The Nanodermatology Society (NDS), a physician-led organization dedicated to the scientific and medical aspects of nanotechnology and dermatology, released its first position statement on the safety of nanotechnology in sunscreens.
For years, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have been used as effective broad-spectrum ingredients in sunscreens. Nanotechnology, the science of materials that are 1 billionth of a meter, has led to newer sunscreens formulated with nanoparticulate titanium and zinc. These sunscreens create elegant and effective barriers to UVA and UVB light. However, concerns about the risks of nanotechnology have brought the safety of these newer sunscreens into question.
To address concerns, the NDS has conducted a rigorous review of the scientific literature regarding the use and safety of nano-sized ultraviolet blocking ingredients. The full text of this statement is available on the NDS web site, http://www.nanodermsociety.org. "The picture is clear from all the available data," explains Dr. Adam Friedman Vice-President of the Nanodermatology Society and senior author of the position statement. "To date, the data show that the nanotechnology used in sunscreens is safe."
"For a physician-led group to make available to the public information on why these nano-ingredients are used in sunscreens along with the latest material safety data is extremely important. Nanotechnology, like any new technology, has risks and benefits," explains Dr. Friedman. "Studies of newer sunscreens show that they are either coated to minimize reactivity, clump in aggregates, or do not penetrate the skin. Furthermore, the benefits of sunscreen in reducing the risk of skin cancer including melanoma, which can be deadly, and photodamage are well known."
However, other organizations such as Friends of the Earth have claimed that nano-based sunscreens are hazardous to one's health.
"As the first of its kind to be released by a scientific society, the position statement will hopefully spur further advances in research in order to maximize the benefits of nanotechnology for the consumer while minimizing its risks," says Dr. Friedman.
Contributing authors include Karin Blecher, BA, Adnan Nasir, M.D., Ph.D., and Steven Wang, M.D.
The NDS is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 charged with monitoring nanotechnology as it relates to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of skin disease and evaluating their potential benefits or pitfalls.
Adam Friedman, M.D., FAAD
The Nanodermatology Society