7.2.2 Definition & Short Description
Keywords: nano-emulsions, liposomes, niosomes, solid lipid nanoparticles, metal oxide nanoparticles, fullerenes, dendrimers, nanocapsules, cosmetics
For the purpose of this report, cosmetics covers different products applied to skin or hair.
The applications of nanotechnology and nanomaterials can be found in many cosmetic products including moisturisers, hair care products, make up and sunscreen.
Almost all the major cosmetic manufacturers use nanomaterials in their products. L'Oréal has a number of nanotechnology-related products in the market and ranks 6th in US in the number of nanotech related patents . The European Commission estimated in 2006, that 5 % of cosmetic products contained nanoparticles.
The application of nanomaterials in cosmetic products has been the subject of continuous discussion in the media, scientific circles and among policy makers for the past few years. Toxicity issues have been raised due to conflicting research papers about the safety of nanomaterials and lack of agreement between researchers on whether the nanomaterials are safe for dermal use. There are a number of classes of nanoparticles used, or proposed for use, in cosmetic applications.
In cosmetics there are currently two main uses for nanotechnology. The first of these is the use of nanoparticles as UV filters. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) are the main compounds used in these applications. Organic alternatives to these have also been developed.
The second use is nanotechnology for delivery. Liposomes and niosomes are used in the cosmetic industry as delivery vehicles. Newer structures such as solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) and nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) have been found to be better performers than liposomes. In particular, NLCs have been identified as a potential next generation cosmetic delivery agent that can provide enhanced skin hydration, bioavailability, stability of the agent and controlled occlusion. Encapsulation techniques have been proposed for carrying cosmetic actives. Nanocrystals and nanoemulsions are also being investigated for cosmetic applications. Patents have been filed for the application of dendrimers in the cosmetics industry.
Other novel materials, such as fullerene, have also appeared in a small number of beauty products.
This report looks into some of the nanotechnologies used in the cosmetic industry and provides an overview of current activity in this area.
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