What does Cyclomethicone do in skincare?
If you take a look at the back of your skincare products, you’ll find Cyclomethicone has slithered its way almost everywhere.
Thank its texture for it. It gives it some unique properties that make it a pleasure for formulators to work with and for us to use. Here’s the secret to its success:
Cyclomethicone is a clear and odourless silicone. Sort of… Let me explain…
Cyclomethicone is a catch-all term to describe both individual and mixtures of cyclic siloxane materials derived from silicon and oxygen.
It differs from heavier silicones like dimethicone in two important ways: it has a drier finish and it evaporates quickly after application. Yep, this stuff doesn’t hang around to clog your pores. Yay!
P.S. Cyclopentasiloxane is NOT the same as Cyclomethicone. But it’s part of the mixture that makes it up.
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Cyclomethicone Benefits: What Does It Do For Skin?
Cyclomethicone was created in the early ’80s to give skincare products a smoother texture that allows them to glide on easily – without getting into your pores or sticking to skin cells.
Think about it. A skincare product only works if you can spread it all over your face equally. If you struggle to spread it evenly, you’ll get more retinol on your cheeks and a little less on your forehead, where you need it the most.
Heck, in the case of sunscreen, an uneven layer means that you’re leaving patches of skin unprotected. Hello, wrinkles!
Its smooth texture gives cyclomethicone the slip it needs to carry your skincare products – and the active ingredients they contain – evenly all over your skin.
What Else Does Cyclomethicone Do In Skincare?
Cyclomethicone has a few other jobs in skincare, but they all have something to do with enhancing the feel of the texture (both of the product and your skin):
- Conditioning agent: It makes both skin and hair softer and smoother to the touch. But, because it evaporates quickly, it doesn’t do this too well or for long. But when it does evaporate, it leaves skin silky instead of sticky.
- Solvent: It helps dissolve other ingredients (mostly perfume and fragrance oils) to enhance the texture and sensory feel of the product.
- Viscosity-controlling agent: Its alters the thickness of liquid skincare products.
- Water-repellant: Like all silicones, it creates a protective barrier on the skin that repels water. But, again, it evaporates quickly, so it’s not the best ingredient for this job.
Does Cyclomethicone Cause Breakouts?
No, cyclomethicone (and all silicones, for that matter) does NOT clog pores and cause breakouts.
Like all silicones, cyclomethicone has a particular molecular structure made up of large molecules with big spaces in between each molecule. This means that it can’t penetrate pores nor suffocate skin.
So, why do people think silicones cause breakouts? Heavier silicones, like Dimethicone, create a barrier on the skin that can trap some comedogenic ingredients underneath.
So, if you’re using coconut oil and then slather silicones on top, you may get a breakout. But silicones themselves are not comedogenic.
Related: The Complete List Of Comedogenic Ingredients In Skincare
Does Cyclomethicone Have Any Side Effects?
Cyclomethicone is generally considered to be safe. Having said that, there’s always the tiny risk it may irritate sensitive skin (heck, there are even people allergic to water!).
Always do a patch test before putting something on your skin. Just in case.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Cyclomethicone?
- Cosrx Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream ($26.00): Available at Beauty Bay, Dermstore, Feel Unique, Soko Glam, and Yes Style
- Epionce Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50 ($40.00): Available at Dermstore
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer For Normal To Oily Skin ($29.00): Available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice
The Bottom Line
Cyclomethicone is a volatile silicone that gives slip to skincare products, improves their texture, and carries active ingredients into the skin before evaporating into thin air. It’s safe to use and doesn’t clog pores.
What’s your take on Cyclomethicone in skincare? Let me know in the comments below.