Elegantly Eco

Eco-Friendly Beauty, Fashion, Reviews, and Info

What are Siloxanes and why you should avoid them


Examples of products that contain siloxanes. Image 1: Source, Image 2: Source, Image 3: Source

What they are:

Siloxanes are a silicone based polymer that is often used in cosmetics to smooth, soften or moisten. It can make skin soft and hair appear shiny. Siloxanes also prevent water loss by forming a barrier on the skin, similar to petroleum jelly. Siloxanes are used in products from contact lenses, to shampoo, in food as an antifoaming agent, caulking, lubricants and heat resistant tiles. The most common siloxanes found in cosmetic use are: Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, Polydimethylsiloxane, Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone copolyol, and cyclotetrasiloxane. Also any ingredients ending in methicone or siloxane.

Why you should avoid them:

  • It’s toxic to wild life and other aquatic animals.
  • The European Union has classified a form of siloxane as an endocrine disruptor. Endocrine distruptors can lead to: cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
  • It’s not biodegradable. This means that once it gets into the environment it will never break down and be absorbed.

The FDA, The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) and even the EWG has given siloxanes a low hazard rating. That is for human use. But what about how siloxanes affect the environment? Whatever we use on our bodies eventually gets washed off in the shower. As well, what gets washed off in the shower eventually makes its way to natural water sources. Environment Canada has noted that siloxanes are “are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms.” Also since it is not biodegradable how will we be able to clean the world’s oceans and other waterways of this chemical? Just some food for thought. It’s my hope that when people use their personal products they are not only thinking: Is this toxic to me? But also thinking: Is this toxic to the environment?

Further reading:

Siloxanes – David Suzuki Foundation

Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable materials – WWF

Ann Marie Gianni – Ingredient Watch List – Dimethicone



Author: Hazel

Unrepentant blogger of eco beauty, fashion and info living in Toronto, Canada. Blogging and reviews about eco-friendly organic brands, beauty, fashion, cosmetics, skincare, haircare, body care, DIY recipes, home, wellness, and lifestyle products that are available in Canada.

2 thoughts on “What are Siloxanes and why you should avoid them

  1. This was very informative! I think that sometimes people focus too much on what rating a product or ingredient has and accepts it blindly. The EWG is awesome and I consult it often.. but I think it’s good for people to do research individually into ingredients and see what they really are all about. I appreciate you going the extra mile and sharing!!

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