Avoid nano-based beauty products

Nano sunblock

Just the other day I was looking at a sunblock with interest because the name contains the word nano.  I was actually quite keen to get it but thank goodness I didn’t, especially now that I’ve read why we should avoid nano-sunscreens from Friends of the Earth.   

Some manufacturers are adding nanoparticles-incredibly small particles of otherwise familiar sunscreen ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide-to products without letting customers know that they’re buying nano ingredients.

Manufactured nanoparticles present novel health and environmental risks that cannot be predicted from conventional materials. First, nanoparticles have unprecedented access to the human body. Unlike larger particles, once in the blood stream, nanoparticles have the ability to enter vital organs including the brain, heart, and liver, where they may disrupt normal cell activity. When ingested, some nanomaterials may pass through the gut wall and circulate through our blood.

Nanotechnology, as you may know, is a new science involving the manipulation of materials at the scale of atoms and molecules.  Increasingly, it is being included in our beauty and personal care products to either promote better absorption or a less oily mixture when they’re broken down into nanoparticles.  And what is scary is that some of these companies do not reveal that they’re using such nano ingredients at all. 

So for the time being, I would say, avoid products that are being marketed as nano-engineered.  While the investigations are not conclusive at this stage that nanoparticles pose health hazards,  we do not want to expose ourselves to greater risks by smearing potentially harmful and untested ingredients (already there are so many)  all over our bodies especially if these ingredients have the ability to go IN our bodies!

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  1. says

    I never even heard of the existence of nanoparticles until I read this info. I have no idea such a small tiny weeny nano particles can do so much harm and present in our everyday cosmetic.
    Thanks for the info!

    Lily: At the moment, the studies are not conclusive about the harm, but it’s definitely a hazard considering how such particles can easily penetrate into our organs and blood stream.

  2. says

    uh..thanks for the info. I bought a bottle of nano white cleansing milk. I guess, it’s time to leave it aside.

    prettybeautiful: Well, it’s not definitive that it’s harmful at this stage…but there’s a potential. So better play it safe…

  3. says

    You have the most interesting and useful information on your blog! Do you have an education in skincare? Keep up the good work!

    emmy: Thanks for the comment! Ha…no…I just have a curious mind about these things and a passion to find out too.

  4. Judy says

    Thanks for the important information. I am currently using the cleanser, it’s in powder form and I believe the manufacturer is using nano technology. Do you think it’s safe? The cleanser works very well on my acne prone skin. What I do is that I mix the little amount of powder with water and rub it until it creates foam and wash onto my face. I am guessing it should be safe, since I make foam before I apply onto my face.

    Judy: It’s a bit hard to say for sure now as the study on the safety of products using nano technology isn’t conclusive. It also depends on your safety threshold…

  5. Chemistry guy says

    The nanoparticles being used in sunscreens include Zinc oxide and Titanium Oxide – both extremely good at blocking UV. Despite early warnings, recent studies (2010) indicate that Zinc nanoparticles are no more toxic than existing organic chemical UV blockers in sunscreens and Titanium nanoparticles are actually much safer! So the latter may prove to be a better ingredient for sunscreens from both a health, and a green manufacturing point of view.

    We should be cautious about new applications for nanoparticles, and in some cases concerns over toxicity are quite justified. It does seem however, that in this case they may be quite beneficial, so it would be a shame to see safer, greener sunscreens kept off the shelf as a result of the perception that “nanoparticles are bad”.

  6. Judy says

    Wish I read this last year. I started using a fabulous face and neck cream with nanos that I bought on HSN. Used it for about 10 days. Next thing I know I came down with inflammatory arthritis. Joint in my hands and feet locked up. Very painful. Checked for RA, blood tested negative. Maybe coincidence?
    I stopped using the cream and everything else. With time and medication, the symptoms subsided. I picked up the cream 6 month later and rubbed a small bit on the back of my hand. Next day, a major flare up with the same symptoms. Cleary it triggered a major immune reaction in me. My health has not been the same since. Maybe anecdotal but beware.

    • sesame says

      So serious? Oh dear…and we have been kind of dismissing anything amiss with nano ingredients since the research have been inconclusive.

    • sesame says

      Don’t worry unduly because the studies are not conclusive. If you are healthy, then it should not be a major concern. But of course, there are many other choices without using nano particles that you can pick from.


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