What is Cyclopentasiloxane in Skincare Products and Cosmetics?
Unless you have a qualification in chemistry or experience working in a chemistry lab, you might struggle with some of the ingredients found in skin care.
If you do, you’re not alone - we certainly do. Not only do we struggle to pronounce many of them, we also struggle to understand why some of them are used. Here at Sönd, we create kind skin care products. Products that have been developed to support, nurture and nourish the skin.
Why? Because our own skin has had its fair share of drama.
We have acne prone skin, and we know exactly what it’s like trying to figure out what’s best, and what’s not best, for our skin. Over the years of figuring it all out, we realised that there wasn’t much on the market that we could rely on. So we set about creating our own skin care range, and so, Sönd was born.
Cyclopentasiloxane Free Skincare
In creating our skin care products, we knew that we needed them to be as natural, and as kind as possible. We based them all around the power of alkalising silica salts and added skin nourishing plant based ingredients.
They not only support acne prone skin, they support any kind of non conformist skin types. This includes oily skin, dry skin, rosacea prone skin and skin that struggles with psoriasis.
Naturally, we decided that we weren’t going to add anything nasty. So our range is free from parabens and mineral oils and isn’t tested on animals.
This also means that our skin care products are free from cyclopentasiloxane. Cyclopentasiloxane is an ingredient used in cosmetics and many other products. Here, we’re going to discuss what cyclopentasiloxane is, what products with this ingredient are used for and why we think it’s best avoided.
What is Cyclopentasiloxane?
Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone. It’s also used as a sealant to protect the skin against moisture loss and as a lubricant as it helps the skin and hair absorb heavier, larger molecular weight ingredients. Plus cyclopentasiloxane gives products a silky, smooth feel that then have a nice feel to the skin.
Also known as decamethylcyclopentasiloxane or D5, thankfully, it’s often referred to as simply, D5. It’s colourless, odourless and is always found in liquid form.
Is D5 the Same as Silicones Used in Haircare Products?
You may be aware of the use of silicones in haircare products. They help to seal in moisture by forming a protective barrier over the hair shaft. You might have also heard of certain big brand name shampoos and conditioners containing silicone, that coat the hair. This has the benefit of making the hair feel soft and shiny.
But it also has the unwanted side effect of pushing water away from the hair. This then means that the hair becomes dehydrated and we all know what that means - dry, brittle hair that’s prone to breaking and turning frizzy.
So in order to prevent this dryness and frizziness, we should steer well clear of the products that promise to do the opposite, but in fact, cause the dryness and frizziness! (A classic case of short term gains - glossiness - leading to long term disadvantages - dryness.)
Cyclopentasiloxane is one such silicone also used in hair or skin care products. In fact, cyclopentasiloxane is used in wash-off cosmetics and is used in personal care products today across many beauty brands.
What Are the Benefits of Cyclopentasiloxane in Skin Care?
Cyclopentasiloxane has many benefits. Since it makes products spread easily, it’s added to moisturisers and foundations to help them glide onto the skin without pulling it. It’s also a very lightweight type of silicone, allowing it to feel effortless on the skin. When added to heavier weight foundations and products with heavier oils, it helps to disperse them across the skin.
It’s also used in spray products that need to dry quickly, such as hair spray and spray on deodorants and antiperspirants. This is because cyclopentasiloxane is a volatile compound, meaning that it quickly evaporates into the air, leaving behind the active ingredients.
What’s more, cyclopentasiloxane is an ingredient that's also very cheap to use and add to product formulations...
What Does Cyclopentasiloxane Do for Skin?
Cyclopentasiloxane helps to provide a protective barrier on the skin. It doesn't get absorbed into the skin. Instead, cyclopentasiloxane eventually evaporates away when applied to the skin or hair, simply acting to deliver the active ingredients.
What Other Products is Cyclopentasiloxane Used in?
Silicones such as D5 are often used in cosmetic products and skin care but they're pretty ubiquitous in all personal care products. They help to protect the skin from moisture loss and add a protective barrier to the skin.
However, they're also found in waterproof mascara, lipsticks, eyeshadows, products designed to detangle the hair and sunscreens.
What Are the Side Effects of Cyclopentasiloxane?
As is often the case with these amazing sounding skin care ingredients, cyclopentasiloxane also has a down side.
Although most skin types, including sensitive skin types, can tolerate it, it has been linked with a slower, more sinister side effect than skin irritation. Cyclopentasiloxane is thought to be an endocrine disruptor. This means that some studies have shown it can alter the way our hormones work.
Is it Safe To Use Cyclopentasiloxane in Cosmetics and Skin Care?
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, have found a low level risk that cyclopentasiloxane could be an endocrine disruptor. However, in balance, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel says that this is only likely at concentrations higher than in most skin care products. So, it's unlikely that using products containing cyclopentasiloxane on our hair and skin will lead to changes in our hormones.
It’s also thought that due to the fact that cyclopentasiloxane evaporates away from the skin, rather than absorbing deeply into it, that it poses less of a risk. Also, if it is absorbed by the body by inhaling it, it’s eliminated from the body in the urine.
But, we’re of the mind that if something has a question mark hovering above it, it's probably best left alone.
It’s because of this question mark, that we’ve left cyclopentasiloxane, and other questionable ingredients with a bad reputation, out of our skin care formulations.
What's the Environmental Impact of Cyclopentasiloxane?
There’s also an environmental question mark surrounding the use of skin and hair care products that contain cyclopentasiloxane. This is because when used and then rinsed off down the drain, cyclopentasiloxane may accumulate and build up in waterways.
There is evidence to suggest that it can then bioaccumulate in fish and other marine animals. This can affect their hormone levels and function. And presumably there’s also the risk that we could be consuming cyclopentasiloxane in our diet if we eat fish or shellfish.
Studies suggest that this might not be the case. But even so, recently (in January 2020) the European Union introduced restrictions on D5 use in cosmetic products that are intended for skincare and haircare products, effectively and imposing a limit on the use of cyclopentasiloxane. Skin and hair care products can only have a less than 0.1% concentration of cyclopentasiloxane.
Is Cyclopentasiloxane Safe?
The bad reputation of D5, is just that - at the moment. Cyclopentasiloxane has no known side effects that are officially recorded, and therefore it's considered safe to use in cosmetics and safe for daily use on different areas of the skin.
However, cyclopentasiloxane is volatile and adding silicone ingredients to the skin does mean that it has the potential to throw up more concerns in the future.
What Are the Natural Alternatives to D5?
Since cyclopentasiloxane is safe for daily use, you might be wondering why you might want to look for different options to help prevent water loss and allow your beauty products to soak into the skin preventing the skin from drying out.
But alternatives to cyclopentasiloxane do exist that help products spread evenly over the skin to help them do their best job.
Sönd: The Natural Skin Care Choice
If you’re looking for kind skin care products, that don’t contain potential nasties or harm the environment, then make it Sönd. We have nothing but the health of your skin at the forefront of everything we do!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.