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. And yet, a lot of people aren’t a fan of this ingredient and won’t use anything that has even the smallest amount of it. Why is that? Is it dangerous or is there another reason why the natural brigade is avoiding it? Here’s all you need to know about Cyclomethicone in skincare, so you can make an informed choice for your skin:
- What’s Cyclomethicone?
- Cyclomethicone Benefits: What Does It Do For Skin?
- What Else Does Cyclomethicone Do In Skincare?
- Does Cyclomethicone Cause Breakouts?
- Cyclomethicone Side Effects
- Who Should Use Cyclomethicone?
- Cyclomethicone VS Dimethicone
- What Are The Best Skincare Products With Cyclomethicone?
- The Bottom Line
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.
Plus, it’s volatile, so it evaporates quickly after application. This makes it a great choice for formulations who want to create a texture that goes on smoothly but doesn’t feel sticky after application (often the case when you use natural oils).
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. Phew!
Related: The Complete List Of Comedogenic Ingredients In Skincare
Cyclomethicone 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.
Who Should Use Cyclomethicone?
Unless you’re allergic to it, anyone can use it Cyclomethicone, no matter what your skin type is.
Cyclomethicone VS Dimethicone
Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone are two types of silicones. They share a lot of the same properties and do similar jobs in skincare, but there’s a key difference: Cyclomethicone is volatile and evaporates quickly when applied to the skin whereas Dimethicone is not and stays on the skin for hours.
This is why they’re often used together in formulations. Thanks to its volatile nature, Cyclomethicone does a better job at delivering active ingredients to the skin. Dimethicone, on the other hand, works better at filling in fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a smoother appearance for hours.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Cyclomethicone?
Whether you use products with Cyclomethicone or not is a personal choice that comes down to whether you want silicones in your skincare and how much you enjoy its velvety feel (I do. A LOT). If you’re happy to use it, here are some great options to consider:
- Cosrx Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream ($26.00): This lightweight cream is loaded with natural oils, Hyaluronic Acid, and ceramides to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and protect it from the daily assaults from pollution, harsh weather, germs, and other skin enemies. Available at Beauty Bay, Dermstore Feel Unique, and Yes Style
- Epionce Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50 ($42.00): A tinted, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a water-resistant formula. It has a velvety texture that spreads easily onto your skin. Available at Dermstore
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer For Normal To Oily Skin ($37.00): A lightweight, silk sunscreen enriched with skin soothers to protect skin from UV rays and the inflammation they cause. Available at 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.