Next generation nanotechnology and active ingredients

Nano (from the Greek “dwarf”) is a prefix used in sciences to denote a part of a billion, meaning a nanometer is a billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology extends to the world of particles and interfaces with dimensions of this order, which are then called “nanoparticles”.

image 1


Figure 1 – Types of nanoparticles: (a) inorganic nanoparticles, (b) polymeric nanoparticles, (c) solid lipid nanoparticles, (d) nanosomes, (e) nanocrystals or quantum dots, (f) carbon nanotubes, (g) dendrimers. Source: FARAJI, 2009.

Among the common vesicular systems are the nanosomes, which encapsulate the active ingredients

and physically separate them from the components of a formula. Similar to an emulsion, nanosomes are phospholipid derivatives, with a structure that’s both polar and non-polar. In addition, their composition is similar to the structure of the cell membrane, which causes these particles to aggregate naturally to the skin surface and be absorbed naturally, as shown in Figure 2 (DUTRA, 2010).

image 2

Nanosome    Skin surface    Main Active ingredient

Figure 2 – Diagram of a nanosome on contact with the skin surface. After the nanosome comes into contact with the skin (a), the main active ingredient is released (b), and the nanoparticle merges with the skin (c). Source: DUTRA, 2010.

This structure is very important in relation to permeation, taking into account that while the properties of the stratum corneum are very important in controlling the permeation of substances via the skin, the vehicle used can also impact. There are several means by which this permeation can be facilitated. These include the use of various chemical substances (these can cause skin lesions), physical methods such as ultra-sound, and making the active ingredient more concentrated. Nanotechnology is an alternative to these classic methods, as along with the concentration used being lesser, its compatibility and size facilitate the permeation of the active ingredient to the site of action (LEONARDI, 2004).

Advantages to using Nanoparticles

In cosmetology, the main advantages of nanostructures are:

  • Increased time of action and the bioavailability of the active ingredient;
  • Making lipophilic active ingredients more water soluble;
  • Increased effectiveness;
  • Facilitated application;
  • Reduced adverse effects and toxicity (BARIL,2012).

The cosmetics industries have developed various products aimed at providing a variety of benefits, such as hydration, nutrition and glow, among others. One option for increasing these products’ effectiveness and facilitating their incorporation into cosmetic formulation, reducing toxicity, stabilizing the active ingredients, among other things, is using the active ingredients in the form of nanoparticles, as in the following examples.

  • Citrus Aurantium Amara Fruit Extract (and) Diosgenin Argininate (and) Dihydromyricetin (and) Caffeine (and) Escin (and) Oryza Sativa Bran Oil – Lipophilic nanoparticles for treating cellulite that act by stimulating skin microcirculation and thermogenesis. They have a strong lipolytic action in addition to an antioxidant one.
  • Cymbopogon Flexuosus Oil (and) Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil (and) Eugenia Caryophyllus Leaf Oil – A blend of Essential Oils encapsulated in lipophilic nanoparticles to repair damaged, opaque-looking, off-white and brittle nails. It has an antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic action.
  • Lavandula Officinalis Flower Oil (and) Cymbopogon Martini (Palmarosa) Oil (and) Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil (and) Butyrospermum Parkii Butter – A blend of Essential Oils rich in fatty acids encapsulated in slow-release nanoparticles. It tones, conditions, is an antiseptic, repairs, controls oiliness and stimulates growth. In addition it ultra-hydrates hair, giving it elasticity and softness.
  • Polyquaternium-7 (and) Sericin (and) Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (and) Cetrimonium Chloride (and) Behentrimonium Chloride – Sericin nanoparticles that cleave to the hair’s surface, promoting cuticle sealing and protein mass replcement. It has a high affinity for other proteins and is able to bind to the skin and hair’s keratin, forming a resistant, hydrating and protecting film with good barrier properties.
  • Lauric Acid (and) Myristic Acid (and) Punica Granatum Seed Oil (and) Resveratrol (and) Sorbitan Oleate – Nanoparticles with a high antioxidant potential that works in preventing photoaging, possessing regenerating and hydrating properties, improving elasticity and skin strength and glow.


BARIL, M. B1; FRANCO, G.; VIANA, R.; ZANIN, S. M Nanotecnologia aplicada aos cosméticos. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 20 fevereiro 2015. / accessed February 20 2015

DUTRA, Fábio Neri. O tratamento jurídico dos riscos produzidos por cosméticos baseados em materiais nanoestruturados. Disponível em <>. Acesso em: 20 fevereiro 2015. / accessed February 20 2015

FARAJI, A. H., WIPF, P. Nanoparticles in cellular drug delivery. Bioorgan. Med. Chem. v. 17, p. 2950-2962, 2009. INSTITUTO DE TECNOLOGIA E ESTUDOS DE HIGIENE PESSOAL PERFUMARIA E COSMÉTICOS (Brasil).

LEONARDI, Gislaine Ricci. Cosmetologia aplicada. São Paulo: Medfarma, 2004. 324 p.

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