Nanotechnology in Cosmetics

Did you know that something as cool as nanotechnology lies within your daily sunscreen? Yes, sunscreen includes tiny nanoparticles of zinc oxide that protect your skin from those harmful UV rays.

Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating atoms and molecules in the nanoscale – 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Nanotechnology in cosmetics is nothing new. This technology has been used for years to enhance the functions of many cosmetic products. However, this technology is being utilized more often and in novel ways. The question that arises, as with any new technology, is whether it is safe.

FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology

Though it may be surprising, the FDA does not currently regulate the safety of nanomaterials. Cosmetics are actually the least regulated area when it comes to the FDA’s oversight. The FDA makes registration voluntary for cosmetics and really only requires any additives to be preapproved. This leaves the nanomaterials within cosmetics largely unchecked. Nanoparticles are not even required to be listed on the packaging. The average consumer wouldn’t know one way or another whether their products contain this new and nifty technology or on the flipside whether it could be causing them harm.

Environmental Risks

The manufacture and production of nanomaterials also plays a role in their safety. Nanomaterials can be released into the water, soil and air which can interfere with the ecosystem and environment. Carbon fullerenes, which are currently used in face creams and moisturizers, have the potential to cause brain damage in fish, kill water fleas and have shown other harmful effects to the ecosystem.

Nano-cosmetic Benefits

Many major cosmetic brands are already using this technology. Nanotechnology can be found in lipsticks to create satin and silky effects, anti-aging creams, moisturizers, facial powders and sunscreens. The utilization of nanoparticles benefits these products in many ways including the ability of the materials to absorb deeper into the skin, deliver nutrients more efficiently and provide better optical effects.

Whether we like it or not, nanoparticles play a vital role in our burgeoning tech world. They have advanced many products in the cosmetic sphere and will only begin to be utilized more and more.