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Does Silicone clog pores? What you need to know

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Silicone is a much-debated skincare ingredient – some rave about its ability to mattify and smooth the skin, while others complain it clogs pores and leads to acne breakouts. And it’s an extremely common ingredient found in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup primers, and more. When you look at a skincare product ingredient list, I’d confidently say there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll find some form of silicone on it. So what’s the deal? Is silicone bad for your skin?

Cosmetic-grade silicon is a safe component to many skin care products, says dermatologist Nina Desai, MD. 

The most common form of silicone found in beauty products is dimethicone. Since is has a very fluid property, it gives products a silky, smooth texture which allows them to spread nicely across the skin. It’s the ingredients that fills in pores and softens the appearance of fine lines.

Additionally, silicones provide a protective barrier over the skin and help the skin retain moisture. It’s commonly used in diaper rash cream and even has been found to soften scar tissue, so you’ll find it in many scar creams and products.

While that all sounds great, this same barrier quality does have a downside. While Silica naturally helps the skin retain moisture, keeping it looking supple and youthful, you are also trapping bacteria, sebum, and other impurities.

Dimethicone is not water-soluble which makes it hard to remove and can lead to build-up on the skin and hair.

As to whether silicone clogs pores, this is where the experts are divided.

Some say silicones can be imagined like a net. They form a “breathable” semi-occlusive layer and do not clog pores. Whereas others say that some silicones can cause congested skin and clog pores. And because it can trap bacteria, serum, dead skin, and other impurities on the skin, it can make an existing acne problem worse.

Cosmetic-grade silicones seem to be safe to use on the skin. However, if you’re acne-prone or notice more clogged pores than usual after using a product with silicone, you might want to steer clear of it.

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