What is it?
Dimethicone is a type of silicone, one of the most widely used in cosmetics, haircare and skincare.
What is it used for?
You know the sort of creams and serums that feel like silk on the skin, leaving a smooth softened and slightly mattified finish? They probably contain dimethicone or another silicone. Because of its fluid properties, dimethicone helps create improved texture in skincare, helping products to glide across the skin. It also helps to fill in pores or fine lines, which is why you'll often find dimethicone on the ingredients list of primers. It can also act as a barrier over skin since the molecules are large, making it perfect for harsh weather conditions, whilst it's also used as a skin protectant ingredient for wound healing and treatment of dry patches.
What are the pros and cons of using it?
There is some debate about whether dimethicone and other silicones can clog pores and worsen acne-prone skin. Whilst these claims haven't been addressed in great detail when it comes to current published research, anecdotal evidence shouldn't be ignored and some users also simply dislike the texture of silicone-based products. Having said that, dimethicone makes huge improvements to the texture of many skin products by acting as an emulsifier, preventing other ingredients from separating. It is also effective in creating a mattified finish, so is popular in skincare products for those with oily skin or large pores. Dimethicone is also used in creams to protect mild skin irritations, dry patches or healing wounds, and is effective at locking in moisture thanks to its larger molecules. Ultimately it's a personal choice - some prefer silicone-free products whilst others rely upon dimethicone for their specific skin needs.
Which products can I find it in?
Dimethicone is popular in serums for its silky-smooth texture, although it's just as prevalent in moisturisers and even cleansers. For a prime example of dimethicone's skin-smoothing properties try La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Mat Sebo-Regulating Moisturizer, Vichy Idealia Smoothing & Illuminating Cream or Esteé Lauder Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher.