Nanoparticles, what are they?
Nanoparticles are very small particles (the size of a billionth of a metre) that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Nanoparticles occur frequently in nature. For example, sea air contains nano-sized salt particles and combustion (of wood) also releases nano-sized particles. In itself, these natural nanoparticles are harmless.
However, in the last ten years there has been much discussion about nanoparticles in products and the effect they have. The discussion is not about natural nanoparticles but about artificially manufactured nanoparticles (synthetic) which can be added to paints, hairspray, metals and cosmetics. Consumers wonder what nanoparticles are and whether they are actually safe. And it is not at all surprising that these questions are being asked. Consumers are becoming more critical, today's society attaches great importance to health and the terms 'nanoparticles' and 'nanotechnology' sound a bit unfamiliar and futurological. The fact that nanoparticles are not visible to the naked eye also contributes to the fact that many consumers are somewhat suspicious of the term 'nanoparticles'.
Unity Cosmetics does not use nanotechnology, no nanoparticles are added to its products.
What are the benefits of nanoparticles?
There are definitely advantages of nanoparticles. They are very small particles that can enhance the effect of certain active ingredients and therefore have added value. For example, in almost all toothpastes there are nanoparticles that make teeth extra clean without actually scrubbing them and in almost all aeroplanes synthetic nanoparticles are added to make the metal even stronger. In sunscreens, titanium dioxide has been added for decades (as a sun protection factor, indicated by SFP) using synthetic nanoparticles. It strengthens the UV-protective properties that titanium dioxide naturally has and ensures that the titanium dioxide is absorbed even faster and better by the cream and that the sunscreen works better. Titanium dioxide has been a very safe ingredient for decades and it contributes to UV protection (and therefore helps prevent skin cancer), the synthetic nanoparticles in UV protective products are expressly designated as safe by the government.
It has been scientifically proven that synthetic nanoparticles are not harmful in cosmetics, so they can be used in the cosmetics industry. In the cosmetic industry, nanoparticles are mainly added to products that contain active ingredients (facial creams, sunscreens with UV filters) because they can improve the effect of those ingredients. In decorative cosmetics (make-up products that mainly have to give colour), nanoparticles are actually of no use, because decorative cosmetics are generally not made for the active substances. Make-up is not about skin improvement but about skin decoration. There are very few active ingredients in make-up so enhancing them by adding nanoparticles is very illogical.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are no known general drawbacks to nanoparticles. As with any other ingredient or product the government has strict rules about their use. The effect of each ingredient, so also for nanoparticles, strongly depends on the size and quantity used in combination with the way you apply the final product. As far as nanoparticles are concerned, the European authorities believe that the use of synthetic nanoparticles must be explicitly indicated on the product because nanoparticles can sometimes behave differently from the 'normal substance' (but not necessarily worse). So if you see a product that says 'contains nanoparticles' it is not a disqualification or 'bad', it is only meant as information for the consumer who can make a better choice to buy such a product or not.
Are there nanoparticles in Unity Cosmetics' products?
Since 2013, European manufacturers/brand holders (such as Unity Cosmetics Europe B.V.) are obliged to explicitly state if a product contains nanotechnology. Unity Cosmetics' products are manufactured within the European Union, so this legislation also applies to all Unity Cosmetics' products. Unity Cosmetics does not use nanotechnology, so no nanoparticles are added to Unity Cosmetics' products. The reason for Unity Cosmetics not to use nanotechnology is based on the motto 'better to be careful'. As long as science is still doing research on the exact working of an ingredient, we prefer not to use it in our products.