Background/Aims: Silicone excipients are commonly used ingredients because of their emollient and skin-conditioning effects, and their ability to form uniform, water-resistant, yet permeable films. Based on comparisons with organic materials and conflicting knowledge from silicones used in scar treatment, the misconception still exists that silicone topical excipients are occlusive substances that may block the passive loss of water through the upper skin layers. Therefore, 3 types of common silicone excipients and 3 water-in-(oil-plus-silicone) or W/(O + Si) creams, containing 10% (w/w) of the respective silicones, were investigated as a function of time and compared to petrolatum. Methods: Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin hydration measurements were carried out after a single topical application on forearm skin of 26 healthy young female volunteers. Results: Both petrolatum and silicones significantly decreased TEWL 15 min after application, but the measurements for the silicones were not significantly different from the untreated control values. The tested silicones did not moisturize the skin. Petrolatum formed an occlusive layer, creating an increase in skin hydration for more than 4 h. The results measured for the W/(O + Si) creams indicated that they moisturized the skin, without any effect on TEWL. Conclusion: A clear difference was shown between the skin occlusive properties of petrolatum and the water vapor permeability of the common silicone excipient materials.

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