Will Silicone Clog Pores? Skincare Myths Busted by Dermatologist

Does Silicone Clog Pores?

Is silicone in skincare such as sunscreen and moisturisers harmful? Does Silicone clog pores? If you are in the habit of looking down the ingredient list of your skincare products, you are in good company. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre shares why you should not rule out silicone as a skincare ingredient.

If you find yourself wondering… will silicone clog pores? Get ready because we bust the pseudoscience behind this myth this article.  

Where does silicone in skincare come from? Does silicone in the list of skincare ingredients mean it is bad for me?

Silicone is actually a compound of a natural origin. For those into the clean beauty trend, this is the first myth we debunk! Clean beauty actually makes little sense from a dermatologist’s perspective because there is so much confusion about natural and synthetic ingredients. Synthetic ingredients are not always bad and in fact helps ensure safety and effectiveness of skincare. Being eco-friendly is different, using recyclable packaging, reducing wastage, that’s relevant. Clean beauty on its own is meaningless and can propagate dangerous myths. Will silicone clog pores? If you are wondering if this is a valid claim by the clean beauty movement, you are at the right place to know the truth about silicone as a skincare ingredient.

What is the relevance of silicone in skincare ingredient lists?

Mineral silicone binds with oxygen to form silica and then creates various synthetic silicones including those used for wounds and scars. Pseudoscience unfortunately affects the public perception of silicones and it is important to understand that silicone skincare is generally beneficial. Silicone belongs to the category of skincare myths, which we will begin to clarify. Silicone essentially has a emollient benefit, it forms a layer that prevents trans epidermal water loss to the environment and can also function with other ingredients as a way to deliver an even formulation is cosmetically very acceptable because it gives rise to a very silky and light weight finish.

Silicones, contrary to popular belief, actually enhances the ability of the product to deliver antioxidant compounds. For example, by ensuring that there is gradual and controlled as well as consistent release of these antioxidant ingredients into the stratum corneum because they prevent evaporation or interactions with the external environment. So on this note it actually helps to create a very optimal skin micro environment. 

I am acne-prone. Will silicone clog pores?

The question of silicone “clogging pores” is a common one in the clean beauty movement. Similarly, claims that silicones will suffocate skin are equally rampant.

These are very dangerous ideas based on pseudoscience.

It is a common misconception that silicone is a pore clogging ingredient. It’s very tempting for an individual who suffers from say comedonal acne to relate a flare-up to a product that they’ve used with a myriad of ingredients. The one that stands out right on top of the list is a silicone related ingredient. Subsequently, one may believe that the flare is the result of this ingredient. This is a great injustice because you will end up not using all of the beneficial skincare products or at least ones which are formulated properly. Silicones are inert and they are incapable of clogging pores on their own. 

I find that whenever I use skincare products with silicone, I get an acne breakout

Well if you find that happening to you, you are most definitely not wrong too. If you have an active acne problem, even without the use of pore clogging ingredients in skincare, you will still have acne flare ups. This is because acne is a medical condition that we need to treat. We cannot alleviate moderate or severe acne with skincare products alone. There are over the counter skincare products targeting acne which include botanical actives such as chlorella vulgaris, a sebum controlling active ingredient. These can be used in conjunction with medicated acne treatment

One thing we know for sure is that silicones do not cause acne. And in fact, we use these in prescription retinoid formulations (for acne treatment) to relieve dry flaky skin which is a common irritation side effect of retinoids. 

Double cleanse your face thoroughly after makeup & sunscreen 

However, what tends to be an issue is if you are not cleansing your face thoroughly, makeup and sunscreen residues can cause breakouts. Certain silicone derivatives  such as siloxanes are much smaller and are the culprit. They are present in certain types of makeup. For example, if they are not removed from the skin thoroughly after cleansing, it can potentially create a skin micro environment which is more favorable to comedone formation. This is why we should remove sunscreen and makeup properly as well with double cleansing.

Will silicone clog my pores by reducing natural skin exfoliation?

With regards to its effect on exfoliation, or skin renewal cycles, I think we have to really study the type of silicone that is in use. This has been borne out in a study conducted by the British Journal of Nursing. Overall, it is absolutely important to understand that silicones are non-toxic to skin and do not harm in any way. It definitely is not regarded as comedogenic. Comedogenicity is the appropriate term for pore clogging that causes acne.  Silicone is non irritating on all skin types, especially dry, sensitive, or oily, acne prone skin types. This has been borne out by various studies performed in toxicology journals.

Is silicone beneficial for skin?

Yes! The vast majority of dimethicone derived skincare products are among the gentlest emollients available. It is also an FDA approved skin protectant for wounds and burns. When used together with glycerin, for example, it is highly effective. To avoid a moisturizer or a sunblock simply because it contains a form of silicone is actually a form of pseudoscience and is not consistent with current toxicology and dermatology research.

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