Dimethicone at a glance

  • Commonly used emollient, known for its gentleness and silky feel
  • Recognised as a skin protectant (in concentrations 1-30%) by the U.S. FDA
  • Popular in oil-free moisturisers, thanks to its hydration-enhancing, non-greasy finish
  • May also be used in sunscreen formulation to help the actives distribute evenly on skin
  • Considered synthetic, even though it’s derived from natural silicon

Dimethicone description

Dimethicone is a type of silicone (technically known as a non-volatile/linear silicone). It is one of the most frequently used emollient (softening) ingredients in moisturisers, well known for its gentleness and effectiveness. Dimethicone is recognised as a “skin protectant” by the U.S. FDA, when used in over-the-counter products in concentrations of 1-30%. It forms an air-permeable barrier that works to prevent moisture loss, so skin better retains hydration, while still allowing natural perspiration to evaporate. It imparts a wonderfully silky (but not greasy) feel, which makes it especially popular in oil-free moisturisers. Dimethicone may also be used with other ingredients such as alumina to coat zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in sunscreen formulation to help the actives distribute evenly on skin, providing uniform protection. Dimethicone is considered a synthetic ingredient, even though it’s derived from natural silicon. It has a long track record of being recognised as safe in cosmetic products.

Dimethicone references

  • FDA Code of Federal Regulations, April 2020, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, May 2014, pages 65S-115S
  • The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, May 2014, pages 36-44
  • Dermatologic Therapy, May 2012, pages 229-233
  • Clinics in Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 345-348
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, January 2008, pages 19-33
  • Skin Research and Technology, May 2000, pages 77-80

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not Rated