Dimethicone: What Is It And Is It Safe?

Dimethicone is an ingredient often found in moisturizing skin care products, like primer. Speaking to Hello Giggles, NYC dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg explained, "Dimethicone is a silicone-based product that's used as a smoothing agent." He continued, "It allows products to be applied in a smooth fashion to the skin and fills in wrinkles and lines for an even, smooth appearance of product." However, it's not without its controversies. Here's why.

Given its ability to fill in wrinkles and lines, some believe that dimethicone is an occlusive with the potential to block pores and trap moisture, along with dirt and bacteria. This could ultimately lead to acne. As Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City concedes, "Any product that you applied to the skin that blocks your pores has the potential to cause acne." 

Dimethicone is useful for oily skin

However, Zeichner is certain that this isn't the case for dimethicone. "It is extremely useful in treating oily skin and acne because it does not block the pores or leave the skin feeling greasy," he explained to Refinery29. Really, it's just like any other skin care products — how your skin reacts comes to down to your skin type and sensitivity. "In some it may cause or exacerbate acne by occluding pores," Zeichner confirmed. "It can also cause skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, which presents with a red, itchy, scaly rash." 

As Zeichner notes, you shouldn't shy away from dimethicone in favor of natural products as the same reaction or skin problem could still occur. "It is a myth that because a product is labeled as 'natural' or 'organic,' that these products are any safer for our health compared to synthetic ingredients like dimethicone," Zeichner said. In general, dimethicone is safe for use, he concluded.