Press release
Personal Care
August 2, 2007

Natural raw materials from Degussa

Trendsetting Products

There is no doubt about it - terms such as “natural,” “plant-based,” and “organic” have become firmly established in our everyday vocabulary in recent years. We find these raw materials in foods, textiles, furniture and building materials, and medicinal products, but most commonly in cosmetics. Countless health and beauty aids sold in stores are now made with plant-sourced ingredients in order to keep up with the increasing demand for products that are natural and environmentally sound. The Degussa Care & Surface Specialties business unit spotted this trend early on and offers a correspondingly wide range of products.

“More than 80 percent of the raw materials and active ingredients that the business unit provides to the cosmetics industry are now made from plant-sourced and natural starting materials, such as fats and oils, natural fatty acids or sugar compounds such as sucrose and sorbitol,” says Dr. Claus Rettig, President of the Care & Surface Specialties business unit.

This includes the so-called sugar esters, such as TEGOSOFT® LSE, which is used as a mild refatting agent for shampoos and bath/shower gels, TEGOSOFT® PSE, which is used as a moisturizer in skin care products, and the food-grade emulsifier AXOL® C 62, which can be used for manufacturing creams and lotions in combination with natural oils. One truly special innovation is TEGO® Emulprot®, an emulsifier and consistency modifier that is extracted from milk protein and sugar by means of a biotechnological process. It is especially well suited for making natural cosmetics with very high levels of natural oils.

Degussa Care & Surface Specialties also relies on nature for its active ingredients for cosmetics, for example, active ingredients such as ceramides or phytosphingosines. These substances exist together with other skin components in the corneal layer of human skin and form a natural barrier there, protecting the skin from drying out and preventing foreign substances from getting in. The highly effective ceramides are used in cosmetics for dry skin and for hair care, and especially for anti-aging products and skin care lines for mature skin. In medicine, they also play a role in preventing skin problems and in treating dermatological diseases.

The business unit produces the nature-identical ceramide and phytosphingosine active ingredient group using biofermentation and using processes and techniques that conserve resources, and are safe and environmentally sound. Degussa also uses cutting-edge biotechnological production processes that use natural enzymes to produce high-quality ester oils that can be used in a variety of cosmetics products. In contrast to conventional chemical processes, enzymatic processes can take place at much lower temperatures, and as a result are very energy efficient. Fewer by-products are produced, which means that in most cases, complicated (because of multi-step cleaning) processing of oils is no longer necessary or is at least much simpler. All together, this process reduces energy use and emissions by up to 75 percent. In addition, products produced in this way are notable for having exceptional purity and quality.

In addition to natural, nature-identical or renewable raw materials and active ingredients and innovative, environmentally friendly production processes, another subject of public debate has been garnering more attention in the cosmetics industry and from suppliers: the biodegradability of hair and body care products. Several European countries—Sweden for one—only permit raw materials to be used for body care products that rinse off (such as shampoo, shower gel or hair washing agents) that are completely biodegradable and as such are not harmful to nature. The Care & Surface Specialties business unit also already has a wide range of these types of specialized products. Our newest successful developments in this area are two completely biodegradable ester quats, VARISOFT® WE 38 and VARISOFT® EQ 65, which are used as conditioning agents with excellent protective properties in hair care and baby products. This substance class belongs to the cationic surfactants, which are generally considered difficult to degrade, so these two Degussa products can be considered among the most important innovations in the development of environmentally friendly products.

“We are particularly proud that our commitment to successful innovation in the field of natural and environmentally friendly raw materials has also been honored by independent institutions and organizations,” says Dr. Claus Rettig. “For example, thirty-three products from our portfolio for the cosmetics industry have already been certified by ECOCERT, and more will be in the near future.”


is an independent international environmental organization with its headquarters in France. It is currently the largest environmental control and certification organization in Europe and it works in eighty different countries all over the world.


A wholly owned subsidiary of the RAG Group - is the global market leader in specialty chemicals. Our business is creating essentials - innovative products and system solutions that make indispensable contributions to our customers’ success. In fiscal 2006 around 36,000 employees worldwide generated sales of 10.9 billion euros and operating profits (EBIT) of more than 870 million euros.