Cosmetic and personal care products are globally used and often applied directly on the human skin. According to a recent survey in Europe, the market value of cosmetic and personal care products in Western Europe reached about 84 billion euros in 2018 and are predicted to increase by approximately 6% by the end of 2020. With these significant sums of money spent annually on cosmetic and personal care products, along with chemical surfactants being the main ingredient in a number of their formulations, of which many have been reported to have the potential to cause detrimental effects such as allergic reactions and skin irritations to the human skin; hence, the need for the replacement of chemical surfactants with other compounds that would have less or no negative effects on skin health. Biosurfactants (surfactants of biological origin) have exhibited great potential such as lower toxicity, skin compatibility, protection and surface moisturizing effects which are key components for an effective skincare routine. This review discusses the antimicrobial, skin surface moisturizing and low toxicity properties of glycolipid and lipopeptide biosurfactants which could make them suitable substitutes for chemical surfactants in current cosmetic and personal skincare pharmaceutical formulations. Finally, we discuss some challenges and possible solutions for biosurfactant applications.
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