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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2000 Aug;22(4):271-83. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2494.2000.00009.x.

Skin penetration and stabilization of formulations containing microfine titanium dioxide as physical UV filter.

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Institut für Pharmazeutische Technologie, Mendelssohnstraße 1, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


Microfine titanium dioxide (TiO(2)) has become a frequently used physical UV filter in sunscreen formulations. Penetration of microfine TiO(2) into human skin seems to be possible because of the mean particle size of 20 nm. The small particle size results in a high surface activity of the primary particles and causes a formation of agglomerates in the formulation. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo and in vitro penetration behaviour of the physical UV filter into human skin. Furthermore, a stable sunscreen formulation with microfine TiO(2) which does not penetrate into the skin should be developed. According to our experiments, microfine TiO(2) penetrates deeper into human skin from an oily dispersion than from an aqueous one. Therefore, an o/w emulsion containing the dispersed micropigment in the aqueous phase was manufactured. Microfine TiO(2) cannot penetrate into human skin from this emulsion, but the storage stability of the formulation is very low at different temperatures. The encapsulation of the micropigment into liposomes does not result in a better stability but it causes a higher penetration depth of the particles into the skin.

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