The Secret Life of Sunscreens - Nanoo Nano

Our Guest Blogger, Sarah Olson, originally from Chicago, is back in the States after a two-year stint in Japan and Asia. She is constantly seeking out ways to make the world more beautiful, and has a vested interested in discovering methods to enhance the feminine mystique.She wanted to share her finds with the readers of

Here's her article:

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With so many scientific advances happening left and right, it can be hard to stay on top of the latest big thing. Or the tiniest, in this case. ”What exactly is nanotechnology?” you might ask. Well, it’s a branch of science dealing with particles that are 1-100 nanometers in size, particles that are tinier than anything humans have ever really dealt with before, particularly in cosmetics. These little bad boys are highly controversial, with researchers standing divided as to whether they are a boon or bane to humans’ health.

There are already over 300 products on the market that utilize nanotechnology, including over seventy-seven cosmetics and 27 sunscreens. Many cosmetic companies are now incorporating nanotechnology into their formulas to increase their potency, declaring it the latest weapon in the battle against aging. However, on the other side, there is much debate about the stability of these ultra-tiny particles, and what the effects might be if they are absorbed into the deeper layers of the epidermis, or eventually into the bloodstream.

It is hypothesized that DNA breakdown may also be a result of titanium nanoparticles’ exposure to UV light, which poses an obvious risk in including them in sunscreen products. However, according to a recent study published in Chemical Communications, scientists of Stony Brook University in New York have found that coating these nanoparticles in a polymer of grape seed extract molecules may help protect against potentially hazardous reactivity resulting from UV exposure. As it stands, there is no hard evidence that titanium nanoparticles in sunscreens can go so far as to penetrate the skin or the nuclear membrane. And even if they did, it is unclear whether the UV light would be able to reach them and result in the catalyzed reactive species of molecules.

As it stands, the FDA has no compulsory labeling of products that include nanoparticles, stating that there is no clear evidence indicating that products which contain these substances pose any health concerns. In contrast, the UK’s Royal Society has expressed concern over the lack of research in the area safety. They purport that these man-made nanoparticles are new substances and as such, should undergo rigorous safety tests before being launched into the commercial arena.

If you’re interested in knowing just what has been reported as the most efficacious sunscreens across a number of different criteria, Cosmetic Design has useful database .

Sources: ChetDay and WiseGeek

Sarah Olson
Guest Blogger