Dimethicone

Few products have as many uses as dimethicone. Also known as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), this silicon-based substance offers numerous benefits for personal care products and more. When incorporated into skincare products, this polymer improves the texture and performance of these cosmetics. While commonly used in formulations for personal care goods, PDMS has multiple uses outside the cosmetics industry. Medical, industrial, food, and other sectors also extensively use dimethicone. Discover more about this siloxane and its many applications across industries.

What Is Dimethicone?

Dimethicone is a part of the silicone family that comes in the form of a colorless liquid. Multiple personal products use this silicone in their formulas as an antifoaming agent, a distributor for active ingredients, hair conditioner, lice treatment, anti-bloating agent, and skin protectant. Studies on humans show this chemical does not irritate the skin or increase sensitization, making it an ideal product for use in treating those with delicate or damaged skin.

Manufacturers use dimethicone to enhance the performance of products used for human topical application or ingestion. Ingesting this product may help reduce gas and bloating or prevent foaming in foods. More often, skincare products have PDMS as part of their formulas to make them better at moisturizing or helping the active ingredients to spread evenly.

As a product proven safe for ingestion and use on skin, dimethicone is a useful ingredient in many preparations across multiple industries. Its various forms include fluids, resins, emulsions, and solids, but often it appears as a fluid of emulsion in many cosmetic preparations.

What Are Dimethicone Uses?

Like other silicones, dimethicone features as a prominent chemical in preparations for human use. With its non-irritating nature, dimethicone has applications in the medical, cosmetics, and food industries.

1. Surfactants

Silicone surfactants include both a silicone part and a water-soluble substance. One of the most commonly used in this category is dimethicone copolyol. This chemical assists in preparations that combine water and silicone.

Surfactants aid as wetting agents. These agents can help a water-based product to spread evenly across a surface instead of beading or clumping together. When using silicone surfactants, selecting lower molecular weights will reduce the wetting time.

This classification of surfactants reduces surface tension, depending on the number of methylene or methyl groups. When a molecule contains more methylene groups in the silicone, it has a higher level of surface tension than silicones with more methyl groups.

Dimethicone is a surfactant as well as an emulsifier, unifying water and oil parts of a mixture. For emulsions, mix dimethicone with the oil portion and prepare the water and electrolyte part of the mix separately. Slowly add the water to the oil mixture then combine at high speed with a blender until the result has a uniform texture with tiny particles. Dimethicone does not require heat for emulsification, allowing its use in a more manageable form of the process.

2. Hydraulics

Hydraulic fluids must perform adequately at a variety of temperatures and pressures. Silicones such as dimethicone can withstand the extremes of heat and coldnecessary in hydraulic systems. PDMS accounts for only one type of silicone used for hydraulic applications.

While silicones perform well in hydraulic systems, PDMS can provide foam control in several applications. Engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and transmission fluids are some products that benefit from the antifoaming properties of silicones.