Microplastics and cosmetics: Problems and solutions

Pierfrancesco Morganti, Maria-Beatrice Coltelli, Gianluca Morganti

Article ID: 2228
Vol 2, Issue 3, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54517/ssd.v2i3.2228
VIEWS - 177 (Abstract)


Plastic waste and microplastics are invading lands and oceans, creating problems for animals, human health and the environment. Packaging, building and construction, textiles and cosmetic sectors are the main industries that utilize these non biodegradable materials. Thus, there is a necessity to find a new way of producing and consuming skin- and eco-compatible’ goods. For this purpose, it’s important to remember that the cosmetic and diet supplement markets are continually increasing, due also to the introduction of “Beauty from within,” based on the contemporary consumption of cosmeceuticals applied to the skin and nutraceuticals taken by oral route. Moreover, both of these products are made by emulsions or solutions based on a great consumption of water with the use of carriers rich in chemicals, which often cause allergy and sensitization problems. Thus, the proposed solution to use smart tissue-carriers, which are embedded with natural ingredients, and is based on the use of raw materials and biopolymers obtained from food and agro-forestry waste. These new carriers, with a structure similar to the Extra Cellular Matrix, may be used to realize smart cosme-nutraceuticals useful to reduce water consumption, producing innovative products free of emulsifiers, preservatives, colors, fragrances and other chemicals. So, it will possible to save the human health and the environment by maintaining natural raw materials and the biodiversity of the earth for the future generations.


cosmeceuticals; nutraceuticals; chitin nanofibrils; nano lignin; waste; microplastics; cosmetic market; diet supplement market; water consumption; skin and mucous barriers

Full Text:



1. Ziani K, Ionita-Mindrican CB, Mititelu M, et al. Microplastics: A real global threat for environment and food safety: A state of the art review. Nutrients 2023; 15(3): 617. doi: 10.3390/nu15030617

2. Isobe A, Azusa T, Cordova MR, et al. A multilevel dataset of microplastic abundance in the world’s upper ocean and the Laurentian Great Lakes. Microplastics and Nanoplastics 2022; 1(1): 1–14. doi: 10.1186/s43591-022-00013-z

3. Richie H, Roser M. Plastic pollution, Our Word in Data. Available online: https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution (accessed on 25 July 2023).

4. Hernandez LM, Xu EG, Larsson HCE, et al. Plastic tea bags release billions of Microplastics and nanoparticles into tea. Environmental Science and Technology 2019; 3(21): 12300–12310. doi: 10.1021/asc.est.9b02540

5. Ragusa A, Svelato A, Santacroce C, et al. Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta. Environment International 2021; 146: 106274. doi: 10.1016/j.envying.2020.106274

6. Leslie HA, van Velzen MJM, Brandsma SH, et al. Discover and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood. Environment International 2022; 163: 107199. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107199

7. Shen M, Zheng Z, Wen X, et al. Presence of microplastics in drinking water from freshwater sources: The investigation in Changsha, China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2021; 28(31): 42313–42324. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-13769-x

8. Verla AW, Enyoh CE, Verla EN, Nwarnorh KO. Microplastics-toxic chemicals interaction: A review study on quantified levels, mechanism and implication. SN Applied Sciences 2019; 1: 1400. doi: 10.1007/s42452-019-1352-0

9. Morganti P, Morganti G, Gagliardini A, Lohani A. From cosmetics to innovative cosmeceuticals—Non-woven tissues as new biodegradable carriers. Cosmetics 2021; 8(3): 65. doi: 10.3390/cosmeticd8030065

10. Bianchi S, Bartoli F, Bruni C, et al. Opportunities and limitations in recycling fossil polymers from textiles. Macromol 2023; 3(2): 120–148. doi: 10.3390/macromol3020009

11. Westbrook G, Angus A. Top 10 global consumer trends 2021. Available online: https://go.euromonitor.com/white-paper-EC-2021-Top-10-Global-Consumer-Trends.html (accessed on 11 July 2023).

