Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Are Micronized Minerals In Mineral Makeup?

Some Confusion Clarified

Micronized minerals have been the buzz word for advising consumers who purchase mineral makeup products, to avoid these at all costs to prevent the health issues that may be associated with them.

Then on the other side of the coin non-micronized minerals have been the descriptive for informing the consumer that these are safer and are non-penetrable to skin and lungs.

The actual truth of it is and to clarify, is that all mineral makeup is micronized in order for it to flow nicely and apply with perfection onto the skin without a heavy made up look.

Perhaps some of you may also be seeing the new buzz word of "micro-formulated minerals." This is surely another great way to describe the makeup, but again it gives the connotation of teeny tiny particles, which may cause undue concern. It's in the name "micro" which is examined.

Why The Variation?

Micronized was really about describing micron size of the particles. It was easier to ascribe to the theory, when you were buying micronized minerals which were commonly referred to as TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) or micronized ZnO or Z-cote (Zinc Oxide), that these were the mineral ingredients with a tiny micron particle size. These are also referred to as sub micron or nano size of 0.25-0.30 more or less, and these are equal to 250-300 nanometers. This size is literally below an actual single micron.

Non-micronized would define those mineral cosmetics as being 3 microns or larger with them typically being similar to our micron size. Our minerals for example, range from 5-10 microns or equivalent to 5000-10,000 nanometers. So by accurate definition, ours can also be considered micronized, but they are not nano sized particles due to the finished size of the micron particles.

However, both types of minerals are micronized. Anything described as crushed has been a great way to eliminate confusion. However, finely milled would be a better way to convey nice smooth, silken coverage, but that the mineral powders are not necessarily micronized by the original definition or in the minds eye of the consumer. The reality of the "crushed" description though, is that crushed would also create a powder that would have a coarser texture with sharp edges that would be extremely irritating to skin.

I, myself have described our mineral powders this way and for the most part has worked for keeping things clear in the consumers mind. But with all that is occurring with CFSC and Skin Deep Data Base of late, I felt it was time to make some clarifications that will end confusion for anyone shopping for mineral cosmetics.

I recently changed this descriptive also on our website to end the confusion for our own customers, and why today I am writing this article.

What Is A Nano Sized Particle?

True Nanos, are particulates that are typically below 1 micron or 1000 nanometers. Also realize that when you see the nanometers reduced in number, the smaller the micron will be....example 0.1 micron size is 100 nanometers and is a sub micron..... this is basically so tiny, it is invisible to the naked eye, or I should say basically aerosol. In fact, at even the larger size of 1 - 2 microns, if this size particle were to be dropped from chest height it would not even reach the ground before being absorbed by the environment.

It is nano particles which may draw concern rather than statements like minerals being micronized. It suits the needs of the consumer if this is clarified for them and is why the statement "No Nano Size Particles" is being widely used now as a better way to convey the differences.

This sends a much clearer message that the micron size will not penetrate the skin or will not travel deep into the lungs, where they then can become lodged if inhaled by accident. Regardless of this fact, no one really goes around inhaling their mineral powders. And for those who may have a concern, that can even be reduced to practically eliminated by applying with the "moist method" we recommend.

Also realize that nano particles are in our environment naturally and are in the air we breathe every day in the form of pollens, dust, pollutants, etc. etc.

Creating Perspective

To really give the proper analogy, take a human hair for instance, it is as thick as 40 microns, and of course we can see our hair, so shrink this down in your mind to the numbers I gave earlier.

Huge difference isn't it? you can see how powders created with 5-10 microns are still very fine and provide smooth coverage, but to get smaller than that in micron size down to 2.5 or sub micron size as the minerals exampled above, is where questions of health begin to arise.

This is also why we once referred to them as non-micronized vs micronized minerals since the latter are more sheer in coverage and do not have the whitening effect. This is why Z-cote and TiO2 are the popular choice for being used in liquid sunscreens and foundations to avoid the ashy look on skin. They are more readily absorbed and basically disappear against and / or into the skin.

Clearly, also another reason when these types of minerals are used in mineral powders, and some still do use these, women don't achieve the coverage they need. The answer is, larger particle size, better coverage! However, for those that still want better coverage with less opacity, then a product like our Delicate Rose Petal Formula would be the choice since it is higher in Zinc Oxide which gives a very natural look. For more opacity and heavy coverage, then you would choose Velvet, and Dewy is in between both of these. But no matter what formula you choose there will be no ashy appearance or whitening of the skin due to the formulation structure of our mineral powders.

For those wishing to learn more about Micronized Minerals and gain a better perspective through scientific data as to health risks, here is an article I wrote more than 2 years ago on this subject: Micronized Minerals Versus Non-Micronized Minerals. Since this article was written, there has also been recent updates in regard to nano particles that fall on the positive side provided by the EPA Final Report of 2010.

Related Article: Titanium Dioxide In Mineral Makeup, Final Report By EPA

Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend and my thoughts and prayers are with those that have family serving in the armed forces.

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