Cyclopentasiloxane For Skin – A Comprehensive Guide

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Understanding and deciphering the long chemical names on the labels of various cosmetic products you use daily can be very frustrating. Cyclopentasiloxane is one such ingredient that is quite common in skin care and hair care products. Unlike the simple ingredients such as water and alcohol listed on cosmetic labels, this one lengthy chemical name often leaves the consumer clueless.

In this article, we learn everything about cyclopentasiloxane in skin care, including its benefits, side effects, uses, and more.

What Is Cyclopentasiloxane?

Cyclopentasiloxane is essentially a silicon-based compound that is a part of a larger category known as cyclomethicone. It is sometimes also known as decamethylcyclopentasiloxane or D5.

It is a colorless, odorless liquid with a low viscosity. The compound gives a very silky and slippery feel when applied to the skin and hair and is mainly used in products such as antiperspirants, hair conditioners, sunblocks, and other skin care products.

The key function of it is to work as an emollient. It is available in liquid form, and it is mainly used as a skin and hair conditioning agent.

Let us understand the role of cyclopentasiloxane in skin care in more detail in the next section.

What Is Cyclopentasiloxane In Skin Care?

Cyclopentasiloxane or D5 is used in a wide variety of cosmetic products as it is known to evaporate and dry faster. Further, silicones and silicon-based products also repel water and glide easily. This is the reason why they are commonly used as ingredients in various cosmetics, lubricants, and sealants. In beauty products, cyclopentasiloxane is primarily used as a lubricant, solvent, and delivery agent, as it gives a very silky and slippery feeling when applied to the skin and hair.

Apart from the above properties, cyclopentasiloxane is also known to form a protective barrier on the skin and hair, which can help you detangle your hair, reduce frizz, and prevent hair breakage.

Due to these reasons, cyclopentasiloxane can be found in a wide variety of skin care, cosmetic, and personal care products. Some of these include sunscreen, antiperspirant, deodorant, hair spray, shampoos, and hair conditioners.

Are you wondering if it is safe to use in skin care products? Find out in the next section.

Cyclopentasiloxane In Skin Care: Is It Safe?

Although there was some controversy surrounding the potential health and environmental risks of cyclopentasiloxane, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a US organization that determines the overall safety of cosmetic and skin care ingredients, concluded that compounds containing cyclopentasiloxane are completely safe for use.

However, it is important to note that in early 2018, the European Union introduced certain restrictions on the use of D5 in cosmetic products that are intended to be washed off before evaporation. They largely emphasize potential damage to the lungs through D5 inhalation in aerosols such as sun care and hair care sprays.

Further, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that there is a low concern that D5 can be considered an endocrine disruptor (i.e., something that can disturb the normal functioning of your hormones). It is typically a cause of concern when it is used at concentrations higher than what is typically used in cosmetics.

Now that we know about the safe usage of cyclopentasiloxane in skin care, let us discuss the key benefits of this compound in cosmetic products.

Benefits Of Cyclopentasiloxane In Skin Care

The benefits of cyclopentasiloxane specifically on the skin are minimal, but it possesses noteworthy sensory properties and also helps in how a specific product functions. Some of these benefits include:

1. Lightweight In Nature

While some silicones are heavy, cyclopentasiloxane is particularly lightweight and used in skin care or hair care products when a lighter feel is desired. This feature is especially helpful in hair care products to ensure that the hair strands are not weighed down.

2. Spreads Easily

Silicones are well known for their smooth texture and slippery glide. Due to this trait, cyclopentasiloxane gives skin care products a very smooth and silky texture that applies easily and leaves a non-sticky, non-greasy finish.

3. Seals In Hydration

Another benefit of cyclopentasiloxane is that it forms a seal or barrier on the skin that helps protect it against transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which can lead to inflammatory conditions. Further, cyclopentasiloxane also works similarly when used on the hair by coating the hair shaft.

