How is the use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles as a UV shield affecting the global market?
Ultraviolet light has several highly beneficial applications, but it is a threat to human health, as constant exposure to UV light has the potential to cause skin cancer. This has led to ultraviolet light blockers/filters being used on a large scale in sunscreens and other cosmetics. Nanoscale titanium dioxide has emerged as the perfect material to be used for the purpose due to the following reasons:
Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide is Harmless to Humans:
Unlike many chemicals used liberally in skincare and other cosmetic products, titanium dioxide nanoparticles do not constitute a health threat to users of the cosmetic products. Their biocompatibility has been of massive help to producers of cosmetic products, who have faced an increasing demand for chemical-free formulations. The usage of nanoscale titanium dioxide has also been boosted by the regulatory approval granted to it in several countries.
The property of titanium dioxide to block UV light has been known to man for a few decades before nanotechnology was conceived. However, using microparticles of titanium dioxide instead of nanoparticles presented several drawbacks. Micro-scale titanium dioxide is fairly opaque, which led to creams and lotions containing the same leaving conspicuous marks on the skin of the user. Moreover, the larger size of titanium dioxide microparticles also led to cosmetic products adopting a sticky formulation. The high transparence of nanoscale titanium dioxide not only allows for a clear and smooth formulation of cosmetic products, but also prevents the formation of visible marks on the skin.
What are some of the other major application segments of the nanoparticle titanium dioxide market?
Due to the increasing preference for leisure tourism, sales of high-SPF sunscreen lotions have increased in the last few decades. International as well as domestic travel to seaside locations has, in particular, increased massively, leading to a corresponding increase in the demand for effective sun protection products. This will remain an influential factor in the trajectory of the global titanium dioxide nanoparticles market in the near future.
Paints and coatings are another major application segment of the global titanium dioxide nanoparticles market. Paints and coatings are also degraded by constant exposure to UV light, which has made the inclusion of anti-UV particles in paint formulations common. Due to the increasing use in paints and coatings applications, the ongoing construction industry boom in the developing world has benefitted the nanoparticle titanium dioxide market.
What are some of the threats to the nanoparticle titanium dioxide market?
The results of an independent analysis by Friends of the Earth, which found that nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, hydroxyapatite, and silicon dioxide are present in some baby formula brands sold in the U.S., could result in negative PR for the nanoscale titanium dioxide industry. Criticism of this occurrence is backed by the scientific consensus that nanoparticles can cause significant damage in the human body due to their high surface area. Though this wouldn’t affect the demand for nanoscale titanium dioxide from paints and coatings and other industrial applications, the use of titanium dioxide in cosmetics could take a minor hit.