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Nanoparticles used in cosmetics and sunscreens pose no human health risk, and even help improve health by protecting consumers against skin cancer, according to a recent report. In a review of the available toxicity data on nanoparticles used in cosmetics and sunscreens, scientists at L'Oreal in collaboration with researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, have concluded that they do not pose a health hazard.
This conclusion is in contrast to a number of recent campaigns arguing that nanoparticles may have as yet undocumented effects on human health and should be avoided.
Published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, the report investigates the penetration of nanoparticles such as TiO2 and ZnO into the deeper skin layers-the epidermis and dermis. It also looked into their potential for toxicity. The study concludes that the benefit provided in terms of UV protection greatly outweighs any 'unproven and hypothetical risks'.
Skin penetration of nanoparticles
The results of a number of skin penetration studies on titanium dioxide TiO2, a popular sunscreen agent whose efficacy is dependent on a particle size of 60-120nm, suggest that micro- and nano-sized particles remain on the skin surface and do not penetrate into the living skin layers, according to the report.