Cosmetic products are generally formulated as emulsions, ointments, solutions or powders containing active ingredients. According to EU legislation, a cosmetic product is “any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning, perfuming them, changing their appearance, and/or correcting body odors and/or protecting them or keeping them in good conditions”. However, science advancement in both active carriers and ingredients has streamlined the process through which many cosmetic products by their delivery systems can induce modifications on the skin physiology. This is the reason why Reed and Kligman redefined these products as “cosmeceuticals”, which refers to the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Until recently, the term of cosmeceuticals has not had legal significance. The so-called cosmeceuticals, in fact, may induce modifications on the skin physiology, modifying, for example, transepidermal water loss, keratinocytes cohesion and turnover, modulating the inflammatory cascade, and/or altering the surface microbiota by the activity of the preservatives content. For these reasons, they are claimed to have medical or drug-like benefits. Naturally, their effectiveness on minor skin disorders or mild skin abnormalities has to be shown by in vitro and in vivo studies. On the other hand, their formulations contain emulsifiers, preservatives, and other chemicals which, by their cumulative use, may provoke side effects, such as allergic and/or sensitization phenomena. Moreover, many ingredients and packaging for such products are not biodegradable. In this study, we would like to introduce an innovative category of cosmeceuticals
made by biodegradable nonwoven tissues. These cosmeceutical tissues, produced through the use of natural fibers, may bind different active ingredients and therefore become effective as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, sun-protective, whitening, or anti-aging products, depending on the ingredient(s) used. Differently from the usual cosmetics, they do not contain preservatives, emulsifiers, colors, and other chemicals. They can be applied as dried tissue on wet skin, remaining in loco for around 30 min, slowly releasing the active ingredients entrapped into the fibers. It is interesting to underline that the tissue, acting as a carrier, has its own effectiveness via chitin and lignin polymers with an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity. When hydrolyzed by the human microbiota enzymes, they give rise to ingredients used as cell nourishment or energy. This paper will review part of the scientific research results, supporting this new category of biodegradable cosmetic products known as facial mask sheets.