We frequently see synthetic companions, sex dolls, and adult toys marketed or described as "silicone TPE". That is a false statement, and it is misleading, primarily because silicone and TPE are two completely different materials and cannot be mixed.
Silicone is a type of thermoset elastomer that combines silicon and oxygen atoms with organic materials. The manufacturing process is slow and expensive. The result is a non-porous, more durable, and resistant material, especially to pressure and temperature, compared to TPE.
Because it is more robust and firmer, silicone represents skin textures better, since it allows better definition resembling pores, wrinkles, and imperfections. It even allows more permanent and realistic colors for make-up, skin tones, and blood vessels.
It also allows to implant hair, which produces a more realistic and permanent effect than wigs. On this example, we can even see implanted hair in eyebrows and eyelashes creating an amazing realistic effect.
As it does not retain humidity, maintenance is simple and it can be washed and dried without much problem. On the opposite, silicone being harder means that it is also rougher and less flexible, and sensations are less pleasant and realistic when simulating sexual intercourse.
Silicone applications are widespread in the medical and industrial fields for being hypoallergenic and resistant to oils and certain chemicals.
On the other hand, TPE is the abbreviation of a variety of thermoplastic materials molded at high temperatures in a less costly, faster process. This also makes it more affordable.
TPE is commonly associated with "medical grade" and "food grade". "Medical grade" basically means that it can be used for human contact, as it is made with FDA compliant (and ROHS certified) raw materials, free of phthalates and latex proteins. In addition, "food grade" means higher quality and more biodegradable eco-logical properties since those raw materials come from nature itself, mostly from seeds, and it can be used in contact with food.
TPE is excellent for molding. It results in a softer, flexible, smooth material that resembles very much human flesh. It is easier to replicate muscle and bone effects, offering more realistic body shapes. However, it is not as good as silicone imitating skin. There is a variation, called TPR, that is a little more resistant and firmer, and a little inferior in quality but allows more realism, closer to silicone results.
TPE is porous, and it requires a very good maintenance process, washing with very mild soap and temperate water, perfect drying to ensure no humidity is left, which could lead to mold in the long term, and periodical changes of position to prevent slight deformation. It is advisable not to use permanent clothes as they can stain. However, using baby powder after washing and drying prolongs its life and adds a wonderful feeling, very pleasant to touch. Not in vain, TPE is king when it comes to sexual pleasure, and offering a more realistic feel, especially when combined with water-based lubricants. Since it is less resistant to heat, it quickly reaches a more realistic temperature when in contact with human flesh or by artificial means.
In resume, based on our experience, TPE is best for body parts, and silicone is best for heads. Since both materials require completely different manufacturing processes, we at Artificial Companions created a system to combine them while reducing costs for our customers. This way, they can enjoy the best of both materials in our best dolls for a reasonable price. That is why in our Product Descriptions we always offer an accurate explanation of the materials used, specifically when we use silicone for the head and TPE for the body, what implicates a more advanced level of commitment with our clientele.
Ruben Lopez, CEO