View Full Version : Safety fears over nanocosmetics

11-05-08, 10:25 AM
Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Cosmetics containing tiny "nano" particles are being used widely despite unresolved issues surrounding their safety, a consumer watchdog warns.
Many skin care products, including sunscreens and wrinkle creams, contain this technology to make them easier to apply and invisible on the skin.
But experts are concerned about their possible long-term effects on the body, Which? reports.
Which? wants more safety checks and tighter regulation of their use.
It says, at the moment, consumers cannot tell which products use nanomaterials as many fail to mention it.

Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating atoms and molecules on the nanoscale - 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The cosmetics industry is using it to create new materials with novel properties.

On the flip-side, that might mean unexpected risks.
Which? wrote to 67 cosmetics companies, including all of the main brands as well as smaller ones, asking them about their use of nanotechnology, what benefits they thought it brought and how they ensured product safety.
Seventeen firms responded, and of these, eight were willing to provide information about how they used nanotechnology.
Most of the eight, which included The Body Shop, Boots, Nivea, Avon, L'Oréal, Unilever, Korres and The Green People, used nanotechnology for the UV filters in their sunscreens.
Which? also found evidence of other cosmetics companies offering nanocosmetics online.

Skin penetration
These products included nano emulsions - preparations containing oil and water droplets reduced to nano size - used to preserve active ingredients, such as vitamins and anti-oxidants, and for their lightness and transparency.
Another example was a type of nanomaterial called "fullerenes" used in anti-aging cream products.
Scientists have raised particular concerns about potential toxicity of fullerenes if they were able to penetrate the skin.
There is also a concern that the nanomaterials in sunscreens might be able to breach sunburned skin.
The Which? report says all nanocosmetic products should have an independent safety assessment.
The precautionary principle should be applied to products where there are potential risks but where it is not currently possible to assess their safety so that consumers are not put at risk, it says.
Sue Davies of Which? said: "We're not saying the use of nanotechnology in cosmetics is a bad thing, far from it. Many of its applications could lead to exciting and revolutionary developments in a wide range of products, but until all the necessary safety tests are carried out, the simple fact is we just don't know enough.
"The government must introduce a compulsory reporting scheme for manufactured nanomaterials so we are all aware - and only those that are independently assessed as safe should be allowed to be used in cosmetics."

In September 2006, the government launched a voluntary reporting scheme for all engineered nanomaterials to find out what was, or could be, on the market, to guide the development of regulations. This has had a limited response - 12 responses in two years - and is now under review.
A spokeswoman for the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association said: "The industry is working with government to provide more information on the safety of these products.
"The safety assessment of cosmetic products is a legal requirement and that assessment is robust and takes into consideration the particle size of ingredients."
Professor Dame Ann Dowling, chairman of the Royal Society working group on nanotechnologies, said: "The Royal Society has been calling, for the last four years, for companies to make public the safety testing methods they have been using on their nanoproducts. We are disappointed at continuing lack of transparency in this area.
"More research does need to be done on the effects of manufactured nanoparticles on human health and the environment. This is important so that regulation can be built on a proper understanding of any risks."
A European Commission spokeswoman said: "We are working towards improving our ability to assess the safety of all consumer products using nanomaterials including cosmetics.
"The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identifed Health Risks (SCENIHR) is currently preparing an update of its 2006 opinion on the risk assessment of products of nanotechnologies. This update will be available in January 2009."
Boots said it did not consider its current use of materials was of concern to health.
The Body Shop said its products helped to protect human skin.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7706818.stm

11-05-08, 03:32 PM
I wish I could find a quick and simple recipe for making my own moisturiser using easily accessable and reasonably priced ingredients. Moisturiser I need, all other cosmetics I avoid because I am distrusting of the ingredients in them. My husband makes the soap that we use which I also use to wash my hair.

11-16-08, 06:07 PM
Aaltrude, I'd suggest this company:

I know the girl who owns it - Brie - and she's lovely. She's only 21, and started the company about a year ago (she's still full-time at uni doing chemistry and biology). It's all good quality, eco-friendly, and certified cruelty-free, they donate to a few charities, mostly organic, mostly natural but always safe (no parabens or sulfates or petrochems or whatever).

She can make things to order based on your needs, like if you need a super-duper moisturiser that also washes your dishes and cleans your floors but doesn't have ____ in it then she'll make one up for you [not quite, but you get my drift...]. You can also ask her about ingredients and she can leave them out or recommend things for you too - she's like my ingredients guru. It's all made from scratch by her as well.

She also does classes in making your own skincare/cosmetics without chemicals, but it's Christchurch-based so might be a bit tricky from the Nth Island.

Might be worth a shot to save you the effort?

ozy ness
11-19-08, 01:09 AM
I have to mention the Miessence products.....

These are created by a lovely lovely lady named Narelle....she started making the miessence products in her kitchen 10 years ago and they also are all food based.....certified organic to food standards internationally - ACO (Australian), IFOAM (European) and USDA (US)....

Narelles products are herbal remedies and all the ingredients are cold pressed, certified, toxin free, synthetic chemical free you name it. The ingredients are all tested independently before being made and then tested after manufacture by independent companies to ensure there is zero contamination. All containers are now pressurised so there is no contamination from air getting into the products.......plus the containers are non-leeching, recyclable and made with low emissions so not impacting on the earth.

Aaltrude you might be interested in our Reflect Skin Balm - its amazing and is moisturising as well - so you've got a sunscreen and moisuturiser in one. Its labelled SPF 15 but is actually SPF 29 (the red tape and money needed to get SPF 30 were ridiculous, and Narelle tows no-ones line). It doesnt have any titanium dioxide in it, no nanoparticles either.

I am not joking when I say a little goes a long way - a thumb nail size amount will do the whole face and neck and just a little more for arms....a container will last at least 6 months which is the expiry date on it after opening.

My hubby was out in the sun for work the other day for 6 hours and only applied it once and did not get burnt. I have a container for each member of my family and it goes with them to school, work and childcare!

Here is the link if you are interested, product description and also the ingredients:


A water-free nourishing balm with natural minerals that help reflect damaging ultraviolet radiation. Microfine zinc oxide offers protection from harmful rays whilst organic olive oil keeps the skin supple. Potent antioxidants including natural vitamin E, beta carotene and polygonum extract, protect the skin from premature aging and prevent damage caused by the elements.

certified organic olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, zinc oxide, capric triglyceride, certified organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) fruit butter, certified organic unrefined cera alba (beeswax), avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, mixed tocopherols, certified organic copernicia prunifera (carnauba) wax, aroma (proprietary blend of essential oils), certified organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, dunaliella salina algae extract.

:) Same goes for all her products - no nanoparticles, all beneficial and all generally have several different applications besides the "labelled" usage eg our Protect B5 Hair Repair is the best thing for spraying on Sunburn (not that you'd be burnt with Reflect ;) )