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Special Delivery: Clay Nanotubes for Skin
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: February 29, 2008, from the March 2008 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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The first personal care-related application researched by the company involved fragrances in laundry detergent. “We filled nanotubes with fragrances for use in laundry detergent and were able to make the fragrance longer-lasting,” Fleischer explained, adding that the shape of the nanotube extended the life of the fragrance by controlling the fragrance’s release with two small holes on either end. Further, the nanotube containing the fragrance was encapsulated.
Preparing the nanotube for actual application begins by surface treating the nanotube. The treatment can involve a range of materials such as salts, depending on the application. Similarly, the material used to fill the nanotube depends on the application. For example, the nanotube could be filled with an active ingredient for skin care applications. If necessary, the nanotube is then encapsulated with a polymer and can be dispersed in oil or water to make a cosmetic.
Nanotubes in Personal Care
NaturalNano is in the early stages of applying nanotubes to personal care, according to Fleischer, who believes that applications in personal care will be similar to that of household care. The company initially filled nanotubes with glycerin followed by vitamin E to investigate each ingredient’s benefits for personal care in a nanotube application. “We have some patents related to putting vitamin E or glycerin into the nanotubes for a skin treatment,” said Fleischer. “We have worked on fragrance in household items but there are still many ideas yet to be researched.”
Other personal care applications could include antiaging skin care, sunscreen, hair care, nail polish and lipstick. In terms of hair care, nanotubes could incorporate vitamin E to impart shine over a long period of time with the tube controlling the shine ingredient’s release. The same would be true in an antiaging cream, where nanotubes could be filled with an active ingredient, allowing the cream to claim long-lasting effects.
According to Fleischer, formulating a product with a halloysite nanotube has two main advantages. First, the formulator can create the prized benefit of a product that lasts longer by housing the active ingredient or main ingredient in nanotubes. The second benefit, according to Fleischer, is cost. “When using nanotubes, you can use less of a material because the tubes are small and control the release of the ingredient,” explained Fleischer.