Nasty chemical of the month: dimethicone

That silky, slippery feeling in your hair after conditioning it in the shower, probably comes from an ingredient called Dimethicone but is it really necessary for beautiful, healthy hair?

What is Dimethicone?
Dimethicone is a chemical that belongs to the silicone family and it's used specifically to improve the ‘slippery feel' of everyday body care products like moisturisers and hair conditioner. These chemicals are also used as de-foamers in laundry products and auto-dish detergents.

Where does it come from?
Dimethicone comes from silicones, which are derived from quartz, mined from the earth and also from sand. Ingredients used in the production of silicones include something called chloromethane, a toxic extremely flammable gas now banned from use in refrigerants.

What's the problem?
Although there's not much research showing the negative environmental effects of Dimethicone, we know that similar silicone-based molecules have been proven to persist in the environment and take a long time to break down. This is a cause for concern when you think about the effects of these chemicals on aquatic organisms after they've been washed down the drain and released into the environment.

Also, once you have silicones on your skin or hair, they can actually be quite be hard to remove and we believe it's safer not to interrupt the body's natural barriers (such as the acid mantle on the skin).

How does EWG rate Dimethicone?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an independent American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals. They have rated Dimethicone as follows:

EWG table rating Dimethicone as a moderate hazard for skin and a high concern for the environment

Tips for reducing your exposure to Dimethicone
Check labels, especially in personal care products like moisturiser and hair conditioner. Look for ingredients ending in - cone or - one.