Specialty chemical company Dow Corning has released a new white paper on the application of silicones in skin care formulations, compiled by the company’s global technology leader for skin care, Isabelle Van Reeth.
The paper surveys the industry, noting that despite some consumer concern about their chemical, potentially bioaccumulative natures, silicones have been used safely and effectively in skin care products for over 50 years.
Today, they continue to enjoy widespread use in personal care: silicones were present in more than half of new skin care launches in 2015, and have seen particular popularity thanks to the BB cream trend.
What can silicones do?
Silicones are a broad chemical family, rather than a single material, and there are many different variations of the type of silicone chain, or polymer.
When used in personal care formulations, silicones can offer multiple benefits and are considered a versatile ingredient. The following are the primary uses for silicones in personal care:
- Sensory and texture enhancers
- Emolliency and high spreadability
- Transient to long-lasting effect
- Wash-off and transfer resistant
- Non-occlusive to semi-permeable
- SPF enhancement
“At the bench chemist levels, silicones allow the development of challenging formulations, such as for foundations and sun care, permitting the delivery of actives while maintaining a very good sensory profile,” Van Reeth explains. “Silicones are valuable additives across all products for face care, color cosmetics, sun care and antiperspirants / deodorants.”
The DOW paper notes that silicones have seen particularly widespread usage in foundations and tinted moisturisers in recent years, as they increase spreading and colour uniformity, and also help to disperse pigments in low viscosity systems.
With the ever-rising consumer demand for naturals and organics, silicones are increasingly coming under consumer scrutiny; however, due to the huge impact they can have on the texture and sensorial aspect of personal care products, many brands are opting to stick with silicones in their formulations. Time will tell if the demand for natural comes to outweigh their functional benefits.