Scientists have formulated a sunblock based on nanoparticles that remain on the surface of the skin.
Although a sunblock protects a person from sunburn and skin cancer, the safety of commercially available sunblock products has been a concern due to the possibility of chemical ingredients being absorbed through the skin and causing health problems.
A group of researchers from Yale University have produced a safer sunblock based on a technology using nanoparticles, which are microscopic materials measuring a mere one-billionth of a meter. These were used to encapsulate ultraviolet (UV) filters to formulate a water-based sunblock that effectively adheres to the skin without accumulating in hair follicles or penetrating the skin.
In animal experiments, the nanoparticle-based sunblock proved to be as effective in preventing skin damage from UV rays compared to commercial sunblock products. This sunblock can easily be removed by wiping with a towel or through natural exfoliation of the outer skin layer. The formulation is stable at human body temperature and in the presence of sweat. Moreover, the study showed that the nanoparticle-based sunblock is safe and non-toxic, with no adverse effects observed after repeated skin application.
By using nanotechnology, this study produced a safe and effective sunblock that not only protects the skin from UV damage but also prevents absorption of potentially hazardous sunblock chemical ingredients into the body.
Deng Y, Ediriwickrema A, Yan F, Lewis J, Girardi M, Saltzman WM. A sunblock based on bioadhesive nanoparticles. Nature Materials. Published online 28 September 2015; doi:10.1038/NMAT4422
Written by Ana Victoria Pilar, PhD