12. Precedence Research. Cosmetics market trends and forecast 2021–2030. Available online: https://www.precedenceresearch.com/ (accessed on 25 July 2023).

13. Morganti P. Natural products work in multiple ways, 2009. In: A Tabor and R Blair Nutritional Cosmetics.Beauty from within William Andrew, Burlington, MA, USA.

14. RM. Nutraceuticals Global Market Report. Research and Markets; 2023.

15. Plastic Pollution Coalition. The ugly side of beauty: The cosmetics industry’s plastic packaging problem. Available online: https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/blog/2022/1/25/the-ugly-side-of-beauty-the-cosmetics-industrys-plastic-packaging-problem (accessed on 25 January 2022).

16. Tolnay A, Koris A, Magda R. Sustainable development of cosmetic products in the frame of the laboratory market. Visegrad Journal on Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development 2018; 7(2): 62–66. doi: 10.2478/vjbsd-2018-0012

17. Fisher A. Sustainable skincare in 2021 and beyond. Available online: https://www.mintel.com/beauty-and-personal-care-market-news/sustainable-skincare-in-2021-and-beyond/ (accessed on 16 December 2020).

18. Dini I, Laneri S. The new challenge of green cosmetics: Natural food ingredients for cosmetic formulations. Molecules 2021; 26(13): 3921. doi: 10.3390/molecules262

19. Montero-Rivière NA. Structure and function of skin. In: Monteiro-Riviere NA. Toxicology of Skin. CRC Press; 2010. pp. 1–18.

20. Wertz PW. Roles of lipides in the permeability barriers of skin and oral mucous. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2021; 22(10): 5229. doi: 10.3390/ijms22105229

21. Lee HJ, Kim M. Skin barrier function and the microbiome. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2022; 23(21): 13071. doi: 10.3310/ijms232113071

22. The World Bank. Securing our future through biodiversity. Available online: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2022/12/07/securing-our-future-through-biodiversity (accessed on 7 December 2022).

23. Auta HS, Emenike CU, Fauziah SH. Distribution and importance of microplastics in the marine environment: A review of the sources, fate, effects and potential solutions. Environment International 2017; 102: 165–176. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.02.013

24. Martins MS, Ferreira MS, Almeida IF, Sousa E. Occurrence of allergens in cosmetics for sensitive skin. Cosmetics 2022; 9(2): 32. doi: 10.3390/cosmetics902003

25. Herich D. What consumers want from beauty in 2023. Available online: https://www.gcimagazine.com/consumers-markets/news/22512091/what-consumers-want-from-beauty-in-2023 (accessed on 24 October 2022).

26. Berg A, Davillard S, Balchandani A, et al. Apparel, Fashion & Luxury 2022, McKinsey Report. Available online: www.MacKinseyandcompany.com (accessed on 25 July 2023).

27. NielsenIQ. The Blurring Lines of Beauty. Health & Wellness; 2022.

28. Cosmetica Italia. Cosmetic Industry: Manufacture. Market and Foreign Trade; 2022.

29. Morganti P, Coltelli MB. A new carrier for advanced cosmeceuticals. Cosmetics 2019; 6(1): 10. doi: 10.3390/cosmetics6010010

30. Morganti P, Morganti G, Colao C. Biofunctional textiles for aging skin. Biomedicines 2019; 7(3): 51. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines7030051

31. Morganti P, Morganti G, Coltelli MB. Skin and pollution: The smart nano-based cosmeceuticals-tissues to save the Planet’ecosystem. In: Nanda A, Nanda S, Nguyen TA, et al. (editors). Nanocosmetics: Fundamentals, Applications and Toxicity. Elsevier; 2020. pp. 287–304.

