Titanium Dioxide and Acne

Is titanium dioxide good for acne?

Titanium dioxide is often entrusted as a coverage-aiding ingredient; people with acne- or blemish-prone skin likely entrust high-coverage makeup to lend a perfecting look to their skin, and this likely happens much thanks to titanium dioxide.

Additionally, titanium dioxide provides natural sun protection. 

Some will contend that nanoparticle titanium dioxide is beneficial because it's light-weight and non-comedogenic; we caution this, though, because nanoparticle titanium dioxide brings its own concerns on a potentially DNA-altering level. See our full article on Is titanium dioxide safe, and heed these valuable nuggets of insight:

Two especially important points exist within the realm of titanium dioxide safety.

First, titanium dioxide ought not be inhaled. That is discussed within this page as well. Within this specific point, let's talk about titanium dioxide in nanoparticle form, which is where DNA alteration concerns especially exist. Nanoparticles can exert their effects whether inhaled or applied to a surface such as skin:

We will first define nanoparticles (and later again within this page, too). Nanoparticles (NPs; nanos) are tiny particles ranging in size from 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanoparticles are of interest due to (but not limited to) the following:

- Creating fluorescent biological labels for important biological markers and molecules in research and diagnosis of diseases

- Drug delivery systems

- Gene delivery systems in gene therapy

- For biological detection of disease causing organisms and diagnosis

- Detection of proteinsIsolation and purification of biological molecules and cells in research

- Probing of DNA structure

- Genetic and tissue engineering

- Destruction of tumours with drugs

Reference: Ibrahim Khan, Khalid Saeed, Idrees Khan; Nanoparticles: Properties, applications and toxicities. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, Volume 12, Issue 7, 2019, pages 908-931, ISSN 1878-5352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2017.05.011. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535217300990

 

Nanoparticles of titanium oxide used in sunscreens, for example, have the same chemical composition as the larger white titanium oxide particles but nano titanium oxide is transparent.

Within the tiny nanoparticle range, concern burgeons with the fact that properties of particles can change, often unpredictably: Consider information from the study Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Induce DNA Damage
and Genetic Instability In vivo in Mice

Reference: Benedicte Trouiller, Ramune Reliene, Aya Westbrook, Parrisa Solaimani, Robert H. Schiestl; Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Induce DNA Damage and Genetic Instability In vivo in Mice. Cancer Res 15 November 2009; 69 (22): 8784–8789. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-249

Collapsible content

First, what is titanium dioxide?

Titanium dioxide is a white powder derived from rock-extracted mineral compounds. By nature, it is an inorganic compound. It's used often as a pigment, from food to makeup to paint, and may appear by the following names:

titanium dioxide;

titanium white;

TiO₂;

or CI 77891;

among other names.

Titanium dioxide is a color additive in foods such as vegan milks, candies, creamer, confection embelishments, gum and some vitamin and mineral supplements.

The Environmental Working Group assesses titanium dioxide as an ingredient with 'good' data behind it and provides that it's a low-risk for concern unless inhaled. There is growing concern over its usage in food and drinks as well as cosmetics, especially powders that can, in fact, be inhaled, and in any format with titanium dioxide in nanoparticle form. More on both below:

Why is titanium dioxide used in skincare and cosmetics?

Titanium dioxide is a white pigment--a powder derived via transformation of rock-extracted minerals--that offers coverage in cosmetics.

Additionally, it's relied upon in sunscreens and cosmetics touting an SPF rating because it has sun-protective properties.

Can titanium dioxide change your DNA?

Two especially important points exist within the realm of titanium dioxide safety.

First, titanium dioxide ought not be inhaled. That is discussed within this page as well. Within this specific point, let's talk about titanium dioxide in nanoparticle form, which is where DNA alteration concerns especially exist. Nanoparticles can exert their effects whether inhaled or applied to a surface such as skin:

We will first define nanoparticles (and later again within this page, too). Nanoparticles (NPs; nanos) are tiny particles ranging in size from 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanoparticles are of interest due to (but not limited to) the following:

- Creating fluorescent biological labels for important biological markers and molecules in research and diagnosis of diseases

- Drug delivery systems

- Gene delivery systems in gene therapy

- For biological detection of disease causing organisms and diagnosis

- Detection of proteinsIsolation and purification of biological molecules and cells in research

- Probing of DNA structure

- Genetic and tissue engineering

- Destruction of tumours with drugs

<small>Reference: Ibrahim Khan, Khalid Saeed, Idrees Khan; Nanoparticles: Properties, applications and toxicities. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, Volume 12, Issue 7, 2019, pages 908-931, ISSN 1878-5352. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arabjc.2017.05.011. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535217300990</small>

Nanoparticles of titanium oxide used in sunscreens, for example, have the same chemical composition as the larger white titanium oxide particles but nano titanium oxide is transparent.

Within the tiny nanoparticle range, concern burgeons with the fact that properties of particles can change, often unpredictably: Consider information from the study Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Induce DNA Damage
and Genetic Instability In vivo in Mice

<small>Reference: Benedicte Trouiller, Ramune Reliene, Aya Westbrook, Parrisa Solaimani, Robert H. Schiestl; Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Induce DNA Damage and Genetic Instability In vivo in Mice. Cancer Res 15 November 2009; 69 (22): 8784–8789. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-249</small>

Is titanium dioxide safe in makeup?

Based on the above information and recommended references, among your own research, do you contend titanium dioxide is or is not safe in cosmetics? Our notion is this:

- Titanium dioxide ought not be inhaled (as is the case with many ingredients and substances in life);

- titanium dioxide ought not be in nanoparticle form;

- if titanium dioxide bothers your skin or ingredient acumen (or both), it should be avoided.

Titanium dioxide that is not in nanoparticle form and is not inhaled (e.g., in creams or liquid foundations) may be the safer alternative compared to when it's in loose powder formats, let alone when nanoparticle in size.

When we use titanium dioxide, it's in cream or liquid formulas in effort to provide ample coverage. With our loose powders, our formulas are without titanium dioxide.

In a nutshell, use your wise judgement and discernment; consider the pros and cons to the ingredient and how it can interact with your unique needs. When shopping formulas with or without the coverage-, SPF-lending ingredient, ensure the company is reputable and with a friendly return/exchange policy. For your convenience and assessment, we offer samples of select formulas and a friendly return/exchange policy on full-sized formulas. Have fun choosing among the best formulas!

Avoiding specific ingredients?

Many of our loyal supporters have super sensitive skin and ingredient needs. Do you know what you need to avoid? Consider these special collections, noting that we ALWAYS AVOID the following (and then some!) --

NEVER TALC | ALWAYS GLUTEN-FREE | NANOPARTICLE-FREE | WITHOUT ANIMAL TESTING, FROM RAW INGREDIENTS TO FINISHED PRODUCTS | NO COAL TAR | PROPYLENE GLYCOL-FREE | CARMINE-FREE

Special omissions include the following:

Titanium Dioxide- and Mica-Free


Vegan: Without Animal-Derived Ingredients

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