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Scientific name: titanium dioxide

Inorganic compound:  mined or synthetic



Ingredient Features

  • non-toxic
  • UVA and UVB protecting

User Benefits

  • safe
  • sun protection

Function in Product

  • colorant
  • sunscreen
  • thickener

(CI 77891): a naturally occurring oxide of titanium, generally used as a pigment. Cosmetics grades are extremely pure and highly prized as an effective nonchemical sunscreen. Approved for use in cosmetics in the U.S., E.U. and Japan. Be Yourself Beautiful does not approve of the inclusion of nano-sized titanium dioxide in cosmetic formulas.

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium(IV) oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. When used as a pigment, it is called titanium whitePigment White 6 (PW6), or CI 77891. Generally it is sourced from ilmenite, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of applications, from paint to sunscreen to food coloring. When used as a food coloring, it has E number E171.


Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index, in which it is surpassed only by a few other materials. When deposited as a thin film, its refractive index and colour make it an excellent reflective optical coating of dielectric mirrors and some gemstones like "mystic fire topaz". TiO2 is also an effective opacifier in powder form, where it is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (i.e. pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes. In paint, it is often referred to offhandedly as "the perfect white", "the whitest white", or other similar terms. Opacity is improved by optimal sizing of the titanium dioxide particles. Some grades of titanium based pigments as used in sparkly paints, plastics, finishes and pearlescent cosmetics are man-made pigments whose particles have two or more layers of various oxides – often titanium dioxide, iron oxide or alumina – in order to have glittering, iridescent and or pearlescent effects similar to crushed mica or guanine-based products. In addition to these effects a limited color change is possible in certain formulations depending on how and at which angle the finished product is illuminated and the thickness of the oxide layer in the pigment particle; one or more colors appear by reflection while the other tones appear due to interference of the transparent titanium dioxide layers.[26] In some products, the layer of titanium dioxide is grown in conjunction with iron oxide by calcination of titanium salts (sulfates, chlorates) around 800 °C[27] or other industrial deposition methods such as chemical vapor deposition on substrates such as mica platelets or even silicon dioxide crystal platelets of no more than 50 µm in diameter.[28] The iridescent effect in these titanium oxide particles (which are only partly natural) is unlike the opaque effect obtained with usual ground titanium oxide pigment obtained by mining, in which case only a certain diameter of the particle is considered and the effect is due only to scattering.

Sunscreen and UV blocking pigments in the industry

In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used as a pigment, sunscreen and a thickener. It is also used as a tattoo pigment and in styptic pencils. Titanium dioxide is produced in varying particle sizes, oil and water dispersible, and in certain grades for the cosmetic industry.

Titanium dioxide is found in almost every sunscreen with a physical blocker because of its high refractive index, its strong UV light absorbing capabilities and its resistance to discoloration under ultraviolet light. This advantage enhances its stability and ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet light. Nano-scaled titanium dioxide particles are primarily used in sun screen lotion because they scatter visible light less than titanium dioxide pigments while still providing UV protection.[25] Sunscreens designed for infants or people with sensitive skin are often based on titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, as these mineral UV blockers are believed to cause less skin irritation than other UV absorbing chemicals.



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