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Tapas Kumar Pal*, Oli Mondal


Nanotechnology entered the field of cosmetics and consumer health products nearly 40 years ago with moisturizing creams that used liposome, a vesicle of phospholipid layers with an aqueous core. Nanotechnology in cosmetics involves the design, fabrication and improvement of physical properties by application of nanomaterials. Different terms are used in describing nanotechnology and nanomaterials: nanoparticles, nanoscience, nanotubes, nanoemulsions, nanosomes the list goes on. In cosmetics, “Nanomaterial” means an insoluble or biopersistant and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, fabricated on nanoscale”. The global consumer market is dominated by wide range of nanomaterials, such as Carbon black (an intense cosmetic colorant) or synthetic amorphous silica (polymer filler in toothpaste or as anticoagulant in food powders) and a number of products such as UV-filters in sunscreens and anti-odour textiles. Nanomaterials in cosmetics include nanoemulsions, nanosomes and nanopigments commonly used in sunscreens, barrier skin creams and oral hygiene products. Nanotechnologically manufactured materials (so-called biocomposites) in toothpaste promote the natural tooth repair mechanism of saliva. In healthcare products, nanocapsules protect and transport active ingredients and enhance their effect. Nanoemulsions in cosmetics can increase the nutritious oil content of products such as high performance moisturisers, which may employ tiny pocket-like structures called nanosomes to help protect fragile ingredients from degrading. These nanoemulsions and nanosomes are soluble and break down upon application to the skin. However, nanotoxicological research expressed concern about the impact of manufacturing and use of nanomaterials on human health and environment with possible evidence of nanotoxicity. Bacteriostatic silver nanoparticles used in socks to reduce foot odour are being released in the wash water causes destruction of natural ecosystem. Therefore, nanomaterials require a health risk assessment, which should be performed on a case-by-case basis, using pertinent information. Europe has already passed new laws that will require most nano-ingredients in sunscreens, cosmetics to face new safety testing and mandatory labelling.

Keywords: anticoagulant, bacteriostatic, biocomposites, nanotubes, nanoemulsions, nanosomes, nanomaterials.

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