A Derm Explains Why Silicone-Free Is a Must for Haircare

By now you’ve probably figured out that not everything that’s in your hair products actually needs to be. After hearing about the not so bueno effects of silicone specifically, we tapped a medical source, Dr. Iris Rubin, dermatologist – who is also the founder of SEEN Hair Care for why silicone is better left out of our hair routine.

Negative Effects of Silicone

‘Silicones can build up on the hair, which can weigh it down and give it a dull appearance,” says Dr. Rubin. “Non water-soluble silicones, in particular, can build up and may require a sulfate-based shampoo to remove the buildup, and sulfates can dry out the hair!”

She advises avoiding this dilemma by looking for silicone alternatives and recommends her line, SEEN. The products are formulated without silicone and instead use hemisqualane, a plant sugar derived silicone alternative that provides color and heat protection and reduces frizz.

Even though you rinse off your shampoo and conditioner, they can still leave a residue on the skin. ”That residue is not just on the scalp, it’s on your face and back too. Residue from hair care products can clog pores, leading to breakouts. At SEEN, we avoid silicones in hair care which can potentially trap other ingredients, leading to clogged pores and breakouts,” she notes.

Purpose of Silicones

Silicones are a common ingredient and widely used in hair products because they smooth the hair, add shine, and have conditioning properties (so not all bad). They also provide heat protection. Many hair products have silicones, including shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. However, for the sake of your skin and your hair over the long term, they are better avoided if possible.

Spotting Silicones

Silicones may be hard to spot on their own if you don’t know what to look for. “The ingredient names usually end with a “cone” so the best approach is to look for them on a product’s ingredient label or web page,” explains Dr. Rubin.

Mitigates Hairline Breakouts

Dr. Rubin started SEEN because hair care products were a big source of acne for her. The Harvard-trained dermatologist had, surprisingly, not really learned much about the impact of hair care products on the skin during her training – but she did notice that when she would get her hair done at the salon her skin would breakout. “I did my research and created a spreadsheet of more than 400 ingredients,” she says, clearly determined to find out what was going on. “I found that hair care products can be full of ingredients that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. I decided I didn’t want to have to choose between beautiful hair and beautiful skin. I knew there had to be a better way.” Amen to that.

SEEN products are clinically proven to be non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and non-irritating, explains Dr. Rubin. “They also include good-for-skin additives, including bisabolol, a naturally-derived skin-soothing ingredient, and a plant sugar-derived silicone substitute. Our color-safe formulations deliver luxury hair benefits. And we deliver peace of mind since our products are formulated without sulfates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, dyes, gluten, or animal testing.”

Natural Isn’t Always Best

Even though we do our best to always avoid harmful chemicals, when it comes to the skin, natural and organic are weirdly not always skin-friendly. “Essential oils can potentially clog pores, and some botanicals can irritate the skin or cause skin allergies. At SEEN, we use natural ingredients when possible, as well as safe synthetic ingredients to achieve the most hair- and skin-friendly products,” explains Dr. Rubin.

Should you work skin care into your hair routine? The answer lives HERE.

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