Why are there silicones in cosmetic formulas?


Element 44 Inc, Chicago, USA

After water, hydrocarbons are by far the most common ingredients used in making personal are products. This is because they have a wide range of ingredient variation due to their bonding and reactivity characteristics. Surfactants, polymers, thickeners, and almost every other class of useful raw material can be made using hydrocarbons. But there’s another element just below Carbon on the periodic table that can also be used to create interesting molecules. In fact, silicon based ingredients have proven superior to hydrocarbons for many different applications. We’ll look at the different types of silicones used in cosmetics, why they are used and some of the downsides.


Since Silicon is in the same periodic column as Carbon it has some of the same chemical bonding characteristics. Like Carbon it has four positions in which it can form chemical bonds. Silanes are structurally similar to hydrocarbon alkanes and are a string of silicon atoms bonded (-Si-Si-) to each other and to hydrogens. These are much more reactive than organic alkanes and are rarely found naturally occurring.


Instead of silanes, most of the silicones you find in c ...