Nanotechnology could just become the next buzzword in the beauty industry. Although it's been around for centuries, it's relatively new to cosmetics and skin care. So, what is it? Nanotechnology has to do with forming, controlling and manipulating small particles which cannot be directly handled. For cosmetics and skin care products, companies can now change the way ingredients behave. And these companies are hoping to use nanotechnology to get ingredients deeper into the skin. The thought process is ... the deeper materials can travel, the more skin layers they encounter and the more available they can be to more skin in less time. When products penetrate deeper into the skin layers, they work better.

You will hear companies talk about using nanotechnology to break down an active ingredient into nanoparticals. Or, using nanosomes (nanometer-sized liposomes) in an attempt to allow vitamins and other materials to be absorbed more effectively and efficiently by the skin. Some sunscreens use nanoparticles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, such as Innovative Skincare's Suncare SPF 20 Moisturizing Treatment Sunscreen. (On a side note: Innovative Skincare is also known as IS Clinical - one of my favorite lines, based on science.) The first and only nanosized hyaluronic acid topical product is DermAvance's Hyalogy.

Want proof? It's actually quite difficult to find studies that show nano-engineered products as more effective than regular ones. The reason? Publishing results of scientific tests requires full disclosure of the method by which the formula being tested was produced. As you can imagine, companies are not eager to sign up. And, unfortunately, that means we just don't have easily available proof that nano-engineered cosmetics and skin care products work well. The concept of using nanotechnology in the beauty industry sounds really good. However, experts have raised the question whether these substances remaining in the skin can age it prematurely. The FDA does not have any evidence that ingredients manufactured this way pose a safety risk.

Food for thought:
As reported in Science Daily just the other day
There are 356 products in the health and fitness category that contain nanotechnology -- the inventory's largest category -- and 66 products in the food and beverage category of the list prepared by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.
Did you know that a nanometer is 100,000 times thinner than a strand of hair? Currently, researchers in Berkley are working to uncover the potential of nanoscience to battle global warming and disease.

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