Brilliant White


The futuristic science behind your sun cream

Ever wondered how a bit of cream manages to stop the biggest fusion reactor in the solar system from frying you?  You wouldn’t be alone.

The main chemical in your sun cream is called titanium dioxide and it is in a surprising amount of things we all use in our daily life, like toothpaste, paints and chewing gum. That’s right, titanium dioxide is everywhere, an ingredient in many of the things you love and need to use.

Despite playing a part in the production of all of those cool products and more, it is often used in sun creams, because titanium dioxide has the ability to reflect sunlight.

How does sunscreen even work?

Titanium dioxide reflects and scatters ultraviolet radiations, which are the cause of sunburns and skin cancer.

It seems pretty straightforward, and really it is, and this is why titanium dioxide has been used in sun cream for decades now. However, recently, your sun cream has been getting a lot more advanced and it is time you paid attention.

Shielding you from the sun 2.0

Recently science has been looking into engineering those particles of titanium dioxide to make them even more efficient at fighting sunrays.

Nano-sized titanium dioxide, which are different and much smaller than pigmentary products of TiO2 mentioned in prior stories not only manages to reflect incoming sun rays in a much more efficient manner, but it is also more stable than the regular substance, so you don’t have to reapply the sun cream as often. This leaves you more time to skip around in your holiday clothes, which we can all agree is definitely something you should do more of.

Considering that the sunburn, and skin cancer, challenge comes from people not using enough sun cream and not using it often enough, it’s pretty obvious that using nanotechnology is a step in the right direction.

Look to the future

Although there are some who ask if nano particles could in fact be harmful to the skin, there’s nothing to suggest this is actually the case with titanium dioxide. A recent report from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) checked the safety of nano-sized titanium dioxide in sun cream. They found that even though the nanoparticles are tiny, the skin acts as an effective barrier and doesn’t let a measurable amount through.

The sunscreen of the future is already here. And it’s safe. And it’s working.

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