Products & Solutions


Exfoliation without plastic

Evonik has developed a nature-identical substance to replace microplastics on the market: SIPERNAT® 2200 PC and SIPERNAT® 22 PC. These specialty silicas, which have a higher degree of purity than natural silica, help to preserve the environment, especially the oceans.

On principle, cosmetic products are subject to high standards of purity. That also applies to all kinds of skin exfoliation preparations. The SIPERNAT® 2200 PC and SIPERNAT® 22 PC silicas that Evonik manufactures for these products are listed as nature-identical by the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (NATRUE), a worldwide association that promotes natural skincare. These Evonik products are also certified according to COSMOS, an international standard for natural cosmetics.

The term “nature-identical” refers to the fact that silica already exists in nature, but seldom with the required degree of purity. Enhanced purity is the result of Evonik’s technical production process. The company’s amorphous synthetic silicas are purer than the silicas found in nature.

Abrasive and clean

Purity is not the only positive property of these silicas. In the past, microscopic particles of polyethylene and polypropylene were used in cosmetics for exfoliation functions. “All of the leading cosmetics and skincare product manufacturers worldwide are currently working to develop substitutes for the abrasive (rubbing, grinding) microplastic particles,” explains Andreas Fischer, Head of the Silica Business Line in the Resource Efficiency Segment at Evonik.

Driving this development is the public discussion of the pollution of the world’s oceans. Plastic waste is viewed as a main pollutant, along with plastic particles in cosmetics. According to Fischer, “The specialty silica SIPERNAT® is an ideal solution for this problem, because it fully meets the high standard of purity and the requirements regarding abrasive particles.”

In addition to providing a cleansing effect, the specialty silica has a sponge-like structure that enables it to absorb liquid active ingredients and fragrances and thus function as a carrier. In powder form, these ingredients can thus be easily integrated into various formulations—and that’s a big advantage for the cosmetics industry.

A reliable partner of manufacturers

By comparison to other substitutes for polyethylene, SIPERNAT® PC products can also be manufactured industrially on a large scale. As a result, manufacturers can always count on the availability of this specialty silica. Evonik has long been a dependable partner of the cosmetics industry. Through uniform specifications and controls, it ensures that the quality the of the products reliably maintains a high level.

As a result, some renowned international cosmetics companies are already using the specialty silicas in shower gels and facial and body exfoliation products. Evonik provided them with initial samples of these products at the end of 2013. The decades of experience in the areas of production and processes that Evonik has gathered as a specialty chemicals company have brought advantages to its customers. The specific properties of SIPERNAT® are just one example. The company is actively expanding this business globally.

At the beginning of this year, another product was added to the SIPERNAT® PC family: SIPERNAT® 11 PC. This product has also been certified according to NATRUE and COSMOS and will also replace plastics in cosmetics, but will not be used in exfoliation products. Instead, it will ensure a pleasant feeling on the skin and a matte finish in products such as creams and makeup items.