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Is Silicone in Shampoo Bad for the Environment?

Silicone is the 3rd ingredient in shampoo, which can be dangerous for your health. It also assumes names such as Dimethicone, Methicone, Hydrogenated Silica, etc. However, Silicone’s synthetic form is used in shampoos and many beauty products for its water-repelling properties and to make the hair shiny and sleek.

Is silicone in shampoo bad for the environment? As far as effects on health are concerned, Silicone coats your hair strands and prevents them from getting wet (which is the main purpose of rinsing the shampoo off your hair). Therefore, it does not get eliminated from your body and may accumulate there, creating health problems.

What is silicone?

Washing Hair

Silicones are synthetic polymers, which means that they’re man-made. They were developed to help protect waterproofing and provide a more manageable look to hair.

They come as either liquids or solids and can be added directly into hair care products or as part of a formulation process that uses various agents such as surfactants, alcohols, glycerin, or other chemicals to bind it together.

Silicones are one of the most widely used chemical additives in cosmetics by the beauty industry, and they are used in everyday personal care products such as hair spray, lipstick, foundation, and many others. They make your hair instantly manageable after shampooing and keep it healthy for longer.

Silicones are used in personal care products to condition, waterproof, and preserve the product’s texture while helping it mix or blend with other ingredients.

The most commonly known silicone is dimethicone, but many others are found in everyday cosmetic products, including Cyclomethicone, dimethicone, amodimethicone, and Cyclopentasiloxane.

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What are the most common silicone hair products?

Hair sprays are the most common silicone hair product that you will find there. They coat your strands and give them a shiny and healthy look. Other silicone hair products include:

  • Anti-frizzy hair serums – When your hair is exposed to humidity, these silicones protect it from frizzing up and looking dry.
  • Volumizing shampoos – These products use silicone to give hair more volume.
  • Conditioning treatments – Silicones help your hair feel silkier and look shinier.

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Why is silicone bad for you?

  • Silicone coats the hair strands and prevents them from getting wet (the main purpose of rinsing shampoo off your hair). Therefore, rinsing does not eliminate it and may accumulate there, causing health issues.
  • Because silicon is insoluble in water, it doesn’t come out with shampoos and washes. Over time, it builds up in the body, especially in the lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and other organs, where it can cause cellular damage or block pores.
  • Silicones replace healthy oils that your hair needs to stay hydrated. Without natural oils, your scalp will get dry and flaky, so using silicone-laden shampoo can lead to hair loss and damage.

Silicones also contain many toxic chemicals you would rather not have in contact with your scalp and skin. Some of these include:

  • Parabens – used as a preservative in the cosmetic industry, it is currently under review for safety concerns. They mimic estrogen in the body, which can produce undesired effects.
  • Cyclotetrasiloxane is a colorless liquid used as a solvent and an anti-foaming agent in products such as shampoos, conditioners, shaving creams, hand creams, etc.
  • DMDM Hydantoin – an antimicrobial agent commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics, shampoos, and hair conditioning products.
  • Formaldehyde – commonly used as an embalming fluid for dead bodies. This chemical can cause cancer.
  • Fragrance – the cosmetic industry uses fragrances to mask the smell of chemicals that are not exactly pleasant at times. The problem with fragrances is that they can contain anywhere from 100 to 300 different chemicals, which may irritate your skin and scalp.

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What damages could it do?  

The main problem with silicone in hair care products is that it coats your hair strands, preventing them from getting the moisture they need and preventing water from penetrating the cortex.

Hair becomes dry and brittle when it is not properly hydrated. If you continue using silicone products, the damage will worsen, and your hair will become more damaged each time you shampoo.

Silicone can also cause split ends if your hair becomes tangled while drying out, which causes breaks in the strands. Once they break, nothing can be done to repair it.

Since the silicone is not eliminated with your shampoo, it builds up over time and can cause health problems in the body. The worst aspect of this build-up is that you do not even realize that this is happening.

Your hair may start falling out because of this accumulation, which has been proven to be one of the most common symptoms of silicone buildup. The accumulation in the body is known to cause cellular damage and block pores, which can lead to health issues such as:

  • Liver problems
  • Respiratory issues
  • Skin irritation – This condition causes your skin to become dry, rough, and itchy. In severe cases, you may have a rash all over your body.
  • Damage in the lymph nodes

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How to tell if a shampoo is a silicone-free shampoo

Washed Hair

The best way to detect whether or not your shampoo contains silicone but organic compounds in its ingredients is to read the list of ingredients on the bottle. If you spot any of these words listed, they are most likely harmful chemicals you want to avoid.

