A pilot study on the percutaneous absorption of microfine titanium dioxide from sunscreens

Australas J Dermatol. 1996 Nov;37(4):185-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.1996.tb01050.x.


Many Australians are being advised to apply microfine titanium dioxide sunscreen daily from the cradle to the grave. However, there is a surprising lack of data on the percutaneous absorption of microfine titanium dioxide. A prospective pilot study was conducted to analyse the percutaneous absorption of microfine titanium dioxide from sunscreens. Selected patients scheduled to have skin surgery, applied titanium dioxide sunscreen to the skin daily for 2-6 weeks prior to their operation. After excision, the stratum corneum of the sample was stripped and the titanium concentration of the remaining epidermis and dermis was measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The results from this pilot study showed that levels of titanium in the epidermis and dermis of subjects who applied microfine titanium dioxide to their skin were higher than the levels of titanium found in controls. Studies with larger cohorts are necessary to establish if this absorption is statistically significant.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reference Values
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Titanium / administration & dosage
  • Titanium / pharmacokinetics*


  • Sunscreening Agents
  • titanium dioxide
  • Titanium