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Small Particles, Big Business: Nanotechnology for Personal Care

July 14, 2010 Comments

Consumers love their youth, and the personal care industry is continually answering consumers’ pleas for new products that keep them looking young. Beauty manufacturers’ answers are getting “smaller”, well the particles are. Small particles are becoming big business as the use of nanotechnology in wrinkle-vanishing creams, shampoos that deliver vitamins into the cellular structure of a hair, and sunscreens that penetrate the skin to block UV rays are introduced into the marketplace, according to an analysis published by IP Solutions called, “Can Nanotech Unlock the Fountain of Youth?”

Nanotechnology—though still evolving is many sectors, including the cosmetic field—is broadly defined as the development of microscopic materials or devices that are 100 nanometers or smaller in size. In the beauty and personal care industry, nanotechnology allows creams to penetrate deeper into the skin, improves strength and durability of products, and delivers a smoother, less greasy application.

According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, almost $9 billion is spent annually on global R&D investments, and FDA was given a $15 million budget to develop new regulatory science to address the growth of nanotechnology in medical products and cosmetics. EPA is also jumping in, identifying five nanomaterial types that are commonly used in consumer products, or could potentially be used in products, for further study; and Europe is hosting summer workshops on nanotechnology benefits. Currently, more than 1,000 products globally claim to utilize a nanomaterial as a key ingredient, and the industry is expected to continue growing.

James Canton of the Institute for Global Futures, a San Francisco-based think-tank that predicts trends, said: “Nanotech is part of a much larger transformation in markets, business and science that is changing our world. Nanotech is one of the key design tools that will be used to create the largest industry in the 21st century: Health Enhancement. As humans yearn to improve themselves, they will be attracted to solutions in nanotech that will give them an edge.”

The analysis reported the use of nanotechnology in personal care products are showing up in three main forms: raw materials, intermediates and products. However, there is so much to be learned, analyzed and researchers in regards to nanotechnology, and additional breakthrough technologies are being developed according to IP Solutions.



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