Trends of microplastic abundance in personal care products in the United Arab Emirates over the period of 3 years (2018–2020)

Rana Zeeshan Habib, Jawaher A.K. Aldhanhani, Alia Hilal Ali, Furtuna Ghebremedhin, Mariam Elkashlan, Mikal Mesfun, Wajeeh Kittaneh, Ruwaya Al Kindi, Thies Thiemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic microbeads in cosmetic products are considered one of the main contributors of primary microplastic pollution in aquatic environments. To assess the trends of microplastic usage in rinse-off cosmetic products over the last 3 years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 163 body scrub and face wash products were randomly selected and purchased from different UAE markets over a period of two (2019 and 2020) consecutive years as a continuation of our study of such products in 2018. Microbeads were extracted from the products and their composition was determined. The comparative analysis of the products revealed the presence of microplastic content in fewer products in 2019 and 2020 than to 2018. The results revealed that some of the products that contained microplastic in 2018 still have them in 2020. However, no new products were found on the market that contained microplastic. Overall, fewer products contained microbeads of any composition. Also, the consumer awareness, preferences, and behavior towards microplastic use in personal care products was assessed through a survey 2020 that complemented a survey carried out in 2018. An increasing awareness among the surveyed general public was noted regarding microplastic use in cosmetics and its adverse effects to the environment. The study indicates that an increasing global legislation is effective to curtail the use of microplastic containing microbeads in personal care products by replacing them with beads of alternative composition or avoiding the use of microbeads altogether. Nevertheless, products having microplastic content in the UAE were found to be imported or manufactured by companies based in countries where microplastic usage in personal care products has already been banned by law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89614-89624
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number59
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Consumer trend
  • Cosmetic ingredients
  • Legislation
  • Microbeads
  • Microparticles
  • Microplastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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