While most leading manufacturers of cosmetic and body care products are currently working to replace abrasive microplastics particles (polyethylene beads) in their products, Evonik is launching two new alternatives for use in peeling products: the specialty silica Sipernat® 2200 PC, which features cleansing particles with a size of approximately 320 μm, and Sipernat® 22 PC, which features particles with a size of approximately 120 μm. Both products have a microsponge structure.

Evonik offers environmentally friendly alternative for microplastics in...

Evonik offers environmentally friendly alternative for microplastics in exfoliants (photo: istock/GlobalStock)

A number of prominent international cosmetics companies already use the new specialty silica products in shower gels, facial care and body peeling products based on the prototypes released by Evonik in late 2013,” said the company.

Nature identical

Sipernat® 2200 PC and Sipernat® 22 PC are listed as nature identical by the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (NATRUE). This means the substance (in this case, silica or SiO2) is already found naturally, but is not usually available in the required purity. Although synthetic amorphous silica is identical to naturally occurring silica (such as sand) in chemical terms, its purity is significantly higher than natural silica due to the technical production process at Evonik.

Compared to other replacement substances for polyethylene, the specialty silica Sipernat® also represents a viable economic alternative,Evonik claims. Indeed, the production at the industrial scale ensures economic, worldwide availability.

The specialty chemicals company currently produces Sipernat® PC grades in Europe. However, an expansion of the production to Asia and North America is in the planning stage.