  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Phenyl trimethicone

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What is the hair shaft?

The hair shaft is mostly made of keratin, which accounts for about 95% of hair’s dry weight. Other materials include fat, soluble proteins, melanin, and water.

The average diameter of coarse hair is around 70 micrometers. Depending on the hair type, the length can vary from 1-7 cm. The diameter is the same all over the strand of hair, which is why it looks round. Conversely, the cross-section can be triangular or square-shaped depending on whether the cortex or medulla is present.

Another important part of your hair is the hair cuticle, which covers it as the skin does for your body. It strengthens your hair strands but makes it hard for your hair to absorb moisture.

The cuticles are made of scales that overlap one another. These layers have ridges that overlap each other. The shape of these ridges will determine the condition of your hair.

If it is straight, then this means that water can travel along with ease, and you will have healthy-looking hair. On the other hand, if it is wavy or curled, commonly in curly hair, your hair will be prone to damage, and your hairstyle may not last long.

The cuticle shape can change depending on the environment in which you live. Hot air and excessive sunlight can cause them to curl up while water enters the picture, making them straighter.

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How does silicone affect the hair shaft?

Silicone does not interact with the protein structure of your hair, but it coats them to make them look shinier and provide more volume.

By covering your hair in silicone, you are inhibiting the ability of water to penetrate the cuticles, which causes dehydration. You may think this is a good thing because the natural oils from your scalp will not be removed, but it is the opposite.

Excess oils on your head have been proven to lead to problems similar to those you notice when you do not wash your hair regularly enough. The natural oil from your scalp is meant to seal off moisture, keep the hair hydrated, and protect the next layer underneath.

Because of this silicone, the same effect cannot be achieved and you will notice that your hair may start looking greasy as well as losing its volume.

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How does silicone affect the environment?

Cleaning Hair With Shampoo

The negative impact of silicone on the environment is that it can affect aquatic life when they are mistaken for food by fish.

Silicone is not water-soluble, meaning it will not dissolve in water or be carried away with currents. Fish will ingest this substance only to find out later that their digestive system has been clogged up. This can ultimately lead to sickness and even death in severe cases.

Another way that the environment is affected by silicone is when it is washed down the drains and into large bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, and rivers via hair products that have been rinsed away from people’s heads.

Silicone in shampoo is bad for the environment. It can be pumped into lakes and rivers when people wash their hair, which disrupts or even kills marine life.

Several scientific studies show it’s even harmful to humans because silicone can accumulate in our bodies and affect our hormones or blood cells. It can also cause further damage to our hair.

Shampoos are already part of our daily lives, but choosing silicone-free shampoos won’t hurt. We should always look for natural alternatives to achieve healthy hair and environment.

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Is silicone in conditioner bad for the environment?

Is silicone in conditioner bad for the environment? Silicone in conditioner is a non-biodegradable synthetic ingredient that can accumulate in the environment. While it is not necessarily harmful to the environment, its persistence in the environment can contribute to pollution and harm wildlife. It is important to properly dispose of silicone-containing products and consider more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Is it recommended that shampoos be silicone-free?

Silicone-free shampoos are becoming increasingly popular due to concerns about the environmental impact of the synthetic ingredient. Silicone is a non-biodegradable plastic type that can accumulate in the environment. Additionally, some people find that silicone can weigh down their hair or cause buildup on the scalp.

However, it is important to note that not all types of silicone are harmful, and some can actually provide benefits to the hair, such as improving shine and manageability. Ultimately, the decision to use a silicone-free shampoo is a personal one based on individual preferences and values.

Why are silicone-free shampoos better?

Silicone-free shampoos are better because they do not contain silicones, which can build up on hair and weigh it down over time. Additionally, silicone-free shampoos may be better for the environment as silicones are not biodegradable and can accumulate in waterways.

Are shampoos harmful to the environment?

Shampoos can harm the environment due to their chemical ingredients and how they are disposed of. Many shampoos contain sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances that can pollute waterways and harm aquatic life.

Additionally, when shampoo bottles are not properly recycled, they can end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose, contributing to environmental pollution.

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