A US company is turning graphene, an artificial material discovered in 2004, into an ingredient that could boost the protection of sunscreen.
Bluestone Global Tech, a New York-based company, is developing the material because it has a very high absorption factor compared to ingredients on the market.
This means that a thinner layer would more effectively stop sunlight. Graphene also has strong multi-use applications in the field of color cosmetics and as packaging.
Bluestone is currently running through safety tests for the material and exchanging samples with a major cosmetics firm based in New York.
Dr Yu-Ming, vice president of technology at Bluestone, told CosmeticsDesign.com USA: “We have developed a range of different applications with graphene which we believe can bring more functionality to existing cosmetics products.”
Safer sun cream
Graphene, which is a thin sheet in its natural state, can be ground up into a powder and added to sun cream.
Dr Yu-Ming commented: “Graphene can be ground into a powder, which converts it into many small sheets. These impinge on sunlight hitting the skin, meaning that you need a thinner layer to be effective.”
“This sun cream also does not need to contain zinc oxide, making it easier on the skin and more environmentally friendly.”
The company also believes that the material could be more effective in blocking harmful UVB rays, which many existing sun creams do not protect against.
Colour cosmetics applications
Bluestone are also developing color cosmetics applications for the material, which can be used to produce eye shadow and makeup which appears a different color depending on the angle it is viewed from.
Liam Britnell, a research scientist and Bluestone’s UK manager, explained: “the way it works is similar to a prism. White light is made up of different colors, and the angle at which it scatters depends on the color.”
“This means that depending on the angle you look at the material from, it will appear a different color.”
Bluestone is currently in talks with a “very large” New Yorkcosmetics company, and are in the process of exchanging samples and developing graphene as a product.
Graphene is derived from graphite, an allotrope of carbon. It was first isolated in 2004 by Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov, scientists at the University of Manchester.
The resulting material is flexible and conducts heat and electricity very well. Bluestone believes that it may have applications in a number of different markets and technologies.
Dr Yu-Ming said: “we are currently trying to tailor graphene to the challenges in various industries.”