Lately, there’s been a controversy in the beauty world about whether or not silica is safe to be used in cosmetics. I am not interested in the personal problem between Coastal Scents and Erica, but the whole issue is causing an unnecessary scare. So, I decided to do some research on silica and here’s what I found out:
What is Silica?
Silica is a very common mineral on earth. It is used in cosmetics to make them adhere to skin and improve the smoothness and spread of foundations, creams and powders. It also absorbs oil, helping your makeup last longer.
Forms of Silica
Silica comes in several forms but this controversy is about two of them: crystalline silica and silica microspheres.
Silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhalation of silica dust, is caused by crystalline form silica when directly mined. So, unless you work in a mine, you’re not at risk. And as far as I know, miners do wear masks to protect themselves from inhaling this substance.
The type used in cosmetics, instead, has been processed and grounded into microspheres (round form of silica).
Differences between the two types of Silica
These two types of silica have a different chemical structure. Unlike crystalline silica, where the atoms are in a clear order, in silica microspeheres they aren’t.
In addition, they aren’t processed in the same way, so they don’t come in contact with each other and the finished product won’t therefore be contaminated.
So, is Silica used in cosmetics safe?
Yes. The type of silica that causes health problem, crystalline silica, is a different chemical than silica microspheres, which is the safe form approved to be used in cosmetics. That means that any product that contains silica is safe to be used either alone or with other powders. So, unless you’re allergic to silica, you can keep using it without problems.