My watch list  

Making a common cosmetic and sunblock ingredient safer


Using a particular type of titanium dioxide — a common ingredient in cosmetics, food products, toothpaste and sunscreen — could reduce the potential health risks associated with the widely used compound. The report on the substance, produced by the millions of tons every year for the global market, appears in the ACS journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Francesco Turci and colleagues explain that titanium dioxide (TiO2) is generally considered a safe ingredient in commercially available skin products because it doesn't penetrate healthy skin. But there's a catch. Research has shown that TiO2 can cause potentially toxic effects when exposed to ultraviolet light, which is in the sun's rays and is the same kind of light that the compound is supposed to offer protection against. To design a safer TiO2 for human use, the researchers set out to test different forms of the compound, each with its own architecture.

They tested titanium dioxide powders on pig skin (which often substitutes for human skin in these kinds of tests) with indoor lighting, which has very little ultraviolet light in it. They discovered that one of the two most commonly used crystalline forms of TiO2, called rutile, easily washes off and has little effect on skin. Anatase, the other commonly used form, however, was difficult to wash off and damaged the outermost layer of skin — even in low ultraviolet light. It appears to do so via "free radicals," which are associated with skin aging. "The present findings strongly encourage the use of the less reactive, negatively charged rutile to produce safer TiO2-based cosmetic and pharmaceutical products," the researchers conclude.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • anatase
  • skin aging
  • rutile
More about American Chemical Society
  • News

    Shining a light on damage within polymers

    When it comes to even the most advanced materials, the adage "if it does not bend, it breaks" is often true. But before that final snap, most materials experience microscopic damage that could be fixed -- but only if you know it's there. In a study researchers introduce a new technique that ... more

    Making nail polish while powering fuel cells

    Hydrogen is widely regarded as a promising and clean alternative energy source. The traditional source of hydrogen (H2) for fuel cell use is water, which is split into H2 and oxygen (O2). But O2 is a low-value product. So, this week in ACS Central Science, researchers report a new approach ... more

    Using espresso machines to do chemistry

    Many chemists are familiar with taking trips to the espresso machine while running late-night experiments, but until now these excursions were merely undertaken for the caffeine boost. A group recently reported however, that espresso machines can quickly and inexpensively perform some compl ... more

  • Videos

    How to Keep Your Phone Battery Charged Longer

    The new iPhone is slimmer and faster than ever. But like most new generations of smartphones, its battery has pretty much stayed the same over the years. Short of carrying an external battery all the time, is there any way to extend the life of your smartphone battery? In the latest Reactio ... more

    Accidental Discoveries That Go Boom

    Chemistry usually involves precise measurements and careful testing in order to get significant results. But a bunch of notable discoveries happened by accident. In the second edition of our accidental discoveries series, get to know the stories of how TNT, dynamite and even air bags were d ... more

    Speakers get groovy with graphene

    Even today’s smallest portable speakers come in some kind of rigid acoustic cavity – that is, in a box. But now, Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology report a simple way to fabricate these once-elusive thermoacoustic speakers using graphene. more

  • Events
    22-08 – 26-08
    Boston, US

    262nd ACS National Meeting & Exposition

    The American Chemical Society conference 262nd ACS National Meeting & Exposition will take place in Boston, US from 2021-08-22 to 2021-08-26. more

    21-03 – 25-03
    San Antonio, US

    261st ACS National Meeting & Exposition

    The American Chemical Society conference 261st ACS National Meeting & Exposition will take place in San Antonio, US from 2021-03-21 to 2021-03-25. more

    23-08 – 27-08
    San Francisco, US

    260th ACS National Meeting & Exposition

    The American Chemical Society conference 260th ACS National Meeting & Exposition will take place in San Francisco, US from 2020-08-23 to 2020-08-27. more

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE