As personal care continues to represent one of the biggest growth areas for the chemical industry, the importance of developing ever-effective formulations relies on the development of cutting edge advances such as nanotechnology.
ACS's cosmetics symposium included 25 presentations focusing on the benefits nanotechnology is bringing to polymer and film ingredients, as well as the latest developments in eye, hair and skin care. 'Cosmetic Nanotechnology: Polymers and Colloids in Personal Care', discussed the evolution of the technology within the industry, highlighting how it first appeared in cosmetics formulations in the form of liposomes in moisturizers over 40 years ago.
Since then the development of the technology has come on in leaps and bounds, to a point where it is now considered possible to alter the physical properties of many cosmetic formulations.
At this point the issue of safety comes into play. The symposium went into some depth to establish the latest evidence on the degree to which microparticles can more readily penetrate the skin and the potential problems this might pose. The FDA is currently considering this issue, but there are still no signs of a decision being made in the near future.
Anti-aging is probably the biggest area of development for nanotechnology in cosmetics, if the number of product launches staking a claim to using the technology in their formulations is anything to go by. Glossing and volumizing characteristics are just two of the main benefits for anti-aging products, but do these claims mean anything?
Reaserchers from ingredients provider Croda gave an insight into just how these claims can be justified, supplying scientific evidence of how these seemingly optimistic claims can now be justified.
Another individual presentation also looked at how nanotechnology is increasing the aesthetics options available to contact lens wearers. Dramatic eye color definition is now being enhanced by using carefully patterned colorants that also use the natural definition of the iris. According to a researcher from CIBA Vision nanotechnology is helping to evolve this area, to provide a host of new opportunities and choices for lens wearers.
The symposium also considered the delivery of vitamin E using the nanotechnology. As vitamin E is a known and powerful antioxidant, it is becoming increasingly important as a means of protecting both hair and skin from harmful environmental forces.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have developed a synthetic nanocarrier that is claimed to encapsulate and transport vitamin E deeper into the skin. The polymers involved in the method can also combine both fast- and slow-acting components to provide a more controlled release that can be used in cosmetic, cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical applications.