Know Your Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide

titanium dioxide

What it is
Titanium Dioxide is a white powder derived from earthy minerals. Because of this, it may contain traces of heavy metals. However, Titanium Dioxide is chemically processed to remove these traces and even though some impurities may still be left in it, these are in such small concentrations that they don’t pose any risks to human health.

What it does
Titanium Dioxide is often used in sunscreens because it reflects and scatters UV radiation, protecting from all UVB and a considerable amount of UVA rays. In sunscreens, it can be used in concentrations up to 25%.
In addition, Titanium Dioxide gives opacity and a white color to cosmetics. When used as a colorant in beauty products in Europe, it must be called CI 77891.
It is also used in cosmetics as a thickener.

Side effects
Titanium Dioxide is safe to use on the skin because it stays on top of the skin and doesn’t penetrate it. However, it can clog pores for some people.
There is concern about whether or not Titanium Dioxide can induce the formation of free radicals. But to do that, the ingredient should penetrate the skin and, as mentioned above, Titanium Dioxide remains on the skin surface. In any case, studies show that using antioxidants with Titanium Dioxide eliminates the risk of any possible free radical formation.

5 Comment

  1. Dao: I haven’t heard of that but I’ll look into it now, thanks. What sunscreens are you using? It sounds great. I prefer physical suncreens too as they offer broad spectrum protection and don’t induce free radical formation.

    Dee: you’re welcome. There is a concern that nano-particles of Titanium Dioxide could cause free radicals formation, but only if they can penetrate the skin, which is still a theory. And if the sunscreen includes antioxidants, then it should be safe and prevent free radical formation.
    But if the sunscreen you’re using contains Titanium Dioxide, but not in nano particles form, there is no need to worry. Titanium Dioxide stays on the skin’s surface and won’t induce any free radical damage. :)

  2. Oops, I knew there was something I had forgot to add! Thanks for bringing that to my attention, fabulessbeauty! Yes, Titanium Dioxide can clog pores for some people and so cause breakouts. But most products tend to use several sunscreen ingredients so that the concentrations of Titanium Dioxide are lower and less likely to cause problems for the skin.

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