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What is Cyclopentasiloxane in Skin Care?

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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.

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 aboutcreating our own skin care range, and so, Sönd was born. 

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 thepower 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 suffers 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, which happens to be the subject of this article. Here, we’re going to discuss what cyclopentasiloxane is, what it’s used for and why we think it’s best avoided.

What is cyclopentasiloxane? 

Cyclopentasiloxane in effect, is atype of silicone. It’s also used as a lubricant and emollient, as it helps the skin and hair absorb heavier, larger molecular weight ingredients. Plus it helps to give products a smooth, silky feel. Also known as decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, thankfully, it’s often referred to as simply, D5. It’s colourless, odourless and is always found in liquid form. 

You may be aware of the use of silicones in hair care 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.)

Silicones, such as cyclopentasiloxane, are also used in skin care products. In fact, cyclopentasiloxane is used in countless skin care and makeup products. 

What are the benefits of cyclopentasiloxane?

Cyclopentasiloxane hasmany 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 too. 

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 very volatile, meaning that it quickly evaporates into the air, leaving behind the active ingredients. 

What’s more, cyclopentasiloxane is also very cheap to use and add to product formulations...

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 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.

The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, have found a low level risk thatcyclopentasiloxane could be an endocrine disruptor. However, in balance, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel says that this is only likely atconcentrations higher than in most skin care products

It’s also thought that due to the fact that cyclopentasiloxane evaporates away from the skin, rather than absorbing deeply into it, that itposes 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. 

The environmental impact of cyclopentasiloxane

It’s because of this question mark, that we’ve left cyclopentasiloxane, and other questionable ingredients, out of our skin care formulations. 

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 can 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, the EU have recently (in January 2020) imposed a limit on the use of cyclopentasiloxane. Skin and hair care products can only have a less than0.1% concentration of cyclopentasiloxane

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! 


Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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