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Is silica good for skin?

Margot must know…I’m wondering if skin would benefit from topical silica, and if so, in what ways. I know its touted as being great for hair and nails, and I’ve even read claims that it can help heal acne and plump up skin (when ingested). A little poking around the internet also lead me to believe that maybe skin might see benefits from topical application, and I was wondering if you guys might be able to tell me whether or not that was true.

The Beauty Brains respond: 

What’s the scoop on silica?

Silica (aka silicon dioxide) is a trace mineral which is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. It plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones, teeth, skin, tendons, blood vessels, nails and hair. As with other trace minerals if your diet is deficient in the material then you may benefit from taking dietary supplements. But you don’t need much of it and if you get enough there’s no benefit to taking more.

What about topical application?

Rubbing silica on your hair, skin and nails won’t provide any benefit. That’s because silica is involved in the metabolism of collagen which occurs in the deep in the dermis. Silica will not work the same way when rubbed on your skin – the metabolic pathways just don’t work that way.   (It’s kind of like saying that calcium is important for strong bones so I’ll rub calcium on my legs to make my femur stronger.)

In fact, if anything, rubbing silica on your skin will make it WORSE. That’s because silica is a desiccant meaning it will pull moisture out of your skin. That’s the last thing you want to do!

The Beauty Brains bottom line

If you have any reason to believe that your diet is deficient in silica then you may benefit from taking supplements. But rubbing it on your skin is a waste of time and may do more harm than good.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Judith April 30, 2014, 8:14 am

    What about those pure silica finishing powders for makeup? Like the one from make up for ever. Those that dehydrates the skin as well?

    • Randy Schueller April 30, 2014, 11:11 am

      It appears that the Makeup Forever product is 100% silica. I see that some people do complain about it drying their skin. Maybe it’s not so bad because it’s used as a finishing product so it used on top of other products and is therefore less drying? I dunno.

      • Christina April 30, 2014, 3:52 pm

        It can be drying if used without a dimethicone/silicone primer but if used properly is suitable for all skin types. Even dry skin types can benefit and appear more hydrated when using Make Up Forever HD Powder.

    • Christina April 30, 2014, 3:47 pm

      Silica in artistry products such as finishing powders give texture a smoother appearance.

      Where as talc adds to the appearance of texture, lines and pores silica mutes the appearance of texture, lines and pores.

      As a makeup artist for Film and Photo silica is a must have for HD cameras. The use of Silica became popular for the masses outside of the industry when women noticed that not only did silica refine the appearance of texture on film but also in sunlight and in their every day lives.

      Silica is a simple optical illusion but one that gives a beautiful finish that looks natural and soft.

      To avoid dehydration, simply ensure that you are applying a makeup primer. Dimethicones and silicones ensure that the finely grained silica does not interact with your skin’s integrity.

      Another option to get the same finish is to use a product with a hybrid of sericite mica and aluminum hydroxide coated mica.

  • Stacy April 30, 2014, 1:45 pm

    It probably works well for people will oily skin as a finishing powder to absorb shine. I imagine if you have normal to dry skin, this would be problematic.

  • Pedro April 30, 2014, 4:56 pm

    In my opinion silica is an important ingredient for who has oily skin and lives in warm/humid place.

  • Azzi December 7, 2015, 8:08 pm

    Interesting article! The main issue with silica is that a lot of makeup artists don’t know how to use it, and then you have that dreaded ‘white powder’ face marks that you see on the makeup fail pics of the likes of eva longoria and angelina jolie. That’s why our highly coveted zeropowder pro HD powders have zero silica in them – and the result is far more stunning and long-lasting than its competitors.

  • Tim February 27, 2016, 2:29 am

    Sorry but in the first sentence of your answer you stated “Silica (aka silicon dioxide) is a trace mineral…” silicon dioxide AKA quartz is literally the most common and abundant mineral on the surface of the earth… How can I trust the credibility of this post if your feeding me completely false facts right off the bat?

    • Randy Schueller February 27, 2016, 7:58 am

      It’s a trace mineral in terms of how much you ingest and how much is present in your skin. We weren’t talking about how much is present in the earth. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Chelsea January 1, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The comment from Tim was very rude and insulting. He could have worded it in a less disrespectful manner. I wanted to tell the beauty brains I respect everything you do and research for us. Thank you so much. 🙂

    • Randy Schueller January 2, 2017, 8:00 am

      Thanks Chelsea, I appreciate your words of support!

  • Anna September 30, 2017, 7:28 am

    Hi, what about silica as an ingredient of a serum being injected (micro needling) into a skin (1-1,5 mm deep)? Wouldn’t that cause a deep dehydration?

    • Randy Schueller October 1, 2017, 7:58 am

      Are you sure the ingredient you’re talking about isn’t silicone? That’s more commonly used in injectable products.

  • Selyna December 12, 2017, 1:17 am

    Thanks for the very informative article!! Completely solved my confusion about the usage of silica in cosmetic products. Also thanks to Randy Schueller ‘s comments. 🙂

  • Rachel Wild February 18, 2019, 7:59 pm

    Really helpful as usual. Thanks! Great comments too, with really useful additional questions. All mine were answered by the end of the thread.

  • Linda March 7, 2019, 5:54 pm

    Hi, I’m looking around for a new primer and it contains silica at the very bottom of the list. Is this ok to purchase? I have combination/ acne prone skin. Thank you!

  • Beverly Dorsey May 8, 2019, 12:41 pm

    How long can does silicon dioxide powder last; I have had it for a long time. Actually, I forgot that I had it in the cupboard.

    I bought it from a herb shop in a 14 oz. dietary supplement container. I decided to put it in the fridge. It does not have an expiration date on it.

    Please let me know, ok….


    • Perry Romanowski May 22, 2019, 10:39 am

      It does not really degrade so it probably is just as effective as it ever was.