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The Low-Down on Dimethicone

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

Last updated on August 20th, 2022 at 12:36 am

Stephanie from Bubble and BeeRecently I asked Stephanie, the creator of Bubble and Bee what the “real deal” is on Dimethicone. I see it pop up everywhere from sunscreen, moisturizer, and makeup.

It came to my attention again after a reader wrote to us inquiring about the safety of Jane Iredale’s Cosmetics.  Dimethicone was one of the ingredients I saw pop up in almost every one of their formulations.  So I thought it best to ask Steph about it.

Here’s Stephanie’s, one of our favorite chemical experts,  breakdown!

What Is Dimethicone?

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 the 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 as “polydimethylsiloxane”

Why Is Dimethicone 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.

Types Of Products Use Dimethicone.

Companies That Use Dimethicone In Some of Their Products.

Stephanies 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 into 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.



Wikipedia Definition

About Stephanie:

Stephanie is the creator of one of our favorite companies Bubble & Bee.  She creates awesome natural skin care products from lip balm to deodorant to lotion sticks. The Bubble and Be Geranium Lime Pit Putty is a SafeMama fave!

Stephanie recently launched an awesome resource called The Honey where she highlights a new chemical each day.  She has a wealth 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!!!

Further Reading:

Safer Sunscreen Cheat Sheet

Safer Baby Skin Care Cheat Sheet

Keeping Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home

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