Is Silicone Safe for Food and Skin?

Since the advocacy for the abolition of plastics due to the risks they pose to both humans and the ecosystem, silicone has gained more recognition and acclaim as an alternative to plastic. To justify that growth, the silicone industry is expected to attain an estimated market size of $22.78 billion in 2024, with an expected 6% compound growth rate for the next 6-7 years.So let’s talk about it. Is Silicone Safe for Food and Skin?

Given the qualities and compatibilities the material has and how those contribute to its numerous use cases in a variety of industries, the silicone market’s rise is not out of the ordinary. For instance, it has featured prominently in the healthcare, cosmetic, home utensils, and even toy industries.

Since silicone is non-stick, it lasts longer, is more environmentally friendly, less poisonous, easier to clean, and more resistant to most weathering agents than plastic; but while it is a preferable option for manufacturers in numerous industries and the environment, how safe is silicone? And if any, what risks does silicone pose?

You will learn from this blog post why silicone is a safe material to employ in the production of numerous everyday products, how to take care of the material, as well as how you can maintain safe usage to get the best possible benefits with no drawbacks or side effects.

What Is Silicone?

Silicone is an important rubber-like man-made material discovered in the 1940s. It is a chemically stable compound of silicon (the naturally occurring element with similar spelling and pronunciation), oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, which results in a rubber-like substance or a liquid.

This essential substance, which has now been tested and declared safe by experts, is now famed for its use in the manufacturing of products like .

  • Body enhancement implants
  • Cosmetics
  • Silicone molds
  • Office gift
  • Adhesives
  • Kitchenware and utensils
  • Skin and haircare products
  • Thermal and electrical insulation
  • Soaps, etc.

As previously mentioned, chemical ingredients like silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen are used in the manufacturing of silicone. And as with most mermaid raw materials, this production involves many processes.

First, the naturally occurring silicon present in the silica is concentrated by heating quartz sand to high temperatures, up to 1800°C. The pure silicon derived is then ground to powder and processed with methyl chloride, which is derived from natural gas. This processing is also achieved through heating and will result in a reaction that gives off a mixture called methyl dichlorosilane.

The methyl dichlorosilane is then distilled into its various components, combined with water, and then polymerized (according to the needs required) to give out silicone.

Benefits of Silicone

Silicone is a very adaptable substance that is utilized in many different industries, something that would not be conceivable if the material did not have good properties, despite its somewhat complex production method. To begin with, silicone is hypoallergenic, which means that because it contains no allergens, it would not cause or initiate any reactions. But that is not even its best feature yet.

This versatile material is renowned for its:

  • Malleability
  • Clarity
  • Resistance to Temperature, Strain, Water, UV, and other Agents
  • Durability
  • Easy maintenance
  • Non-stick nature
  • Lack of odour and taste
  • Lack of toxins
  • Aid in the production of collagen
  • Recyclability
  • Flexibility

So it isn’t a surprise that it is used to manufacture so many products that we use on a day-to-day basis.

Is Silicone Safe for Food?

Silicone cookware and cooking utensils are the newest thing in most kitchens as plastic is going out of style. However, there are a number of reasons why silicone is becoming more and more popular as a material for kitchens, including the benefits described above, it is important to understand how safe silicone is for food preparation or contact with food.

There are two types of silicone material, one of which is food-grade silicone. Food-grade silicone is a silicone material that has been processed, polymerized, and certified by authorities (like the US Food and Drug Administration or the Council of Europe Resolution on silicones) to have met the health guidelines and food safety regulations of a country.

Food-grade silicone is often produced by using platinum as a catalyst to cure the silicone, eliminating any volatile byproducts and potentially hazardous fillers or components like formaldehyde. A silicone rubber substance that is resistant to oil, heat, stress, and other chemicals is the process’ final output.

The food-grade silicone will also be non-corrosive, pure, inert, anti-fungal, and be able to prevent leakage to avoid food contamination. These properties will then be tested and certified by the appropriate authorities.

Therefore, silicone is safe for food, especially food-grade silicone, which is why it is used to make silicone food storage bags, trays and mats, knives, whisks, cutlery, and containers. That we have become conversant with. You might find it interesting to know that silicone oils are safe enough to be used directly in food preparation and even for direct food contact.

Is Silicone Safe for Skin?

The answer to this cannot be ascertained without mention of the other type of silicone material—the medical-grade silicone. Basically, medical-grade silicone is silicone processed, tested, and approved by the authorities in charge (such as the Center for Devices and Radiological) to be safe for medical uses.

These medical applications cover a wide range of items, such as condoms, feeding tubes, implants, catheters, gels, menstruation cups, and dermatological products.. So due to the nature of these uses, the silicone used here needs to possess a higher level of purity within the structure of the silicone.

In essence, medical-grade silicone is even considered to be safer than food-grade silicone. Which invariably means that this type of silicone is of the highest quality and is more temperature and chemical resistant, more inert, non-porous, and technically more expensive to produce.

This medical-grade silicone makes it into the raw material list of the bulk of the dermatological products and that is because of the benefits it brings to the skin, which include;

Skin Strength And Elasticity

Studies have shown that silicon helps to stimulate fibroblasts and produce collagen, and in turn helps to improve the strength and elasticity of the skin tissues.

Skin Hydration

Silicone creates a barrier on the skin that decreases the rate of water loss from the skin to the external environment, thereby reducing loss of moisture and increasing hydration within the skin.

Skin Smoothening

With its ability to increase moisture within the skin, silicone improves the smoothness, softness, and overall flexibility of the skin.

It is evident from these advantages as well as silicone’s characteristics that silicone is safe for human skin. The only drawback people may experience with using silicone- based skincare products is if they have allergies. This is due to the fact that although silicone is extremely hypoallergenic, some people may still develop allergic responses.

Is Silicone Safer than Plastic?

While they are made of different materials and go through distinct processes, silicone is unquestionably safer for humans and the environment than plastics. After all, the rise of silicone comes as a result of the risks involved with the production and usage of plastics.

Comparatively speaking, silicone is more environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-stick, resilient, and inert than plastic. This is not to say that silicone is the perfect material, but for manufacturing it comes close and certainly beats plastic, especially when you factor in the degradation process of plastics.

So yes, silicone is a safer material than plastic.

In summary, silicone is a substance that is less harmful and has been allowed for use with food and even skin. It is highly adaptable and is praised above plastics in many industries. While there is little room for risk, it is important that silicone usage is in line with precautionary measures stipulated. It will be essential to read product labels, get expert medical attention or instruction when needed, and apply products responsibly in order to reduce any negative effects or hazards.

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