One major marine by-product is chitin. It is the main structural component of the shells of crustaceans. Chitin is difficult to dissolve so products usually use Chitosan which was first made in 1959 by Rouget who heated chitin with concentrated sodium hydroxide, which removed some of the acetyl groups from the molecular chain, leaving behind complete amino groups.
Unlike chitin, chitosan dissolves easily organic acids and is a useful cationic polymer. It is used for its antimicrobial products especially in acne and antidandruff products. It will enhance the viscosity of various formulations.
This natural biopolymer is a good film-former that is also moisturising. Its positive charge allows it to interact easily with biological surfaces such as skin and hair. It is effective in both cationic and non-ionic emulsions. Chitosan will help with hair curl retention. It leaves hair soft, silky and shiny and is good for controlling static and dry combing.
Chitosan dressings are sometimes used in emergency rooms to control bleeding. Chitosan has been used in various drug delivery systems. Antimicrobial and other effects are being evaluated for use in dentistry.
The research team behind CLINIVITA researches Chitosan for its health benefits.