Silicone In Tanning Lotions – Good Or Bad?

example of silicone in tanning lotionsAre Silicone in tanning lotions any good?

Lately, Silicone has become a popular ingredient in many hair- and skin-care products, also in tanning lotions. In this article you will find out what silicone is, what it does in tanning lotions and the benefits you can have from using a tanning lotion that contains silicone. In addition, if you think, or have heard, that Silicone in tanning lotions doesn’t do any good or maybe even can be harmful, this article will make you better informed.

Yes, they are!

The short version is that silicone in tanning lotions and other skin-care products is good because it forms a protective barrier on your skin that locks moisturizers and other active ingredients while letting through oxygen in order to let the skin “breathe”.

The kinds of silicone used in tanning lotions are expensive ingredients. Therefore, you will find them only in expensive and exclusive lotions. This makes manufacturers of cheaper lotions inclined to spread negative rumors about the silicone in their competitors’ more high-class products.

Continue to read and you will become an instant expert on silicone in tanning lotions.

What is Silicone?

Silicones (there are several kinds) are made up from molecules of the natural substances Hydrocarbons and Silicon.

In the list of ingredients in tanning lotions, you will normally find them as: Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer and Cyclopentasiloxane.

Dimethicone is a denser variant of silicone and Cyclopentasiloxane a lighter. They work in combination to make the silicone smooth and easy to apply while still remaining as a moisture barrier on the skin.

The total amount of silicone in tanning lotions can be from 5% up to 30% for the most exclusive lotions.

What are the features and benefits with Silicone in tanning lotions?

In a tanning lotion, silicones fulfill several tasks. They function as

  • Emollients (substances that soften and soothe the skin)
  • Emulsifiers (bind together normally non-combinative ingredients)
  • Carriers (carry and hold other active ingredients into the skin)
  • Moisturisers or Humectants (make the outer layer of the skin softer and smoother)
  • Occlusive (form a barrier film over the skin’s outer layers and prevent moisture from evaporating).

Negative rumours about Silicone in tanning lotions.

It is in its last “barrier”-function, silicone often is mistakenly reputed to clog pores, like many of the cheaper alternatives to silicone like hydrogenated castor oil, lanolin and petrolatum, all which are a silicone replacements derived from mineral oil.

The huge advantage of silicon compared to mineral oils, is, however, that silicone is oxygen permeable.  This is a useful feature not only in tanning lotions but also for contact lenses. Silicone hydrogel lenses use both their water and silicone content to transmit oxygen to the eye.

There is also another reason behind the rumours trying to discredit silicone. It comes from the bad reputation early and crude variants of silicone got when applied wildly and uncontrolled through injections to enhance certain parts of the body among both women and men.

Certified Safe.

In November 2006, the American FDA (Food & Drug Administration), that regulates usage of substances for medical and other purposes, fully approved silicone as a safe implant for breast enlargements.

Furthermore, The Cosmetic Ingredient Review's (CIR) Expert Panel has concluded that dimethicone and related polymers are “safe as used in cosmetic formulations.”

The “Rolls-Royce” among tanning lotions.

Devoted Creations, from Oldsmar, Florida, is a world-leader in the development of modern tanning lotions based on Aloe Vera or coconut milk with high amounts of expensive and exclusive silicone in their tanning lotions.


This post is also available in: German, Russian, Polish

13 Responses to Silicone In Tanning Lotions – Good Or Bad?

  1. Karerebear July 1, 2011 at 04:23 #

    Thank you for this informative post!

  2. Suevonne July 4, 2011 at 07:40 #

    It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of snusihne.

  3. Tom Baker January 7, 2012 at 02:56 #

    Here comes the Sun and something positive!

  4. Kyle March 27, 2012 at 23:06 #

    I feel like tanning can go really wrong. Who wants a bad sun burn. Here are some tips I found!

  5. admin March 27, 2012 at 23:15 #

    Hi Kyle, and thanks for the comments!

    Most of the images in your link are from Spray-tan gone wrong, not real, UV-tanning. For someone following the tips from (and especially in this post with UV-tanning-tips) will reduce to zero the risk that their tanning will go wrong.

  6. Queen Mein January 13, 2016 at 07:14 #

    As silicone is used in a lot of internal medical applications, You can pretty much be sure it’s ok to use on your skin. As with everything in life, moderation is key.

  7. Renewing Serum CE April 6, 2016 at 09:24 #

    An additional knowledge for everyone. Tanning lotions has been used especially during summer days to keep the skin moisturized from the heat of the sun. You have to make sure that your skin will be safe and healthy from the sun. Thanks for sharing.

  8. larissa July 20, 2016 at 21:01 #

    Thanks so much for all of the information. it definitely helps to read about any sort of new progressions in the tanning world. I had no idea silicone based self tanner had any negative connotations to it but I can see why and how some of these things got misconstrued. Really awesome article though, thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Tiffany Lockhart September 23, 2016 at 14:50 #

    Very informative! This makes me secured that the silicone ingredient in my beauty products are safe! Thanks a lot for sharing!

  10. Jenny March 23, 2017 at 08:26 #

    This sounds wonderful!

  11. G April 3, 2017 at 11:10 #

    Think of silicones in a skincare formula like the covering of a tea bag. When you steep the tea bag in water the tea and all of its antioxidant properties are released. thanks for posting.

  12. loi June 3, 2017 at 09:41 #

    your skin moisturized and use tanning lotions based on Aloe Vera or coconut-milk,with a lot of silicone and other active skincare ingredients, it will stay young and […]


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