What Is the Difference Between Silicone and Latex?

There are several distinct differences between silicone and latex rubbers, the primary difference being that latex is a natural product and silicone is man-made. Consumers may choose between silicone and latex versions of several plastic products, including pacifiers, caulking and rubber bands.

Silicone is a clear synthetic product that has undergone testing to ensure its safety, and it is generally more durable than latex. Silicone products retain their shape better than those composed of latex. Latex is a natural, beige-colored, water-based material that is softer, more flexible and more eco-friendly than silicone. Over time, latex may begin to break down and show signs of wear due to its natural composition, while silicone does not age. Latex may also cause allergic reactions for some users. Allergic reactions usually occur within 30 minutes of contact with a latex-based product and cause itching and redness of the skin.

Silicone has a higher heat resistance than latex, which may be an important factor to consider when deciding between a latex and silicone sealant. Latex products may contain small, non-hazardous amounts of nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. Latex materials are highly porous and tend to harbor more bacteria than silicone-based products. Neither silicone nor latex contains BPAs.