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Nanotechnology: A Prodigious Revolution in the Cosmetics Industry

Updated on July 13, 2017

Nanotechnology is the engineering of particles at Nano scale, to utilize them in some prospective and useful manners. It is the application of Nano-particles in submerging fields of chemistry, biology and other life sciences to create such models and templates that enhance the work in medicine, agriculture, cosmetics, printing, chemical catalysis and many other fields. The cosmetic industry is one of the most eager fields to make the best use of Nanotechnology and its applications, that have unique properties due to the small size and can’t be obtained while working with the bulk material. Most of the high-quality manufacturers have high range of “Nano-enhanced” products to fulfill the beauty enhancing demands of the fashion and trend.

The demand of Nano-enhanced products is highly increasing since 2008 and these particles are constantly being used in the cosmetic industry as drug delivery agents or UV light filters. So, Nanomaterials have been used to for improving the performance of a wide variety of products, from moisturizer and anti-ageing creams to hair care and whitening creams.

Cosmeceutical is one of the fastest growing region of the personal care industry, and a number of treatments for different conditions including photoaging, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and hair damage have been evolved. Thus, the use of new technology to manipulate matter at an atomic or molecular level is getting advanced since 2008 and is the root of a number of innovations, opening new perspectives in the cosmetic industry.

Nanotechnology-based cosmetic products provide diversity, increased range of bioavailability and appeal of products with prolonged effects.

Benefits of Nanomaterials in Cosmetics

Two of the main reasons due to which nanoparticles are used in cosmetic products are UV filtering and delivery of active ingredients. Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide are extensively being used in different sunscreens to prevent UV damage. The Nano-transformation has led to better performance than large materials, as they reflect the visible light and absorb UV light with efficiency.

A number of Nano-formations are manufactured as delivery mechanisms for using in moisturizers, skin care products and many anti-ageing creams. Lipid particles are effective due to their merging properties in cell membrane, thus facilitate the entry of compounds into the cells that would otherwise be difficult.

Different survey reports show that all the high ranking cosmetic companies use nanotechnology in their products. Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder started using nanoparticles in 2006 and L’Oréal, the world’s most successful cosmetic brand contributed about $600-million dollars of its $17 billion-dollar revenues to nanoparticles and Nano-patents. It lies on the 6th position being one of the greatest nanotech patent holder in U.S. Other cosmetic companies include Freeze 24/7, DDF (Doctor's Dermatologic Formula), and Color eScience.

Types of nanomaterials used in Cosmetics

1. Nanocrystals

These crystals are the particles that are composed of thousands of atoms combined to form a cluster. The size of these crystals ranges from 10-400nm and usually exhibit chemical and physical properties of the bulk solids. They are used for the active passage and safe transfer through the skin.

2. Nano silver and Nano Gold

Nano-sized gold has effective anti-bacterial activity leading to its use in cosmetic industry. The manufacturers are taking advantage of these anti-bacterial properties and bringing their applications in the industry. The silver used in certain underarm deodorants provides 24-hour protection against bacteria, while it is supposed that the Nano-sized gold used in toothpaste is highly effective against mouth bacteria and germs.

3. Cubosomes

These are the bi-continuous liquid crystalline Nanoparticles formed by assembly of certain liquid crystals i.e. surfactants which when mixed with water become a microstructure of a definite ratio. These particles are resistant to heat shock and are effective in transferring hydrophilic as well as hydrophobic molecules across the skin. The low cost of the raw material and multifunctionality of cubosomes makes them highly attractive and preferable choice for cosmetic manufacturers.

4. Hydrogels

These are the networks of hydrophilic polymer that swells in biological fluids or water in a 3D manner, keeping the skin safe from damage or injury and providing physical cross-links. Thus, these particles are used in anti-aging creams to predict future changes and function accordingly.

5. Bucky balls

Buckminster fullerene, C60, is one of the most attractive and expensive nanomaterial ranging 1nm in size and is used in face creams. The use of these particles is to capitalize on its capacity to behave as a potent scavenger of free radicals in facial creams. It is not widely used but in expensive creams due to its high rate and quality.

6. Liposomes

Liposomes are composed of GRAS phospholipids, as they are vesicles that contain aqueous layer enclosed within lipid bilayer of phospholipids. The lipid bilayer gets fused with the cell membrane, enhancing its property of drug delivery and making liposomes essential particles of cosmetic industry. The enhanced ability of active absorption of cosmetic over skin & ease of preparation make them suitable to be used in cosmetic production. Some related forms of Liposomes I.e. niosomes, transferosomes and ethosomes are also recently being used for deep penetration and active delivery of products in the skin.

7. Solid lipid nanoparticles

These are usually oil droplets of lipids, being solid at room temperature they have stabilizing and surfactant properties. Such nanoparticles are used for the protection against degradation of encapsulated products, controlled and active delivery of cosmetic agents and better penetration for long period of time. Different in vivo studies show that SLN-containing products are more effective in skin hydration than placebo. These particles are used in sunscreens to apply their UV-resistant ability in cosmetic production.

Years of scientific struggle in testing and experimenting Nanoparticles in different In-vivo conditions has led to a number of applications in life science fields and cosmetics. Following testing has been performed over nanoparticles in order to use them in cosmetic industry free of danger and side effects.

As much as the size of a particle is decreased, its surface area and hence the properties increase resulting in highly reactive product. Nanomaterials are highly effective due to large surface area-to-mass ratio when in contact with the skin. This property has provided cosmetics a new level of demand in the industry. The applications of nanotechnology are found in a large number of cosmetic products including hair conditioners, facial creams, make up, sun screens and hair products.

Before Hair treatment
Before Hair treatment
After hair treatment
After hair treatment

The following table shows the famous and highly ranked companies that use nanomaterials in the cosmetic products and the resulting qualities produced.

Despite of traditional cosmetic products, a new trend of cosmeceutical products has started hitting the cosmetic industry based on Nanotechnology. TNS nanotechnology has introduced antimicrobial particles that resist bacteria causing acne. Such particle is also being incorporated into fabrics to stay in direct contact with skin. Fabrics containing TNS include cushions, face towels, pillowcases and others.

With the advancement in technology and its continuing flow of applications in cosmetic industry, the cosmetic products will be more safe and effective. Today, all the top-ranking companies are investing millions of dollars for new projects to improve and enhance their products. On the other hand, safe and reliable use of Nanotechnology is being improved by testing and experimenting in order to get full benefit of this scientific approach.

Authors

1. Miss Safa Khalid

BS (hons) Bioinformatics

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

2. Mr. Muhammad Rizwan

MS Management Agribusiness

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan

3. Mr. Aamir Khalid

BS (hons) Information Technology

Virtual University, Pakistan

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