One of the main environmental problems is the presence of microplastics from cosmetic
products in natural environments such as marine. The German institute Fraunhofer
investigates new alternatives to microplastics, environmentally friendly, for this type of
applications. 01/15/2018 Despite their environmental impact, microplastics are still used
in personal care and cosmetic products.
In this sense, tiny plastic particles from peels and other skin care products reach the sea
through the wastewater systems and eventually end up in our food chain. To find an
alternative to this reality, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and
Systems IMWS and its partners have carried out research that has allowed them to test
materials that can replace microplastics in cosmetic products and that are biodegradable
Many cosmetic products, such as body scrubs or deodorants, contain small plastic
particles, the so-called microplastics, for example made of polyethylene (PE) and
polypropylene (PP). As soft abrasives, they remove dead skin scales by friction and
stimulate blood circulation. Due to their chemical resistance and lack of color, smell and
taste, they are also frequently used as stabilizers and fillers.
Polyethylene and polypropylene are not biodegradable and, due to the small particle
size of less than 5 millimeters, the microplastic that has been introduced into sewage
with cosmetics cannot be sufficiently removed in wastewater treatment plants.
Therefore, it reaches the environment and enters our waters. In the sea, microplastic
particles are absorbed by living organisms and, eventually, enter our food chain. Many
cosmetic manufacturers have announced that they will abandon the use of microplastics
and, instead, will use appropriate alternatives vegetables as tagua natural white exfoliant
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