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* A silicone
* Please read TIA's article on What Is It: Silicones and Should We Avoid Them?
Methicone is a silicone based polymer that is used as a skin conditioning agent and surface modifier in beauty products, cosmetics, and skin creams. It is primarily used to create a film or barrier for makeup to stick to. This barrier prevents sweat and oils from coming through underneath which would normally cause makeup to wear off. Methicone and all silicone polymers, have a large molecular weight; it is unlikely to be absorbed into the skin, helping it to serve as this barrier between the skin and other products, and also preventing it from penetrating the skin itself (RealSelf.com). The CIR has approved Methicone for use in concentrations up to 15%.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
However, silicones in general are considered controversial. Because Methicone has such large molecules and coats the skin, preventing sweat and other chemicals from penetrating the dermis, there is some fear that it may not allow sweat and toxins to escape.
There is some fear that Methicone may cause allergic reactions or serve as an irritant as well. A study published in the International Journal of Toxicology in 2003 on the Final Assessment of the Safety of Methicone (amongst other silicones) found that in tests using 6% - 79% concentration of Methicone, no adverse reactions were reported, "yet adverse effects were noted with a hand cream formulation containing 1% Methicone, suggesting something else in the preparation was toxic." This seems to be a consistent theme (that other ingredients in formulas containing silicones actually serve as irritants) in allergic reactions or irritant reactions to Methicone and other silicones, and it is generally considered a non-irritant in thorough studies.
Silicones have also been linked to cancer, specifically breast cancer, and have been found to be toxic. However, because Methicone's molecules are too large to penetrate the skin's surface and are not being injected directly into the skin, topical application is generally considered safe. Consideration must be taken only when using Methicone in formulas containing other toxic ingredients, because silicones can enhance the penetration abilities of other ingredients.
The EWG has given Methicone a safety rating of 99%, it is FDA approved and CIR approved for use in cosmetics.
Recommended Products w/ Methicone:
Dermacia Lycogel Melt Resistant Foundation, Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub, Sterling Mineral Makeup, Revlon Age Defying Spa Foundation, Lorac Natural Performance Foundation