Skin Bliss

Demystifying Skincare

Nanoparticle labeling in cosmetics

How are ingredients in nano form labeled on skincare products?

  • Nanoparticle labeling in cosmetics

    Nanoparticle labeling in cosmetics


When an ingredient is in nanoparticle form it can have different chemical properties than if it occurs in larger chunks. Therefore it should be indicated if an ingredient is in nano form or not.

The EU developed a precise definition of what a nano particle is and requires producers to indicate them on the product package.

If an ingredient in a cosmetic product is labeled (nano), in the EU that means:

It contains an insoluble or biopersistent and intentionally manufactured material. A nanomaterial has one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm. All ingredients present in the form of nanomaterials shall be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients. The names of such ingredients shall be followed by the word ‘nano’ in brackets [nano].

The EU does not consider nanomaterials intrinsically hazardous but it requires an additional risk assessment before an ingredient is authorized to be used as nano particle.

This is especially the case for ingredients from three categories colorants, UV-filters and preservatives.

But regulations are very different internationally. Regulators other than the EU, for example the US, Australia or New Zealand, typically do not require indication of nanoparticles on the product packaging.

The American FDA has no legal definition for nanotechnology.

Firms and individuals who market cosmetics have a legal responsibility to make sure their products and ingredients, including nanoscale materials, are safe under labeled or customary conditions of use, and that they are properly labeled. Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA approval before they go on the market. The one exception is color additives (other than coloring materials used in coal-tar hair dyes), which must be approved for their intended use.