Nanotechnologies are already in use in the cosmetics industry. Nonetheless, nanotechnology will become the next new thing in beauty products and skincare. So says Adnan Nasir, MD, PhD, clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, who recently gave a talk at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology about the capacity of nanotech to improve cosmetic products in the future.
From an American Academy of Dermatology:
Dr. Nasir explained that when certain ingredients are included in micrometer-sized particles, which are considerably larger than nanosized particles, the result is a product than can be cosmetically unappealing.
For example, one common ingredient in broad-spectrum sunscreens, which protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, is avobenzone, which can make a sunscreen greasy and very noticeable when applied to the skin. Since titanium, another common sunscreen ingredient, requires an oily mixture to dissolve, a white residue can be apparent on the skin upon application. However, when these active ingredients in sunscreens are converted into nanoparticles, they can be suspended in less greasy formulations – which seem to vanish on the skin and do not leave a residue – while retaining their ability to block UVA and UVB light.
“While widespread use of this technology is currently under evaluation, I think one of the main benefits of nanoparticles used in sunscreens will be that the particles can fit into all the nooks and crannies of the skin, packing more protection and more even coverage on the skin’s surface than microsized particles,” said Dr. Nasir. “Since sunscreen formulations using nanoparticles may be more cosmetically appealing and seem to vanish when applied, consumers may be more inclined to use them on a regular basis.”
Nanotechnology also is generating excitement for its potential use in anti-aging products. When properly engineered, nanomaterials may be able to topically deliver retinoids, antioxidants and drugs such as botulinum toxin or growth factors for rejuvenation of the skin in the future.
In anti-aging products, Dr. Nasir added that nanotechnology may allow active ingredients that would not normally penetrate the skin to be delivered to it. For example, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight age-related skin damage which works best below the top layer of skin. In bulk form, vitamin C is not very stable and is difficult to penetrate the skin. However, in future formulations, nanotechnology may increase the stability of vitamin C and enhance its ability to penetrate the skin.