Shakespeare said “All that glitters is not gold”.
Well, he was right! Apart from gold, there’s silver and there’s diamond that glitters.
And then there’s Titania…
Titania?! Yes, it is true. This natural oxide of titanium – glitters!
Components of Mineral Makeup
The makeup most in demand today is the mineral one – it is made from ground powders of ores and oxides. TiO2, acronym for titanium dioxide, is one of the chief components of mineral products. It is next only to diamonds, when it comes to a high refractive index. That’s what gives the ultra sheer, shimmering, glowing look to mineral based makeup products.
Okay, so all this glittering and shimmering is fine, but is titanium dioxide “safe”, you ask? Well, yes and no…
Safe or Unsafe, That Is the Question
Naturally occurring oxides and minerals like titanium, infiltrate our bodies every day – through air, food, water. We do not meet “instantaneous death” on contact, so be rest assured that they are not “deadly”!
TiO2 oxides are used as thickening agents and as coloring pigments. Not only in paints, paper and inks (tattoos) – but also in medicines, toothpaste, mineral makeup and as food coloring agents! Ex. in whitening of skimmed milk!
TiO2 is a natural sun blocker, just like zinc oxide. Other chemical compounds only form a layer of protection over skin, still allowing some percentage of sun rays to filter through. However, titanium dioxide completely blocks and protects the skin.
So it is used in baby sunblocks! And sunscreens for sensitive skin types! It causes very less irritation on sensitive skin, if at all. Titanium dioxide reflects as well as absorbs the sun’s harmful UV rays. Depending on the wavelength of UV light, mostly UV-B rays are absorbed and UV-A rays are scattered.
Mineral makeup powders are quite safe, since they simply coat the skin and stay atop – being dry powder, they do not get absorbed into skin cells easily.
Can It Get Any Safer Than That?
Nevertheless, there’s more to the Titania Tale…there are few factors which put the “unsafe” or “harmful” twist in this tale:
TiO2 is a photo catalyst. It comes in different mineral forms like rutile, anatese and brookite. The refractive index of rutile form is highest and thus it disperses UV rays more effectively. Other forms of TiO2 absorb UV-B rays. To avoid absorption, antioxidants like mineral oils are used in mineral products. However, volatile reactions could trigger if used in combo with strong oxidizers and acids. So safety factor is marred.
Mineral particles come in micron or nano sizes – nano being 1 micron or less. Therefore nano particles can easily penetrate deep into the skin pores and get into the blood stream. Animal tests in recent nanotechnology experiments, have confirmed that nano titanium dioxide particles can cause genetic and hormonal damage.
It has also been proved that, mineral makeup powders if inhaled by accident can cause carcinogenic lung disorders.
So just be careful of where you get your products from. Trust only the trustworthy brands. Don’t buy anything that you are not sure of. Don’t worry; you will not get disorders and damages if you choose the right mineral products. Just be careful, that’s all!
Moral of the Titania Tale – All that glitters is not gold!