32. Coltelli MB, Morganti P, Castelvetrano V, et al. Chitin nanofibril-nanolignin complexes as carriers of functional molecules of skin contact applications. Nanomaterials 2022; 12(8): 1295. doi: 10.3390/12081295

33. Danti S, Trombi L, Fusco A, et al. Chitin nanofibrils and nanolignin as functional agents in skin regeneration. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019; 20(11): 2669. doi: 10.3390/ijms20112669

34. Morganti P, Morganti G, Yudin VE, Chen HD. Chitin and lignin: Old polymers and new bio-tissue-carriers. Dermatology and Dermatitis 2021; 6(3). doi: 10.31579/2578-8949/083

35. Morganti P, Morganti G, Memic A, et al. The New Renaissance of Beauty and Wellness through the Green Economy. Latest Trends in Textile and Fashion Designing 2021; 4(2); doi: 10.32474/LTTFD.2021.04.000185

36. Cimini C, Gagliardini A, Di Fazio V. Bamboo-fibers: Physicochemical characteristics, biological properties and production process. Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Rome; 2022; unpublished work.

37. Morganti P, Chen HD and Morganti G. Nanocosmetics: Future Perspective. In: A Nanda, S Nanda, TA Nguyen, S Rajendran, and S Slimani (editors). Nanocosmetics: Fundamentals, Applications and Toxicity, Elsevier; 2020. pp. 455–481.

38. Laurenti R, Singh J, Frostell B, et al. The Socio-economic embeddedness of the circular economy: An integrative framework. Sustainability 2018; 10(7): 2129. doi: 10.3390/su10072129

39. Padilla-Rivera A, Russo-Garrido S, Merveille N. Addressing the social aspects of a circular economy: A systematic literature review. Sustainability 2020; 12(19): 7912. doi: 10.3390/su12197912

40. Liu L, Ramakrishna S. An Introduction to Circular Economy. Springer Singapore; 2021.

41. EU. Circular economy: Definition, importance and benefits. Available online: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20151201STO05603/circular-economy-definition-importance-and-benefits (accessed on 7 June 2023).

42. UN. The circular economy, cooperatives and the social and solidarity economy. Available online: https://www.un.org/development/desa/cooperatives/2021/08/02/the-circular-economy-cooperatives-and-the-social-and-solidarity-economy/ (accessed on 7 June 2023).

43. EMAF. The circular economy in detail. Available online: https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/the-circular-economy-in-detail-deep-dive (accessed on 7 June 2023).

44. Morganti P, Morganti G, Memic A, et al. The new renaissance of beauty and wellness through the green economy. Latest Trends in Textile & Fashion Design 2021; 4(2). doi: 10.32474/LTTFD.2021.04.000185

45. Morganti P, Morganti G, Danti S, et al. Biodegradable nanomaterials for cosmetic and medical use. In: Kumar V, Guleria P, Dasgupta N, et al. (editors). Functionalized Nanomaterials. II Applications. CRC Press; 2021. pp. 62–73.

46. Morganti P, Morganti G, Coltelli MB, et al. Non-woven tissues as novel cosmetic carriers for a green beauty. Advances in Environmental and Engineering Research 2022; 3(2): 21. doi: 10.21926/aeer.2202021

47. Morganti P, Morganti G, Gao X. Cosmeceutical-tissues as anti-aging active carriers. In: Morganti P (editor). Biofunctional Textiles for an Aging Skin. Lambert Academic Publishing; 2022. pp. 696–733.

48. Morganti P, Morganti G, Palombo M. Research & innovation for sustainable products: Polysaccharides for a smart circular economy at zero waste. Clinical Research and Clinical Trials 2021; 3(3): 37. doi: 10.31579/2693-4779/037

49. Panariello L, Vannozzi A, Morganti P, et al. Biobased and eco-compatible beauty films coated with Chitin nanofibrils, nanolignin and Vitamin E. Cosmetics 2021; 8(2): 27. doi: 10.3390/cosmetics8020027

50. Coltelli MB, Morganti P, Lazzeri A. Sustainability assessment, environmental impact, and recycling strategies of biodegradable polymer nanocomposites. In: Deshmukh K, Pandey M (editors). Biodegradable and Biocompatible Polymer Nanocomposites. Elsevier; 2023. pp. 699–737.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Pierfrancesco Morganti, Maria-Beatrice Coltelli, Gianluca Morganti

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).