New woes for silicones in cosmetics and personal care products

May 04, 2011

At a time when cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, and other personal care products already are going green — with manufacturers switching to plant-derived extracts and other natural ingredients — government regulators in Canada are adding to the woes of the silicone-based ingredients long used in these products. That's the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Correspondent Marc S. Reisch points out that manufacturers have used silicones for decades in an array of personal care products. Antiperspirants and underarm deodorants account for about half the entire U.S. personal care market for silicones. Manufacturers voluntarily stopped using one type of silicone ingredient in over the last decade. Now government regulators in Canada are proposing regulations limiting use of another widely used type of silicone ingredient. They cite concerns that the might built up in the environment and harm wildlife.

The article notes that some manufacturers, despite the concerns, are sticking with the traditional ingredients, termed cyclic methylsiloxanes. Others are using the concerns as a basis for jumping on the natural ingredient bandwagon and reformulating their products with other silicones or as "silicone-free."

Explore further: Video: Better beer chemistry: It's all about the yeast

More information: “Storm Over Silicone” is available at pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8918cover.html

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