Skin Care Additives: Top 6 Benefits of Using Silica Microspheres in Personal Care Products

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Beauty and personal care manufacturers are in fierce competition to attract buyers. They must formulate products that look and feel better than others on the market. Plus, consumers want added qualities like SPF protection and oil absorption. Silica microspheres are an ideal skin care additive for beauty, cosmetic and personal care manufacturers looking to enhance their products and stay competitive.

What are Silica Microspheres?

Silica microspheres are spherical particles of amorphous silica that measure three to 20 microns in diameter. They can impart a silky consistency and a matte appearance, that improves the look and feel of cosmetic, beauty and skin care products.

Unlike plastic beads, another common additive, silica microspheres are derived from silicon dioxide, a naturally occurring compound. As a result, they are safer for the environment than plastic microbeads, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned from cosmetic use in 2015.AGC’s RESIFA™ SOLESPHERE™ silica microspheres enhance the performance of personal care products. The particles are highly pure, near-perfect spheres of silicon dioxide that are three to 20 microns in diameter. They are compatible with oil-in-water (O/W), water-in-oil (W/O) and anhydrous skin care formulations.

Top 6 Benefits of Using RESIFA SOLESPHERE Silica in Personal Care Products

1. Enhances Texture and Aesthetics

SOLESPHERE particles have unique properties that can improve the look and feel of personal care products. Unlike plastic microbeads, which deform when pressed by a fingertip, SOLESPHERE particles are hard enough to retain their spherical shape. This enables them to roll across the skin, so the product is distributed evenly. Silica microspheres have a silky quality, adding a soft feel to skin care products.

The SOLESPHERE H-121 grade provides the most aesthetic benefits for oil-in-water emulsions. These particles are three to 12 microns in diameter, which improves ‘slip’ and creates a matte finish on the skin.

2. Provides an SPF Boost

Consumers are getting smarter about sun care, realizing that sunscreen isn’t just for beach days—it’s essential for daily wear, like under makeup, to fight sun damage and lower skin cancer risks. So, skin care brands are adding SPF to moisturizers and makeup foundation to meet growing demand.

While common sunscreen chemicals like avobenzone and oxybenzone do the job, they can irritate the skin and disrupt hormones. Mineral compounds like zinc and titanium oxide are safe alternatives but tend to leave a white cast on the skin.

SOLESPHERE H-33 and H-53 can provide an SPF boost for a range of sunscreen products, including creams, lotions, spray applications, cosmetics and lip balms. They have high specific surface areas and large pores that scatter light, increasing the likelihood of reflection or absorption by sunscreens. The pores can also help distribute active ingredients uniformly across the skin.

Their spherical shape creates slip, promoting spreadability. Formulations using microspheres are able to use less active ingredients and retain SPF effectiveness better over time.

3. Creates a Soft Focus

Many women look to reduce or hide wrinkles by concealing them with beauty products. SOLESPHERE microspheres impart a soft focus that hides wrinkles—a critical element of anti-wrinkle, anti-aging and anti-imperfection cosmetics. This optical effect is achieved through the scattering of light caused by the spherical shape and porosity of the particles.

The SOLESPHERE H-121 grade has a particle size of 12 um that provides the best blurring effect. The fine particles create a soft focus while improving product texture and oil absorption. This grade is commonly used in pressed powders and foundations.

4. Exfoliates the Skin

Many consumers use exfoliants to improve skin appearance by removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores. SOLESPHERE D-series, composed of insoluble silica, provides a light, gritty texture for cosmetic products like scrubs, gels and lotions. A good replacement for plastic microbeads, it is safe on the skin and environmentally friendly.

5. Absorbs Oil

No one likes a greasy face. Cosmetics that absorb oils are popular, especially in the summer. The SOLESPHERE H-33 grade offers superior oil absorption, with an absorption capacity of 400 ml/100 g. When microencapsulated, the fine silica activates when mixed with water. The silica particles can also be absorbed into other products to be applied in powder form. This process allows more oil to be used in powder makeup foundations, so they don’t separate over time like liquid foundations do.

In fact, this grade can hold between 50 to 200 percent of its mass in oil, depending on the emollient used in the product. Its high pore volume can absorb considerable sebum, preventing shine and helping makeup last longer.

H-33 microspheres are suitable for many cosmetic and personal care applications, including shower gels, soaps, powdered cosmetics, deodorants, dry shampoos and powdered fragrances.

6. Minimizes Pores

Consumers look for skin care products that address multiple issues in one formulation. Pore size and clogged pores are common issues, so personal care companies are developing products that smooth and minimize pores.

SOLESPHERE H-51 has a particle size of five microns, which makes it ideal for concealing pores. In general, the larger the particle size, the greater the concealing effect.

The different properties of RESIFA SOLESPHERE particles give cosmetic companies opportunities to rethink current brands to create new beauty products that address evolving consumer needs. Different grades can be used as skin care additives to provide mattifying, soft focus effect, sweat absorption and tactile properties. This table summarizes the grades ideal for specific applications.

Find out more about the different grades and applications of SOLESPHERE silica microspheres at Fine Silica Gels: RESIFA SOLESPHERE–AGC ChemicalsSOLESPHERE is a registered trademark of AGC Si-Tech Company Ltd., an affiliate of the AGC Group of Japan. SOLESPHERE is distributed in North America by AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.


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