Author J. Brüggen, J. Ryll, S. Sarembe, V. Sternitzke, A. Kiesow
Journal Edition sofw journal 12-2019


In times of littering our oceans by plastics, the cosmetic industry is one direct contributor to the environmental pollution with so-called microplastic. Since decades, they are used to enhance the skin feel, to stabilise cosmetic formulations or to clean skin or teeth gently. Due to its simple and cost-effective production and availability in all colours of polyethylene, it is frequently used in the cosmetics industry. Environmentally friendly and at the same time efficient alternatives must now be found and developed. The presented study compares the abrasion, cleansing performance and biodegradability of natural cellulose fibres and polyethylene as well as silica. The biodegradability has been verified according to DIN EN 14851 under fresh water conditions. Abrasion and the cleansing performance were investigated visually and colorimetric after brushing tests in a simulator. The results of the analysis show that cellulose is a natural and biodegradable alternative to microplastic particles in cosmetics and personal care products. The investigation indicates that cellulose scrubs offer optimal characteristics required for the cleansing of the skin. They are skin-friendly, non-irritating scrubs with a high cleansing efficacy. Thus, natural cellulose combines all benefits and is available in white or colourful appearance. By using natural cellulose, the problem of microplastics aggregation and consequently the environmental pollution could be decreased.

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