Nano ingredients Are Not Meant For Skincare And Here’s Why

Skincare Anarchy
3 min readFeb 13, 2024

Dr Ekta Y., MD MBA MS

“Nano zinc oxide or rather any nanoscale ingredient should not be in skincare formulations as we do not yet know their impact on the body. Everything that is considered a toxin is eventually carried to our liver which then accumulates in the form of crystals or does direct damage via inflammatory pathways to the hepatocytes. This is not about how a brand’s products feel, or the experience they provide, but rather about creating safety in the industry. I’ll take a white cast any day over something that can so readily seep into the blood stream and do unprecedented amounts of damage.”

Scientific Research on Nanoparticles in Skincare

A number of studies have delved into the implications of using nanoparticles, such as nano zinc oxide, in skincare formulations. For instance:

  1. Toxicological Profile of Nanoparticles in Skincare: A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health outlines the potential risks associated with nanoparticle use, highlighting the need for comprehensive toxicological assessments. This study points to the potential for nanoparticles to penetrate the skin and cause systemic exposure, which could lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, particularly in sensitive organs like the liver [1].

2. Nanoparticle Penetration and Impact: Research featured in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science has investigated the skin penetration abilities of nanoparticles, suggesting that while most nanoparticles are designed to remain on the surface of the skin or in the outer dead layer (stratum corneum), there’s ongoing research to ensure that these particles do not penetrate deeper skin layers or enter the bloodstream, posing risks to health [2].

3. Regulatory Perspectives on Nanoparticles: The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) provides guidelines and opinions on the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic products. These documents serve as a reference for formulating safety assessments and regulatory frameworks concerning the use of nanoparticles in cosmetics within the European Union, emphasizing the need for thorough safety evaluations [3].

Spotting Nano Ingredients in Skincare Products:

For consumers, identifying products that contain nanoparticles can be challenging due to labeling requirements and the technical nature of ingredient lists. However, here are some tips to help consumers spot nano ingredients:

  1. Look for Clues on Labels: In the EU, cosmetics that contain nanomaterials must list them in the ingredients, followed by the word ‘nano’ in brackets. For example, “Zinc Oxide (Nano).” Regulations in other regions may vary, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with local labeling laws.

2. Research Product Information: Many manufacturers provide detailed product information on their websites, including FAQs about the use of nanoparticles in their products. Consumers can also contact manufacturers directly to inquire about the presence of nanoscale ingredients.

3. Research Using Online Resources and Look for Product Certifications:

Several online databases and resources are available that compile detailed information on cosmetic ingredients, including those at the nanoscale. These databases allow users to search for specific products or ingredients to understand their uses and safety profiles better. Additionally, products that have been certified by recognized bodies for being natural or organic often have stringent criteria regarding the use of certain ingredients, including nanoparticles. Looking for such certifications on product packaging can be a helpful indicator of the product’s ingredient philosophy and safety standards.

While nanoparticles offer benefits in skincare formulations, it’s crucial to approach their use with caution, considering the potential health risks. Consumers should stay informed about the ingredients in their skincare products and seek out products that transparently disclose the use of nanoparticles. As research evolves, so too will our understanding of these materials, underscoring the importance of ongoing scientific inquiry and regulatory oversight to ensure consumer safety.


  1. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: “Toxicological Considerations of Nanoparticles in Cosmetics”
  2. 2. International Journal of Cosmetic Science: “Skin Penetration and Safety of Nanoparticles in Personal Care Products”
  3. 3. European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS): “Opinion on Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products”



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