Nanomaterial applications broaden, but safety issues raise question mark

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care Market research Marketing research Cosmetics Us

A new market report suggests that applications for nanomaterials in cosmetic products are broadening, although safety is likely to remain pivotal to future growth.

Although sun screens are still expected to be the main category for nanomaterials in the personal care field, applications in anti-aging products and color make-up are also increasing, according to a report entitled World Nanomaterials, published by the Freedonia Group.

However, some technical challenges still have to be overcome and questions over environmental impact and safety issues, raise questions for certain categories, although overall future growth for nanomaterials seems assured.

Safety raises question mark over nanomaterial cosmetics

The market researchers point out that personal care is likely to be one of the categories where the issue of safety is really put under the spotlight, due to fears that the particles can be easily absorbed by the skin.

“The final answer on this issue has remained elusive, but is likely to have a profound effect in terms of the ultimate success or failure of nanomaterials in personal care,”​ the market report states.

The report underlines that the fact that, due to the safety issue, many companies including nanomaterials in formulations have tended to shy away from highlighting such ingredients on products labels.

World market still expected to see huge growth

The world market for nanomaterial demand is set to hit $3.6bn by 2013, representing a 21 percent annual increase, as demand from low technology applications, including pharmaceutical and healthcare products continue to grow, the report says.

On a geographical basis, the US will continue to be the main market for the technology, representing a value of $1.49bn by 2013, while Western Europe is estimated to reach $0.8bn and Japan $0.5bn.

Although the nanomaterials category has been largely concentrated in the developed markets, developing countries are expected to catch up in the coming years, albeit from a far smaller base.

In this respect, China will lead the way for market growth, increasing by 31 percent to 2013, to reach a value of $155m, backed up by other key growth markets such as Brazil, India and Russia.

The market growth is expected to continue exponentially over the mid- to long-term, eventually reaching a value of $34bn in sales by the year 2025, the market research company claims.

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