Solvay Silica has introduced an eco-friendly grade of its Tixosil® range of highly dispersible silica products, designed to substitute plastic beads in exfoliating body wash, facial cleanser and other specialised personal care formulations. The product is supplied in micropearl form as a replacement for plastics polyethylene (PE) beads, which have recently raised environmental concerns due to their potential pollution hazard when leaking from municipal waste water treatment plants.
“Tixosil® MicroPearl Silica is a non-dusting, environmentally safe and sustainable alternative to plastic beads,” says Francesca Peditto, Application Manager at Solvay Silica. “In exfoliating formulations for personal care, it combines equivalent performance with cost-saving benefits, such as superior dispersion in aqueous solutions, a wide scope for the inclusion of actives, lower surfactant concentration and reduced texturing agent usage.”
Solvay, which operates manufacturing, research and innovation facilities on four continents, produces its highly dispersible silicas in a precipitation process essentially using sand as a raw material, which is the most abundant mineral present in the crust of the earth. Tixosil® is odourless, chemically inert and considered non-hazardous in manufacture, transportation, handling and application.
“The product range already has a proven fit in oral care and nutrition applications where it must meet the strict provisions of FDA and HACCP regulations. When a leading personal care and cosmetics manufacturer was seeking to replace plastic beads in their body scrub and cleansing products, Tixosil® MicroPearl Silica provided a highly effective and eco-friendly solution. It is commercially available from eight production sites in the Americas, Europe and Asia, all adhering to the same specifications of quality and consistency to serve the growing needs of global customers,” concludes Delphine Hugenot, Commercial Director for Solvay Silica in Europe.
Several cosmetic manufacturers, including giants such as Unilever and L’Oréal, have already announced they would stop using plastic microbeads in their products. Furthermore, legislators in California and in New York have introduced bills to ban these substances.