Gold nanomaterials (Au NMs) have been widely used in cosmetic products for improving the brightening, and reducing the wrinkling of, skin, etc.; however, the dermal safety of Au NMs is rarely concerned. A previous study found that cosmetics could enhance the toxicity of Au nanosheets, but different physicochemical properties of Au NMs will induce different interaction modes with ingredients of cosmetics, potentially leading to different toxicity profiles. In the present study, spherical and rodlike Au NMs were first found in commercial cosmetics, and then Au nanospheres (NSs) with different sizes and Au nanorods (NRs) with different aspect ratios were prepared to simulate these Au NMs in cosmetics and further investigate their toxicity before and after embedment in cosmetics. It was found that the primary sizes, morphologies, and optical absorptions of these Au NSs and NRs before and after embedment were similar; however, their hydrodynamic sizes and zeta potentials were noticeably different. Then, these Au NSs and NRs presented weak or no cytotoxicity against HaCaT keratinocytes, while cosmetic cream could alleviate their cytotoxicity. Moreover, the cream could enhance the accumulation of Au NSs and NRs in the skin of hairless mice, but it also alleviated the toxicological responses of Au NSs and NRs in terms of superoxide dismutase (SOD) elevation and malondialdehyde (MDA) reduction. Therefore, the embedment of Au NSs and NRs into cosmetics can alleviate the in vitro and in vivo dermal toxicities of Au NSs and NRs.
Keywords: cosmetics; gold nanomaterials; skin; toxicity reduction.