4. Inexpensive

One of the other significant benefits of cyclopentasiloxane is that it is an inexpensive ingredient for most formulators. For instance, it may be used as an inexpensive alternative to organic ingredients, and its concentrations in skin care products can be easily varied because it is synthetically manufactured.

5. Evaporates Faster

Since cyclopentasiloxane is volatile and allows the products to dry faster, it is often included in skin care product formulations. It also helps produce a smooth, silky formula that allows the cosmetic or product to spread evenly over the skin. It prevents the skin care product from catching on dry skin patches and even out the skin tone by gliding over wrinkles and pores. It also ensures that all areas of the skin are receiving the key ingredients in the product.

6. Easily Disperses Heavier Ingredients

Cyclopentasiloxane works very well when combined with heavier oils or silicones since it makes them much easier to spread and offers a smooth feel to the skin.

7. Scarring

Cyclopentasiloxane has also been suggested to improve the overall appearance of scars when used in conjunction with other similar silicone ingredients. It is known to enhance the appearance of superficial and keloid scars, as per research. While the research has not been particularly conducted on cyclomethicone, it is related to the broader subgroup of silicones. Moreover, many silicone gel preparations contain cyclopentasiloxane or cyclopentasiloxane, which is widely used as a volatile element to deliver the other silicone ingredients to the skin.

So, are there any side effects that you should be aware of? Find out in the next section.

Side Effects Of Cyclopentasiloxane

In general, cyclopentasiloxane has no known side effects. It does not cause any kind of irritation or sensitization and is generally well-tolerated by all skin types. However, a general rule of thumb is that if you are trying it for the first time, always test it on a small patch of skin first before applying it all over your face.

One major concern regarding the use of cyclopentasiloxane comes from certain claims that it can act as a hormone disruptor. However, there is no evidence of the same. The ingredient, in general, needs to be absorbed into the skin to act as a hormone or endocrine disruptor, and studies show that there is minimal absorption of cyclopentasiloxane by the skin. It has also been proven to evaporate before any significant absorption takes place. Hence, it is safe.

Another negative aspect to keep in mind is the impact of this ingredient on the environment. Since it is chemically inert and a very stable compound, its biodegradability is very low. This means that it could take several years for it to decompose.

The European Union, therefore, has called for a limit on the concentration of cyclopentasiloxane used in wash-off cosmetics to be 0.1%.

Find out who should use this ingredient in the next section.

Who Should Use It?

Cyclopentasiloxane works as an emollient, lubricant, and solvent and gives cosmetic and skin care products a very silky texture. It also seals in hydration and dissolves heavier ingredients. Due to these properties, anyone looking to soften their skin with a lightweight product can use this compound.

In short, cyclomethicone products are suitable for most skin types, including dry, congested, or sensitive skin, as well as skin types that may have compromised skin barrier integrity.

Let’s answer some more frequently asked questions about this compound.

How To Use It

If you use a moisturizer containing cyclopentasiloxane, it is recommended to apply it after your toner and serum as it helps seal these products underneath and improve their absorption.

How Often Can You Use It?

Although cyclopentasiloxane is completely safe for daily use, the amount and frequency that you should use largely depend upon the product in question.

What Does It Work Well With?

Typically, cyclopentasiloxane works well when combined with heavier oils or silicones because of the simple reason that it makes them easier to spread on the skin.

What Not To Use With Cyclopentasiloxane

Cyclopentasiloxane works well with most of the skin care ingredients, so there is nothing as such that you cannot use it with.


Cyclopentasiloxane is primarily present in various skin care and hair care products and can be used safely with minimal risk. Among the key benefits of this compound is that it helps your skin and hair products dry faster and spread more easily while giving a smooth feeling to your skin and hair without weighing them down.

Research suggests that this compound does not get absorbed into the skin in high enough doses to cause any kind of harm, thus eliminating the concern that this ingredient could disrupt hormones in your body. To sum up, although cyclopentasiloxane in skin care has been mired in some controversy, scientists consider it safe for topical application.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).