Word on the beauty streets is that silica’s trying to kill you.
It’s the latest ingredient to be accused of giving you silicosis and all sorts of nasty diseases. Once the rumours start, everyone adds its fair share of gossips and side effects.
We don’t do gossip here (that’s why I won’t go into the whole Erica vs Coastal Scents controversy that’s on everyone’s mouth atm). We do science. And when there’s a scare like this, it’s to science we need to turn to (even if it isn’t as funny as watching two people argue).
So, what does the science says about silica in cosmetics? Is it really killing you or not?
What is Silica?
Silica is one of the most common minerals on earth. You can find it in sandstone, clay, granite and even in parts of plants and animals. You can also make it synthetically in a lab.
You get some of it when you eat fruits and vegs and it helps keep your joints flexible, your bones and teeth strong and your skin glowing.
Why Is Silica Used In Cosmetics?
- It absorbs oil and sweat, so your makeup lasts longer and you don’t look like a frying pan all day.
- It helps your makeup adhere to your face better.
- It thickens the consistency of a cream or lotion.
- It helps foundations spread onto your skin more easily.
- It improves even distribution of pigments in cosmetics, preventing them from settling in makeup.
So, What’s “Bad” With Silica?
Well, silica can cause silicosis. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a lung condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the lung. Overtime, lung tissues become thickened and scarred.
The symptoms are:
- Blue nails
- Chronic dry cough
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Sleeping problems
Scary stuff, huh?
But, and this is an important but, the type of silica that causes silicosis is crystalline silica. It’s dangerous for you only when you inhale way too much of it. So, if you were a miner not using a mask, you’d do well to worry. But, if you only use cosmetics?
What Type Of Silica Is Used In Cosmetics?
Hydrated silica. Aka silicone dioxide.
So, if you’ve been wondering whether you should go out and buy a jar of MUFE HD Powder, do it safely.
The Bottom Line
This is what happens when well-meaning people read something online without looking at the science first. They get scared, warn others in good faith and cause an unnecessary stir. Unless you’re allergic to silica, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be in your cosmetics.
Do you use cosmetics with silica or has this whole controversy put you off?