Nanotechnology in sunscreens has received a buzz of attention with the consumer conscious wondering about the dangers outweighing the benefits.
What Is a NanoparticleNanoparticles in sunscreen in short is taking the mineral active ingredients in sunscreen and making their particle size extremely small, measuring about 1 / 8,000th the size of a human hair. Nanoparticles are found naturally and recently have been manufactured in many applications, one being in sunscreen to allow the application to go on clear and lightweight, without a white film over the skin.
What Are the Danger's of Nanoparticles in Sunscreen?Titanium Dioxide, and to a smaller extent Zinc Oxide are photocatalysts. This means that UV rays can cause them to cause free radical damage in live skin cells. The smaller the particle, or nanoparticle, the more the UV rays will cause this reaction, and the more opportunity it has to penetrate deep into the skin where their is live skin cells. The smaller the particle also, the less effective it is with UVA rays, the type of ray that is prevelant all year around, all day.
Titanium Dioxide is used in many foods to give a white fresh look including ice cream, toothpaste, and the ever popular M&M's candy. Nanoparticles in many ingredients are dangerous if inhaled as it is harder to remove from the lungs, making powder sunscreens more dangerous.