Titanium dioxide in cosmetics - safe or not?

Until now, at INDISHA we have banned products with titanium dioxide as an important - sun protective - component. Why? Because, according to a number of sources, this can cause a harmful photocatalysis reaction in the sun. Which releases carcinogenic substances. But why is it still in pure. organic cosmetics products Titanium Dioxide used? And do I not get an adequate answer from these brands whether this is safe or not? A good reason to dive into the subject again.

Why Titanium Dioxide in Cosmetics?
Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are both natural minerals that provide sun protection against both UVA and UVB radiation in higher doses. Because the oxides absorb the UV radiation from the sun bounce back , preventing it from entering your body. As skin cancers are on the rise, more people are aware of what they are 'smearing'. And ask for cosmetics products that offer protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.

Synthetic filters 'absorb' UV radiation. They often do not protect or protect less effectively against both UVA and UVB. And its not really safe for your health. Many can cause skin irritation or a hypersensitivity reaction. And also enter your skin. Some are even carcinogenic, according to studies! Reasons why titanium dioxide is increasingly added to cosmetic products.

Disadvantage Titanium Dioxide - a white haze
However, the disadvantage of both Titanium and Zinc Oxide is the 'white cast' that the products can give. Titanium Dioxide somewhat less than Zinc Oxide. That is why producers are increasingly using ultra-fine nano particles (ND). Possibly coated (adhered) to another ingredient. They do not give a white cast.

A nanoparticle is 1-100 nanometers. 1 nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter. So mega small! Scientists do not yet agree on the (long-term) health effect of nanoparticles in cosmetics. It is certain that the small particles can be harmful to your lungs if you inhale them. Due to the great uncertainty about potential harmful consequences for us, but also for the environment and, for example, animals that live in the sea, European organic quality marks are not allowed to use nanoparticles in cosmetics.

Conclusion scientific studies

  • Titanium Dioxide in 'bulk' form is safe to use. The smaller the particles, the greater the chance of a (harmful) photocatalysis reaction. Nanoparticles give this reaction. The extent to which microparticles also do this is not entirely clear from the studies I have read.
  • Moreover, nanoparticles penetrate the skin - which larger particles do not do - so that the harmful photocatalysis reaction can also take place in deeper skin layers.
  • One solution is to coat (couple) nanoparticles with, for example, silicon, aluminum or silicone particles. However, research shows that a photocatalysis reaction still takes place. Albeit to a lesser extent. Silicon inhibits the catalysis reaction the most.
  • In my opinion, coated particles are ultimately harmful to fish and other marine life. When the coated particles detach, the individual nanoparticles are released into the water. And so in marine animals. Research also indicates this.

Is Titanium Dioxide In Cosmetics Safe Or Not?

  • As long as it is used as 'bulk' particles, titanium dioxide in cosmetics seems safe. Nanoparticles are not safe.
  • In Europe, it must be explicitly stated on the packaging if a product contains nanoparticles. Even if they are coated.
  • Products with a (European) eco quality mark may not contain nanoparticles. So are basically safe if it contains Titanium Dioxide. Although it does not hurt to check how small (micro) the particles are. Since it is unclear whether or not microparticles can be harmful.

Links to studies
Do you want to read more yourself? Here are some links to research & sites I've studied: