Guest Post: Stephanie of Bubble & Bee Tells Us About Dimethicone

By Kristie Turck •  Published 06/19/09 •  3 min read

stephStephanie from one of our favorite companies Bubble & Bee, where she creates awesome products from lip balm to deodorant to lotion sticks (her Geranium Lime Pit Putty is a SafeMama Fave) has so graciously offered her chemical expertise to us when we’ve needed it. In true Stephanie form, she came through for us when we asked her about the “real deal” on Dimethicone. I see it pop up everywhere from sunscreen, moisturizer to make up.   I asked her about it when a reader wrote in to us from Lovely SafeMama inquiring about the safety of Jane Iredale’s Cosmetics.  Dimethicone was one of the ingredients I saw pop up in almost every formulation so I thought it best to ask Steph about it.  Here’s Stephanie’s  breakdown!

EWG Risk Score: 3

What is it: Dimethicone is a silicone product that’s used as a skin conditioning agent, hair conditioning agent, and emollient (skin softener).  Depending on how it’s made, it can also be used as an industrial lubricant and caulk. It’s also a main ingredient of Silly Putty.  According to EWG, “Dimethicone is a mixture of fully methylated linear siloxane polymers end blocked with trimethylsiloxy units.”  In other words, it’s a highly industrialized, highly synthesized non-natural ingredient. It’s also known at “polydimethylsiloxane”

Why is it a risk: According to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List, dimethicone is bioaccumulative in humans and wildlife.  Basically it pollutes our bodies and environments and accumulates in our organs.  It’s not a known carcinogen or anything like that, but why add to the toxic load of environmental toxins that we add to our bodies on a daily basis?  In addition, poisonous hydrochloric gas is emitted during the chemical production of this ingredient.

What type of products it is in:

A few companies that use this chemical:

Steph’s Opinion: There are definitely worse chemicals than dimethicone, but there are definitely healthier, more natural options.  Why use a silicon-based polymer when you can use a natural oil or butter as an emollient or skin conditioner?  It’s used in shampoos and conditioners to make your hair feel soft and silky, however, it’s not really making your hair softer–it’s just coating the hair so it feels this way.  It’s one of those ingredients that’s used in lotions to trick us in to thinking it’s healing our skin because it makes the skin feel soft.  In reality it’s only covering problems and not fostering actual healing.

Sources:

http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=702011&refurl=/product.php?prod_id=49387&&nothanks=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydimethylsiloxane

More Info: Stephanie recently launched an awesome resource called Chemical of the Day where she highlights a ew chemical each day.  She has a weath of knowledge and information to share so I suggest you check it out.  Also check out her great products on her site Bubble & Bee Thanks Stephanie!!!