Nano vs. Non-Nano Zinc and Titanium

Here at Goddess Garden we get a lot of calls from people wondering if our natural sunscreens contain nanoparticles. In a sentence, Goddess Garden sunscreens are all non-nano sunscreens. But what are nanoparticles and what does it mean to be non-nano? Read on to find out.

What are Nanoparticles?

A nanoparticle is a piece of material that is so small that it has to be measured in nanometers (one nanometer equals one-billionth of a meter). For comparison, 10,000 nanoparticles could fit in the diameter of a human hair. In recent times, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been able to be manufactured at nano sizes and are popular in sunscreens that want to avoid using hormone-disrupting chemicals while still providing sheer sun protection.

The revolutionary small size of the particles is both a blessing and a curse. People are more willing to use zinc and titanium based sunscreens when they don’t leave a white tint on the skin, unlike the sunscreen on the iconic lifeguard with a nose covered in white cream. However, nanoparticles are something the body is not necessarily equipped to handle. The human body is designed to keep toxic substances out as they come in contact with our skin, lungs, and intestines, but nanoparticles are so small that they can infiltrate our defenses and have free access to our bodies.

Preliminary scientific research has shown that different types of nanoparticles can be toxic to human tissue and cells, resulting in increased oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine production, DNA mutation and even cell death. They can penetrate cell walls, including organ tissues, and are known to be highly reactive.

What is Non-Nano?

The problem with classifying products as nano or non-nano is that there is no certification body to officially determine what types of particles a product contains. The FDA has not stepped in to create a definition or regulation for nanoparticles, but the EU has vaguely defined non-nano as “the primary particle size is greater than 100nm” and Australia defines non-nano as “more than 90% of particles are above 100nm.” At the nano level, it is virtually impossible to ensure that a product is 100% nanoparticle free because the shapes of the particles make them hard to measure.

Goddess Garden: Non-Nano Zinc and Titanium

As stated before, Goddess Garden sunscreens are non-nano, using the guidelines set forth by the EU and Australia. The particle size of the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide used in our products is between 100nm-130nm, with the average size at 120nm. Even our continuous sprays are non-nano since they use the same zinc and titanium as our lotions, so the risks associated with nanoparticles are not present.

Our bottle doesn’t state that we are non-nano because there isn’t a certification body to give us the official seal for a non-nano product. Thus, we have chosen not to include any language on our products that states non-nano. It is important to note that packaging that states “non-nano” are not regulated and should be investigated further to prove their claims.

[Sources: 1, 2, 3]
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