Titanium dioxide (TiO) in cosmetics (CI 77891) is widely used and is regarded as non-toxic. It is a whitening, pearling agent, making anything from cosmetics to toothpaste to paper to even organic nut milks sometimes appear white and luminescent.
Read any skincare article and one of the top recommendations is to use a good sunscreen. Titanium dioxide is a staple of most sunscreens on the market; from regular sunscreen to those with especially high SPF and for babies, expect titanium dioxide. It blocks UV rays and has less of a tendency to break down when exposed to the sun, making for long-lasting sun protection and, likely, high ratings. It’s highly stable under the sunniest conditions – a huge ‘pro’ for sunscreen effectiveness.
But, alas, there are caveats to using it. In sunscreen, it’s almost always in nanoparticle form, which is a whole other beast in of itself: introducing not just titanium dioxide onto your skin and into your body but titanium dioxide in very, very small size: in such a case, these small titanium dioxide particles — nanoparticles / nano-sized particles — can purportedly enter your bloodstream and alter DNA! Nanoparticles can collect in tissues. It becomes very serious business when titanium dioxide is in nano-form, especially for those sensitive to the ingredient.
Titanium Dioxide Risks and Precautions?
You may wish to avoid titanium dioxide just because you don’t like mixed research findings. On another hand, if you have sensitive skin that has reacted adversely to sunscreen and/or cosmetics in the past, then you may suffer a true allergy or sensitivity to titanium dioxide; consult your trusted healthcare professional accordingly. Side effects that result from allergic reactions can include itching, burning, swelling, and redness. Even after the product is washed off, the effects may linger. The debate on the safety of this ingredient will likely linger, too.
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