What is the truth about dimethicone?

Clients often ask about the ingredient dimethicone that is in my sunscreens.  They are often worried because they have read on a blog that dimethicone and silicones in skincare and makeup "suffocate" the skin. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about silicones in cosmetics including that they "suffocate" the skin and trap bacteria; that they impair and hinder exfoliation; and that they lead to breakouts if you are acne-prone. ⠀

Dimethicone is a type of silicone widely used in cosmetics.  Dimethicone does not "suffocate" the skin; It acts as a vapor permeable membrane on the skin, meaning that it allows for gases to be exchanged between the skin and the surrounding environment. ⠀

Silicones are highly beneficial for acne prone skin and those with impair dermal barrier function. They prevent trans epidermal water loss from the skin and help to maintain skin moisture so that acne lesions can heal. They prevent scarring by increasing TGFB-3 (transforming growth factor) within the skin. Silicones are non-occlusive and do not clog the pores despite creating a smooth, non-greasy barrier. ⠀

Silicones are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic and are not known to sensitize the skin, making them ideal for easily-irritated complexions. They offset dryness from acne products such as benzoyl peroxide that typically cause flakiness. Those with eczema and psoriasis often find them helpful in managing flakiness and cracking of the skin. Silicones do not make the skin greasy and can feel good even on most oily skin types.

Silicones protect sensitive skin from environmental pollutants by creating a “breathable” barrier over the skin while still allowing nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapors to pass through. They also help prevent TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) to keep the skin feeling moist even in dry climates like airplanes. Silicones are biodegradable and eco-friendly.


  • Helps prevent scarring
  • Prevents transdermal water loss while still allowing the skin to breathe
  • Soothes and protects dry flaky skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Offset dryness caused from acne medications

Reap the benefits of adding dimethicone to your regimen with a few of my favorites.  

Rhonda Allison Peptide Primer combines the goodness of dimethicone with a potent blend of peptides, hydrators, and antioxidants that help skin appear firmer and more toned for a smoother, plumper more youthful look.

J. LeClerc Skin Perfection Sheer Tint Moisturizer SPF 40 combines dimethicone with ceramides, antioxidants and natural sun protection that helps protect the skin form the environmental stressors and TEWL.

J. LeClerc Prime & Protect Tinted Matte SPF40 combines dimethicone with natural sun protection and a beautiful tint that helps diminish discoloration and sun spots.

References: ⠀

Glombitza B, Muller-Goymann CC (2001). Investigation of interactions between silicones and stratum corner lipids. Int J Cosmet Sci 23:25-34⠀

Nichols K, Desai N, Lebwohl M (1998) Effective sunscreen ingredients and cutaneous irritation in patients with rosacea. Cutis 61:344-346⠀

Sawada Y, Sone K (1992). Hydration and occlusion treatment for hypertrophic scars and keloids. Br J Plast Surg 45:599⠀

Paepe K, Sieg A, Le Meur M, Rogiers V (2014). Silicones as nonocclusive topical agents. Skin Pharm Physiol 27:164-171⠀


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