For years, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have been used as effective broad-spectrum ingredients in sunscreens. Nanotechnology, the science of materials that are one billionth of a meter, has led to newer sunscreens formulated with nanoparticulate titanium and zinc.
When this technology is applied to sunscreens, these products do not have the thick feel or chalky film as compared to their predecessors.
Offer better UV protection
And NDS, which is a physician-led organization dedicated to the scientific and medical aspects of nanotechnology and dermatology, claims that sunscreens with these nanomaterials offer superior UV protection when compared to conventional formulations.
However, many organizations and regulatory bodies have raised concerns regarding the safety of nanoparticle sunscreens. These concerns are based on the unique properties of materials at the “nano” level, which include increased surface area to weight ratio and enhanced skin and organ penetration capabilities.
As such, agencies wonder if these nanoparticles are toxic to living cells and if they are capable of being absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.
‘The picture is clear’
Dr. Adam Friedman vice-president of the NDS explained in the statement that the data it has found creates a clear picture of the use of nanotechnology in sunscreens, and that picture suggests it is safe.
"For a physician-led group to make available to the public information on why these nano-ingredients are used in sunscreens along with the latest material safety data is extremely important. Nanotechnology, like any new technology, has risks and benefits," explains Friedman.
"Studies of newer sunscreens show that they are either coated to minimize reactivity, clump in aggregates, or do not penetrate the skin. Furthermore, the benefits of sunscreen in reducing the risk of skin cancer including melanoma, which can be deadly, and photodamage are well known."