Nanotechnology is responsible for creating encapsulated structures with dimensions between 1 and 100 nanometers.
The reduction of different materials to this size has meant a great advance in different sectors such as cosmetics, but also in medicine and food, among others.
The active ingredients or drugs are introduced into a nanocapsule, surrounded by a polymeric membrane that releases them to act on the target cells.
The main materials used for encapsulation are:
- Biopolymers of plant, animal or bacterial origin
- Animal and vegetable waxes and fats
- Synthetic polymers
Advantages of nanoencapsulation
This membrane preserves and improves the introduction of active ingredients into the skin by adding greater stability and protection, as well as acting in a targeted and personalized manner by allowing a controlled release at different levels.
Molecule stability is governed by parameters such as storage temperature, water, oxygen concentration, permeability, ingredient quality, etc.
Nanotechnology is relatively recent, having started to be used in 2011, which shows a promising future for the cosmetics sector.
Today, it is already used in all types of cosmetic products, such as cleansing serums, facial treatments, make-up and active ingredients.
In addition to cosmetics, nanoencapsulates are used in:
- Targeted drug delivery systems that release the drug at a specific site.
- Controlled release drug delivery systems.
- Food: additives and improvements. Nanotechnology can mask odors and flavors.
- Extension of the shelf life of vitamins for regular use.
Contraindications of nanotechnology
Nanoencapsulates are not organic particles. They are created in laboratories, so the skin is not prepared to act as a barrier. This, which could be a drawback, is precisely what makes it such a powerful technology.
However, it may also cause undesirable effects in case of absorption. According to experts, existing regulations take into account all these possibilities, so that cosmetics created with nanotechnology can be considered safe.
Other encapsulation systems
The encapsulation of active ingredients by means of microparticles, liposomes, nanoparticles and cyclodextrins has been used to formulate natural products more efficiently and safely.
- Microparticles: developed in the 1980s, they allow the controlled and prolonged release of active ingredients. They are particles surrounded by polymers. They are similar to nanoencapsulates, differing only in size, which is between 1 and 1000 micrometers.
- Liposomes: were among the first encapsulated systems used for the dosage of natural active ingredients. They present unique particularities as natural product managers and perform a slow release of the active ingredients.
- Polymeric nanoparticles: these are solid particles ranging in size from 1 to 600 nanometers. Thanks to their small size, they can interact with other systems such as cells, viruses or bacteria. The polymeric wall protects the active ingredients from environmental factors and the biological environment.
- Solid lipid nanoparticles: they are less than 500 nanometers in size. Their main advantages are that they allow controlling the release of the active ingredient, they do not present toxicity and have a high loading capacity for biologically active molecules.