Titanium dioxide

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What is titanium dioxide?

Titanium dioxide is a mineral composed of titanium and oxygen in the form of a white powder. It can be found in cosmetic products like sunscreen.

To identify titanium dioxide in our products, take a look at the ingredients list on packaging. It can be found under the names TITANIUM DIOXIDE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE [NANO], CI 77891.

Where does it come from?

Where does it come from?

In cosmetics, titanium dioxide is used either as a sun filter or as a white pigment.

Titanium dioxide is a white powder obtained by transformation of mineral compounds extracted from rocks.

What is it for used?

Titanium dioxide has many applications in food or in cosmetics, especially for its white colouring properties and its ultraviolet filtration properties.

  • White colouring

  • Ultraviolet filtration

Why is it questioned?

Titanium dioxide used as a food additive is currently subject to discussions because of its impact in case of oral exposure (or ingestion) - a different use from that of cosmetics.

The controversy around titanium dioxide is linked to the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified titanium dioxide as a possible carcinogen for humans by inhalation.

Titanium dioxide is also suspected of crossing the skin barrier when applied in nanometric form on injured skin.
Lastly, there is a debate on the contamination of the environment by titanium dioxide in nanometric form, especially in aquatic ecosystems (plankton).


  • In sunscreens and beauty products, titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been assessed by the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS), which has approved their use as anti-UV, with a maximum concentration of 25%. Link here.
  • Whatever its size (nanometric or not), titanium dioxide does not penetrate the skin. More information here and there

Why and how do we use titanium dioxide?

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When it serves as a sun filter, it is in nanometric form (in physics, related to nanometer, length unit measure equal to one billionth of meter), so it is more efficient. In its other uses, it is used in non-nanometric form.

We use titanium dioxide in nanometric form only when it improves the product performance - quality, comfort, texture. When we use titanium dioxide in nanometric form, it is clearly indicated on the product packaging, in the countries where the regulation requires it. 

We only use nanometric titanium dioxide in products that cannot be inhaled or swallowed. We do not use it in aerosols or lip products. 

The type of titanium dioxide used in cosmetics does not impact plankton in the aquatic environment.  

This type should not be confused with other types of titanium dioxide used in products other than cosmetics. 


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