Despite misgivings over safety, a new report highlights that personal care products containing nano compounds as key ingredients are growing rapidly and could give way to a new category.
Thomson Reuter’s report 'Can Nanotech Unlock the Fountain of Youth?', suggests the industry has taken a big shine to nanotechnology and all the indicators point to continued rapid growth in the medium- to long-term.
Nanotechnology has really broken ground in the sun care category, where nano-titanium dioxide has become an industry standard in effective protection, together with the anti-aging segment, where nano-sized actives are claimed to have vastly improved product efficacy.
The report also highlights that nano-based ingredients are also making their mark in the hair care arena, where ingredients that deliver vitamins that can penetrate the cellular structure of the hair follicle are gaining ground.
Creation of new industry category
But one of the most significant predictions for the future highlighted by the report is an industry expert's belief that nanotechnology is likely to create a distinct and new category within the cosmetics and personal care arena.
“I predict nanocosmetics will be an industry offering new innovations in function, value, and features that will distinguish these products from other beauty products that are not nano-enhanced” says Dr. James Canton, of the Institute of Global Futures, a think tank on innovations and trends.
One company that is already paving the way to making the prediction come true is Amorepacific, which has developed a nanodelivery technology that it has incorporated into its skin care products as a means of differentiating itself on the market, with the claim of providing more effective skin care.
Currently there are over 1,000 personal care and cosmetics products on the global market that contain a nano material as a key ingredient, a figure that has risen from just a couple of hundred three years ago.
Research into nanotechnology set to boom
Global research into nanotechnology for all types of consumer products is estimated at $9bn, but the report authors are forecasting that by 2015 that figure could reach $1 trillion.
However, pressure to discover whether there are any potential health and safety concerns associated with the technology and its applications for health and personal care has led the FDA to pledge a $15m budget to address the issue of new regulatory science to govern the category.
Likewise, the report also highlights the work the Environmental Protection Agency and the European Commission is doing to both promote and regulate nanotechnology.