Silica

What Is It?

Silica, also called silicone dioxide, and Hydrated Silica are minerals. The Silica used in cosmetics and personal care products is amorphous Silica. This means that the Silica has no definite form. Crystalline silica, which has a specific arrangement of the atoms, is not used in cosmetics and personal care products.

Hydrated Silica has additional water atoms bound to Silica. Other silica compounds that may be used in cosmetic products include Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Iron Silicates and Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate. Silica and Hydrated Silica are used in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products including bath products, eye makeup, hair care products, makeup, nail care products, oral hygiene products and skin care products.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

The following functions have been reported for Silica and the related ingredients:

  •  Abrasive
  •  Silica, Hydrated Silica, Aluminum Iron Silicates Absorbent
  •  Silica, Hydrated Silica, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate Anticaking Agent
  •  Silica, Hydrated Silica Bulking Agent
  •  Silica, Hydrated Silica, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Iron Silicates, Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate Opacifying Agent
  •   Silica, Hydrated Silica Oral Care Agent
  •  Hydrated Silica Skin Conditioning Agent
  •  Miscellaneous
  •  Hydrated Silica Suspending Agent
  •  Nonsurfactant
  •  Silica Viscosity Increasing Agent
  •  Aqueous
  •  Hydrated Silica Viscosity Increasing Agent
  •  Nonaqueous
  •  Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate

Scientific Facts:

Silica is a compound composed of silicon and oxygen. The amorphous form is used in cosmetics and personal care products. Amorphous Silica includes fumed silica.

Safety Information:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Silica to be directly added to food as an anticaking agent. It is also permitted as an indirect food additive as a component of filters and polyester resins. Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate (as sodium calcium aluminosilicate, hydrated) is considered Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) as anticaking agent in food.

The safety of Silica, Hydrated Silica, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Iron Silicates and Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.

The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that these ingredients were safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.

The CIR Expert Panel has also reviewed the safety of other silicate ingredient including Calcium Silicate, Potassium Silicate, Sodium Silicate and Zeolite. Please search this website for these ingredients for more information on their safety.

More safety Information:

CIR Safety Review:

The CIR Expert Panel reveiwed data indicating that inhaling large doses of amorphous Silica can result in irritation of the respiratory tract. Once inhalation exposure to Silica stops, Silica is removed from the respiratory tract, and recovery is observed. Long-term oral exposure to Silica has not resulted in any adverse effects, including effects on reproduction and development. Amorphous Silica is not genotoxic or carcinogenic. When placed on the skin, Silica is not irritating, nor does it result in sensitization.

Based on the available data, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that Silica, Hydrated Silica, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Iron Silicates and Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate were safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.

Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Silica and silica compounds

Silica, Hydrated Silica, Alumina Magnesium Metasilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Aluminum Iron Silicates and Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

 

More Scientific Information:

Silica can absorb moisture from the air. Therefore, packets of Silica are often kept with items that must be kept in a low moisture environment. A common use of Silica in cosmetics and personal care products is as an abrasive. Abrasives are used in cosmetics to remove unwanted cells or foreign materials from various body surfaces.

The removed materials may include dead skin surface cells, callus, or dental plaque. Generally, abrasives are irregular shaped fine or coarse solids. Harder abrasives include special forms of Hydrated Silica uses for tooth cleansing, while softer abrasives, such as oatmeal are used to remove dead skin surface cells.

Resources:

Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration