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The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) has released a scientific white paper detailing the science behind the benefits of nanotechnology in personal care products, including cosmetics and certain over-the-counter (OTC) drug products, specifically sunscreens. According to the CTFA, the report, available at www.ctfa.org, discusses advantages of nanomaterials, the regulatory evaluation of personal care products using nanotechnology, particular properties of nanoparticles, the potential for dermal absorption of nanoparticles used in topical lotions or creams, and the general scientific consensus and toxicology conclusions about the use of nanotech in personal care products.
The report addresses the issue of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide used in nanoparticle form in sunscreens. "This report directly addresses the science behind the use of nanoparticles in personal care products," said John Bailey, Ph.D., executive vice president of science at CTFA, in a press statement. "The science strongly indicates that nanoparticles applied topically to the skin in lotions or creams are safe and provide clear benefits to consumers."
Sunscreens, some of which utilize sun-protecting nanoparticles that help prevent skin cancer, are required to go through an extensive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review and approval process to demonstrate they are safe and effective. The nanoparticles in sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are established, efficacious sunscreen filters that have been on the market for decades. In 1996, the FDA reportedly concluded that smaller, micronized particles of titanium dioxide are not new substances and that there is no evidence demonstrating that these micronized particles are unsafe.
Nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, unlike the larger particle size ingredients, form a transparent rather than a thick, white coating, which leads to greater consumer acceptance and use of the products, and therefore greater protection from skin cancer and other damaging effects of the sun. The nano-size of the particles also claime to enable them to better reflect and/or scatter certain harmful UV rays.
"The nanoparticles used in sunscreens provide important and unique sun-protection benefits, helping reduce the risk of skin cancer," Bailey said in the report. "These sunscreen ingredients have been used safely for many years and have been evaluated and approved by the FDA and independent scientists. They are transparent and aesthetically pleasing and therefore encourage greater consumer use."