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Silicone: How It Affects Your Skin And The Environment

February 26, 2020 2 min read

Silicone: How It Affects Your Skin And The Environment

There's a reason all of our products are Silicone-Free. From makeup to skincare, we make sure our evidence-based ingredients and formulas are free of the oh-so-popular ingredient found in many cosmetic products. Silicone is one of the most  popular ingredients used by cosmetic companies but it gives customers a false feeling of skin improvement and smoothness, with instant gratification for flawless-looking skin. Unfortunately, it does not have long-term benefits. The truth is, silicone is derived from silica and other elements, and while it is technically made from natural ingredients they undergo a chemical process when combined. So, while there are factors that make Silicone-based products bad for your skin (read all about it here), the ingredient also affects and harms our environment. 

Whether we are talking about tiny particles added into your favorite lip gloss, or the flexible rubbery plastic covering for your favorite kitchen utensil, silicone is derivative of silicon, the most abundant element on earth after oxygen. Silicon, an element that results from heating silica (sand) at a high temperature, is called a metalloid element, which means it contains the properties of metals and nonmetals. Silicones are made synthetically of the element silicon bonded with other elements, most commonly hydrocarbons from fossil fuel, to form what we classify as silicone; and it’s got a very different makeup than where it started. 

The methods for obtaining and processing silicones have received much criticism from environmentalists. While silicone is arguably more environmentally friendly than plastic in the kitchen when used in skin and haircare, tiny particles that are impossible to filter get washed down the drain and released back into our waterways and oceans. Whether silicones ever fully biodegrade is arguable, but we know that if they do, it takes a very long time. And in the meantime, these particles are being introduced into our water and food sources as invisible micro-silicone particles that we can’t see or sense, but we are ingesting. When you consider that somewhere around 50 percent (give or take) of all beauty and personal care products introduced into the marketplace contain one or several silicone ingredients, the sheer amount of this synthetic, persistent ingredient being introduced into the environment is staggering.

Until recently, these microparticles have been mostly ignored because if we can’t manage the volume of visible, large scale ocean plastic pollution, it seems futile to try to convince consumers that we must also stop invisible micro silicone particles from being introduced into our environment. It’s tempting to think that if you can’t see it, it can’t be doing that much harm. But, we know better.

To read the full article on the effects of Silicone on the environment , please click here. (All photo courtesy: Beauty Heroes)