Anyone deciding to be aware of the makeup items they are using may have heard something about titanium dioxide.
Or, if you have suffered from skin issues after putting on a certain product, you might have checked if it had titanium dioxide in it.
So, is titanium dioxide safe in makeup? Or is it not?
There are contradictory findings about its safety, making it difficult for users to decide.
I am putting all that here to give you the complete picture to decide for yourself. Have a read.
Is Titanium Dioxide safe In Makeup?
Before discussing its safety and health concerns, let’s learn about titanium dioxide first. It is a natural mineral typically found in anatase, rutile, and brookite.
Its appearance is bright and opaque, often used in different products, like cosmetics, food, inks, rubber, paper, textiles, and paints.
As for cosmetics, it is commonly used in sunscreens, lotions, eye shadows, blushes, pressed and loose powders, and other similar body care products.
According to several studies, the mineral is not safe for our body because of its connection to nose, eye, skin, and throat irritation in the short term and cancer in the long term.
But that could stir the pot further because of the FDA’s approval regarding using titanium dioxide in makeup. So, what about that?
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What Are The Findings About The Safety Of Titanium Dioxide?
Per the study of the International Agency for Research, TiO2 or titanium dioxide has been found to be a carcinogen, which was also evident in other studies related to lung cancer.
The European Union also announced in 2019 that TiO2 is a level-2 carcinogen regardless of its form.
That is not all. According to a New Jersey Health Department finding in 2011, it cannot handle light exposure.
That means when you go out after putting on your sunscreen, it will develop free radicals in your skin and damage it.
As a result, you will suffer from skin conditions like acne.
An important point we miss here is that the ingredient’s safety depends on several factors. For example, the form of the mineral, the quantity of its consumption, and how you are consuming it.
If we do not know the details and simply look at the headlines, we will get even more confused.
Now that you know the findings, let me explain why it may not be as bad as it looks now.
What Is The Truth?
The truth is titanium dioxide is safe. But it is also unsafe. As for skin damage, it cannot access healthy skin and pose any risks to your health when you use it in your skin.
You might have come across suggestions saying nano TiO2 could be harmful to damaged or sunburnt skin. However, researchers have yet to find any evidence of that.
What is actually concerning about titanium dioxide is its consumption through inhalation.
The particles have to be minuscule enough to penetrate your lungs’ alveoli, the area of oxygen exchange. That must mean titanium dioxide in powder-like makeup is not safe, right?
Now, there is something to understand. TiO2 is supposed to be fine when ranging between 100 to 3000 nanometers.
And that is important because anything smaller than that would be problematic.
Scientists have shown that pigments used in cosmetics rarely contain any particle tinier than 100 nanometers.
Also, to provide you with more assurance, the form of the mineral, when inhaled through cosmetics, is cluster-like. That restricts it from penetrating your alveoli and affecting your lungs.
Does That Mean It Is Safe In Makeup?
Yes. The risk is mainly associated with workplace-related exposure, and there are many laws and policies addressing that. Look it up if you are curious.
Going back to where we are, I would still ask you to practice caution about titanium dioxide’s presence in your makeup.
A nanoparticle’s width is 1000 times thinner than that of our hair. In the upper section, I mentioned a smaller size of TiO2 than the minimum range of 100 nanometers would be a problem.
The nanosized particles might become chemically more reactive and bioavailable when nanosized to smaller than 100 nanometers.
Consequently, they might behave differently from bigger particles, potentially damaging the body’s system. There have been mixed findings respecting the certainty of this.
Numbers Don’t Lie:
Let’s consult the scrolls of statistics to decipher the true impact of Titanium Dioxide on our skin.
According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an independent panel of scientific and medical experts, Titanium Dioxide is deemed safe when used in concentrations up to 25% in cosmetics.
Moreover, a survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that Titanium Dioxide is prevalent in a myriad of cosmetic products, ranging from foundations to lipsticks.
The study suggests that the concentration of Titanium Dioxide in these products is generally within the recommended safety limits.
But it would be better to be on the safe side.
How To Be On The Safe Side?
The FDA has approved the use of TiO2 in cosmetics and body care products as an ingredient and color additive.
It has also published guidelines stating that the mineral might be used in makeup, even for eye products.
Unfortunately, that does not fix things because the FDA does not approve makeup items before they go into the market.
That may come as a shocker to many, but it is true. The organization does not have the authority to check and authenticate the safety of cosmetics.
Moreover, the use of nanoparticles is getting exponentially popular in the industry.
With the lack of the FDA’s intervention, some manufacturers may not be that cautious about using titanium dioxide.
You can be safe in such an uncertain situation by avoiding or at least minimizing the use of cosmetics containing TiO2.
Since sunscreen is for daily use, look for the ones with a ‘non-nano’ label. That means it does not have nanosized TiO2 particles.
Then again, do not always go for the labels, as they are not pre-approved. Research deeply before purchasing a product.
Search companies that produce safe makeup. And whenever you experience any physical issue after using a new product, stop using it and contact a doctor.
There are 2 things you should have gathered by now from the article. First, titanium dioxide is supposedly safe in makeup.
Secondly, the FDA has declared it safe and issued guidelines on its use. However, it does not pre-approve makeup items.
Even though researchers are not entirely sure, nanosized titanium dioxide could affect one’s health adversely.
Therefore, prioritize safety over style and be more selective about your makeup choices to prevent undesired consequences.
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