Eucerine and Lubriderm, all contain significant quantities of Dimethicone, as do most cosmetics.
In all these years, I have found only a tiny percentage of drugstore-accessible products that do not contain this ingredient, and common to most of them is that they are older, classic formulations such as Ponds Dry Skin Cream and CoverGirl Clean Makeup for Normal Skin, a liquid foundation that has also been around for many years. The only body lotion I know of without Dimethicone is U-Lactin Therapeutic Body Lotion, which is helpful in that it contains Urea and Lactic Acid to deliver better-than-average skin softening properties. On the other hand, short of foregoing makeup entirely, I just can’t seem to avoid Dimethicone entirely, especially at the mass market level. In closing, I wish that products labeled as “hypoallergenic” did not mislead so many people due to the inclusion of this potentially irritating ingredient.
Thank you for spreading awareness of this ubiquitous ingredient.
Hi, Dlynn. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Amazing that you were actually diagnosed with a sensitivity to this ingredient. A good lesson for the rest of us—sometimes we should really put these things to the test! Yes, unfortunately so many of our drugstore products seem to want to use chemical ingredients that “fake” the look of skin softness, instead of giving us the nutrients that would really improve the health and feel of the skin. The best thing we can do is use our dollars to influence the market. Please see my post on where to buy safer products and I think you’ll find more options, but you may be relegated to shopping online until the market changes. (http://cincovidas.com/where-do-i-find-safer-products/)
With all these chemicales in our food , in our personal higine products and not knowing what were putting in our bodies and on our skin .No wonder theres so many new disease these days without any cures
Hi, Nicolle. I loved reading your comment. I was just like you before I realized how damaging so many of the chemical ingredients in our everyday skin care products could be. You’re so right that a lot of the supposed “benefits” of these products are fake, with ingredients meant to fool us into thinking the product is really helping our skin. I’m so glad you’re being careful about what you purchase. Keep spreading the word and we can make a change in the industry, I’m sure of it!
I have a terrible allergy to dimethcone for years I’ve suffered.Please tell me what makeup I can use that doesn’t have this horrible ingredient in it?
If we all avoided everything on the market that caused a reaction in somebody, there wouldn’t be anything left we could use/consume. With proper washing and exfoliation, there’s no reason why dimethicone would prohibit any significant normal skin functions. It’s used in such minute amounts, that it isn’t a problem, unless one has a particular, personal sensitivity/allergy to it – like, say, tomatoes…
I appreciate your opinion, Jaelin. Yes, I’m sure many people do fine with dimethicone. The problem is that manufacturers rarely if ever tell us of the possible side effects or complications associated with certain ingredients before putting them in their products. I’ve heard from many consumers and from many other sources about problems with dimethicone, particularly for those with acneic and sensitive skin. There are other issues as well that can affect the outcome—such as what other ingredients are present in the formula. My mission is to inform people of what they’re using so they can make their own choices. I’ve heard from several readers that after stopping their use of dimethicone, their acne cleared up. For those that benefit, I’m happy to provide the information.
Im in the uk and have just had a sever reaction to this ingredient in nit rid lice lotion, my face is huge like a hair dye allergy. My neck is huge, sore throat, chest pain, i am now on medication.
I have researched dimethicone a lot after I heard from Nicole Weider, a model, that it causes acne. I stopped using products with dimethicone & I have clearer skin!
Hi, Ann. Thanks for letting us know! It’s difficult to avoid dimethicone these days, but definitely worth it if you want clear skin and fewer acne breakouts.
about 4 months ago my usual foundation Forever Makeup HD) started to make me break out. I thought…,,I will switch to a “healthier” brand with lots of “non-comedogenic” ingredients. Without bothering to do any research switched to Clinique. The problem only got worse. Started researching the dimethicone and silicone ingredients and found that almost all foundations have them unless they are organic. Even my moisturizer from the body shop (an anti acne one) has it. So i switched to Juice Beauty foundation and one of their moisturizers. This was after quitting using the clinique about two weeks ago and going foundation free (SCREAMS OF TERROR) till the order arrived in the mail.
My skin is like new skin. Soft, bright, all 50 of the comedones on my forehead totally gone.
My red patches on my cheeks – gone. My skin actually reflects the light and looks vibrant and lovely. Very surprised about such a common ingredient being so detrimental. Thank you for the info.
Nancy, I love your story! Thanks for writing in. “Screams of terror”—hilarious! You’re so right—it’s so difficult to find foundations and even lotions these days without dimethicone. Crazy! I’m so glad you stuck with it and found a brand that doesn’t cover your skin with this clogging ingredient. Thanks again for letting us know about your experience!
I have some issues with various face cosmetic products causing me to break-out. I started doing some research and Dimethicone appears to be a common theme in all the products that caused me to break-out. At least now I can watch for that ingredient when buying face creams.
Dimethicone – in skin care products eh – I just discovered that one of the ingredients in Tropicana Trop50 is none other than Dimethicone! What is a skin care product doing in our food????
I believe dimethicone is the cause of my allergy when I use some of my cosmetic products. My eyes start to tear and my nose runs. I am currently looking through all my makeup and other products and throwing out many things that have toxic chem’s. The FDA is a joke it they approve this and other toxic chemicals. All about $$$
Wow, good to know!
I did not know that this can actually make your skin more dry over time – great knowledge as always!