Addressing Nanoparticles in Cosmetics

A new Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) service for measuring nanoparticles in cosmetic products has been introduced by RSSL, with the acquisition of a Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZSP into the physical chemistry department.

The new instrument will assist in the evaluation of nano-sized particles to aid quality control and development of cosmetic products, and through determination of zeta potential as an indicator of stability to help screen formulations thus reducing the time to market.

RSSL is already a leading provider of particle sizing services to the cosmetic sector, with expertise and equipment for measuring and analysing particles in sizes ranging from 11mm down to 0.02µm (analytical sieving through to laser diffraction). The arrival of this new equipment allows RSSL to quantify particles between 0.3nm to 10µm, thus completing their comprehensive sizing service, combined with the quality of service and data integrity that customers are familiar with. Nanoparticles represent both an opportunity and a challenge for the cosmetics industry. Nanoparticles are already in widespread use, for example; titanium dioxide in sunscreens, as light diffusers in wrinkle treatments, and for delivering active ingredients to target sub dermal areas. However, nanoparticles are also recognised as representing a potential threat to health and regulatory bodies such as the US FDA have issued Guidance to Industry advising that nanomaterials should be fully characterised before use in cosmetic products. Such characterisation includes properties that RSSL can assess, such as measurement of particle size and distribution, aggregation and agglomeration characteristics, zeta potential/surface charge, shape, surface area, surface topology, and crystallinity.

Particle size can impact the performance of many cosmetics, and the specification of many powders and emulsions usually involves a size range parameter. RSSL will be able to use the Zetasizer in supporting QC as well as informing R&D processes to ensure adequate control of nanoparticles. An extensive range of sophisticated microscopy techniques are also available from RSSL to support this work.

As its name implies, the Zetasizer can also measure the zeta potential of particles. The zeta potential gives a rapid indication of the stability of emulsions and suspensions, and by determining zeta potential of new formulations, it is possible to identify the best candidates for stability studies at the earliest possible stage. Performing measurements of zeta potential can streamline research programmes by identifying and excluding formulations that are most likely to suffer from flocculation, precipitation and separation.

“This new technology furthers our commitment to the sector and demonstrates RSSL’s willingness to pioneer technology in the commercial arena that generally is only seen in the academic research environment. The Zetasizer will help us move to the fore in helping clients navigate the nanoparticle challenge. Additionally, in terms of stability, the Zetasizer will allow us to identify vulnerable formulations and help customers focus their efforts on safe and efficacious formulations that have a better chance of getting to market” notes Rachel Henton, General Manager at RSSL.

Make an Enquiry