A little cream applied to the skin is enough to make it smoother and softer, even from the first application. This happens thanks to the silicones contained in the cosmetic product that create a kind of film on the skin and also make the cream easy to apply and with a non-greasy texture. So, all right? Are silicones in creams beneficial and safe ingredients? Not really, as we will see below.
Silicones, how they work and benefits
Silicones are artificial products obtained from silicon. Since the 1950s they have been added to cosmetic products as, given their occlusive and hydrophobic action, they allow to create a film on the skin (Paepe et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2014). In this way, the skin is softer and smoother to the touch (Disapio et al, Int J Cosmet Sci, 1988). Not only that, the cream that contains silicones is less greasy and smoother to apply. It has been observed that, in the case of open wounds, creams and gels with silicones have allowed rapid healing, helping to prevent or attenuate any scars, thanks to the protection provided by silicones (Bleasdale et al, Adv Wound Care, 2015).
However, the benefits of silicones are also their downside. In fact, once the face is rinsed and the cream is removed, the skin will return to exactly the same as it was before, if not even a little worse. Silicones just cover the skin without bringing it nourishment and preventing other substances from doing it. In the long term, the skin, under this layer of silicones, becomes impoverished and dry, acne and blackheads can worsen. From what emerges from scientific studies, silicones in fact do not improve skin hydration since they do not help retain water in the skin layers (Paepe et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2014). In general, silicones are considered inert, in the sense that they merely form a film on the skin, however, recently attention has focused on two types of silicone, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane and Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane. For a few months the presence of these substances in cosmetic products has been restricted by law as they have been found to pollute the environment as well as have an action on human health. In particular, it has been observed that these silicones can have an action on hormones and the liver, although, it must be said, this action mainly refers to inhalation during production or by contact with silicone implants. The use of cosmetics containing these silicones should not cause problems as the silicones are not absorbed (Montiel et al, Eng Life Sci, 2019).
Silicones, how to recognize them
In the INCI, which is the list of ingredients of a cosmetic product, silicones are easily recognized because their name ends in –one or –ane. To give examples, silicones are dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl methicone, cyclopentasiloxane.
Creams without silicones, they do not have an immediate effect but ...
So, unless you have an open wound to be treated with special creams, it may be a good choice to prefer products without silicones, natural, which perhaps will act more slowly but definitely take care of the skin. Natural creams without silicones do not give an immediate effect of softness and brightness. But their ingredients, such as vegetable oils, butters and essential oils, nourish the skin and over time can give it that soft, elastic and fresh look that is so much desired, but in a natural way and that does not disappear when rinsing the face. In short, the natural cosmetic works with the skin, does not take its place.