I began this blog on nanotechnology to find how nano molecules are produced, stabilized and utilized in the cosmetics industry. As in everything in life, the journey of discovery often leads us to profoundly new knowledge beyond our own imagination.
Nanotechnology, just like many other breakthrough technology bring with it some pros and cons.
Nanotechnology (nano: One billionth) is a novel arena with promising applications in the field of medicine, especially pharmaceuticals for safe and targeted drug delivery. Its particles 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair can help deliver high efficacy ingredients for medicinal reasons and anti aging skin care.
However, the size of nanoparticles is their greatest asset and their greatest health risk. They are so small they can infiltrate the lungs and intestinal walls, giving the toxins free access to the body. As your skincare paparazzi, it is our responsibility to ensure our skincare recommendations have been safely used and tested by many.
So far, nano technology is widely used in sunscreen as it helps to make titanium dioxide and zinc oxide look transparent (not white opaque) and optimize its UVA/UVB protection. Next most used is Hyaluronic acid (HA), a ‘biologically green’ multifunctional polysaccharide that has been used as/with drug delivery vehicles for molecular imaging, drug delivery, tissue repair and regeneration. Silver nanoparticles, which have antibacterial activity, are also being incorporated into toothpastes and shampoos as preservatives.
Another of its usage is in delivering Retinoids, which are derivatives of Vitamin A shown to improve the appearance of skin, are sensitive to and made less efficient by sunlight. In an article in the medical journal Skin Therapy Letter, Dr. Adnan proposes that nanotechnology may increase the stability of retinoids and allow the compounds to better reach the lower layers of the skin. Additionally, Dr. Adnan speculates that nanoparticles may one day deliver materials that currently require injection such as botulism toxin, more commonly known as BOTOX, without needles.
But, it is critical to test the safety of nanoparticles throughout their various applications because nanoparticles have the potential to be more reactive than their larger counterparts. One of the largest fears is that nanoparticles could penetrate below the skin and accumulate in other tissues or organs and induce toxicity.
Whilst many manufacturers may claim that nanotechnology can help deliver the active ingredients for anti-aging skincare, we would love to suggest that we ‘go big’ on more traditional skincare and thread cautiously on the much hyped nano technology enabled products.
Hope you found this blog useful as part of the series of Skin Care Singapore.