Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beauty Buzz Word: Silica

Silica (silicon dioxide) is a naturally occurring mineral- you're digging your toes into it when you walk down the beach, as it's the primary component of sand. It's also the sole ingredient of Make Up For Ever's coveted HD Microfinish Powder, and many other cosmetic and skin care products besides. Silica is added to beauty products to aid in oil absorption, improve slip (gives a silky feel and helps product smooth on more easily), add opacity and more.

The type of silica used in cosmetics is called amorphous silica. There has been some confusion in the last few years over the safety of silica in cosmetics. Links between silica and the lung condition silicosis, cancer, and more recently, chronic kidney disease, are often referenced. What such articles, and those spreading this info, fail to realize is that the silica connected to such conditions is crystalline silica- completely different in chemical structure from the type used in cosmetics.

What's the difference? Well, simply put: in occupational environments where workers are regularly exposed to crystalline silica (such as mining, construction or sand blasting) the jagged structure of crystalline silica can embed itself in the lungs, creating scar tissue.

Since amorphous silica does not have the same jagged configuration, it does not cause this type of injurynor is it known to cause cancer or accumulate in the body. The ingredient considered safe by all of the major governing bodies of the world, including the US Food & Drug AdministrationHealth Canada, the European Commission, and Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

1 comment:

Musing on Beauty said...

It makes my skin super itchy so I tend to avoid it, but it's always good to see a urban legend set straight :)

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