Silicone Based Lubricants

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Silicone based lubricants are unique in that their structure is not water based, which, practically speaking, means the lube doesn't evaporate or dry up during use (as all water based lubricants do).  When they were introduced they were an important alternative to oil based products, which don't dry up, but do destroy condoms.  Silicone lubes are condom compatible.

In fact silicone lubricant began as a product developed by condom manufacturers for use in their  pre-lubricated condoms.

  In the mid-1990s lubricant manufacturers began making the product available on it's own for sexual and sensual purposes, and since then there has been an explosion in the number of slicone lubricants available (read reviews here).


Pros and Cons of Silicone Based Lubricants

Pros:

  • Because they contain no water, silicone lubricants never dry up. They stay slick for a very long time.
  • The silicone molecules are larger and don't absorb into the skin, which is thought to result in fewer topical body reactions, irritations, allergic reactions. For this reason it is a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
  • Recent, but preliminary, research suggests that silicone lubricants may be safer than water based lubricants as they don't irritate the skin as much.
  • Silicone lubricants are also great for full body massage, as a skin moisturizer, and you can use it for shaving.
  • Because they don't break down in water, silicone lubricants are a better choice for sex in and around water.
  • If you live in an area where there is snow in the winter, silicone based lube is great for putting on the bottom of a sled or toboggan and going down hills!

Cons:

  • Silicone lubricants are not compatible with silicone sex toys or many "cyber skin" or "real feel" sex toys. Silicone lubricant can damage these toys and make them unsafe for use.
  • It is very difficult to wash off, especially sheets. Silicone is not water soluble so it won't come off your sheets.
  • It involves a greater up front cost.  Silicone lube is more expensive, but it goes farther than water based lubes, so the price evens out in the end.
  • Because they don't absorb, silicone based lubricants feel like they coat the skin which is a feeling some people don't like.
  • Silicone lubricants tend to have a bad taste.

 

Differences Between Silicone Based Lubricants

Unlike water based lubricants that offer a wide range of different textures, flavors, and viscosities, there are very few differences in the way silicone lubricants feel or work.

 

The one main difference, which affects both the quality of the lubricant and the cost, as to do with one ingredient, dimethicone.  Dimethicone is a silicone based polymer, which basically means its a manufacturered silicone oil.  But it isn't an oil that will damage condoms.  It is approved for use by the FDA and has a low hazard rating from the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.

Better quality silicone lubricants use more of the denser ingredient called dimethicone. This ingredient is also more expensive. It feels more velvety and lush than the other ones.

If you are comparing silicone lubricants you can check to see where dimethicone comes in the ingredient list. In the better quality, more expensive silicone lubricants it should come first.