Personal Care

Effective Skin Protection

Protecting Your Hands (icon)

Protecting Your Hands

Skin is damaged by frequent handwashing and the use of disinfectant. Our silicones protect your hands and make them soft and supple.

Skin creams, make-up and hair-care products are key applications in WACKER’S silicones business. The Consumer Care segment’s high-margin specialty silicones are essential ingredients in such products. Last year saw the emergence of skin care as a major issue worldwide, with increased hand hygiene in response to coronavirus taking its toll on the human body’s largest organ.

Cássia Picirili, like many people in Brazil and elsewhere these days, is living her life at home. For months now, the only place she has seen the five women in her team is on her laptop. “We’re being good and staying at home,” she says, with a laugh. The expert, who has worked at WACKER’S South American headquarters near São Paulo for three years, is trying to stay positive.

Despite having to work from home, her team has developed a whole range of ideas for personal-care and cosmetic products aimed specifically at routines altered by the pandemic. She is proud to have formulated a new hand sanitizer that protects the skin. Frequent handwashing leaves the skin rough and cracked, and the alcohol in sanitizers does its own damage. In response, Picirili’s team tested disinfectants containing silicones on blackberry leaves. In the presence of protective silicone, the test leaf stayed fresh and green after 24 hours; where there was no silicone, the leaf darkened and dried up.

Cássia Picirili (Photo)

Cássia Picirili from São Paulo is an expert in silicones. She has developed skin-friendly hand sanitizers.

Blackberries (Photo)

Blackberry leaves react extremely sensitively to strong disinfectants – just as human skin does.

Production of silicone emulsions (Photo)

The products that WACKER makes in São Paulo include silicone emulsions for the cosmetics and personal-care sectors.

The ideas of her team are being picked up globally. WACKER colleagues in Germany repeated the experiment, using raspberry leaves instead of blackberry, and got similarly good results. “We are all affected by current market developments, and knowledge gets transferred in all directions,” says Dr. Timo Hagemeister, responsible for WACKER’S consumer-related silicone business in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “Our Consumer Care team offers the worldwide product and application expertise in silicones expected by the likes of Unilever or L’Oréal.”

Sustainably manufactured products are gaining in popularity in the segment. With the introduction of BELSIL® eco, WACKER can now offer ingredients for such products. Biobased methanol is used for manufacturing, compensating for fossil-based components. The process is climate-friendly and conserves resources – an ideal starting point for the sustainable manufacture of skin creams, shampoos, conditioners and lotions. More and more WACKER customers are ordering such silicones. For personal-care companies whose customers demand products that are more climate-friendly, “fossil-free” is a key message. “We’re talking to all the majors about this,” says Hagemeister.

Silicones are also capable of protecting the skin under maximum stress conditions. Poor air quality is one of worst problems affecting the populations of Asian megacities. Day after day, the skin is damaged by particulate matter, ozone, exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke. In response, technical service engineers at WACKER developed a formulation containing its nature-identical hydroxytyrosol HTEssence®. It counteracts harmful environmental factors, decreases oxidative stress and promotes the regeneration of the skin.

“We are all affected by current market developments, and knowledge is transferred in all directions.”

Dr. Timo Hagemeister, Director of Consumer Silicones, Europe, Middle East and Africa

In Cássia Picirili’s homeland Brazil, protecting the skin from sunlight is crucial. To that end, her team has developed new specialty-silicone formulations in the laboratory. Such creams are highly repellent to water and sand and are easy to apply to the skin. The easier it is to spread the vital UV filter, the better the protection. Scientific studies have shown that the more easily a sunscreen can be applied to the skin, the more widely it is used.

General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.