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Coated titanium dioxide (TiO2) microparticles are commonly used as UV filter substances in commercial sunscreen products. The penetration of these microparticles into the horny layer and the orifice of the hair follicle was investigated. The distribution of the microparticles in the horny layer was analyzed using the method of tape stripping in combination with spectroscopic measurements. Deeper layers of the stratum corneum were devoid of TiO2 even after repetitive application of sunscreen preparation when analyzing interfollicular areas. Only in the areas of the pilosebaceous orifices could microparticles be identified. The penetration of TiO2 was investigated in histological skin sections. A biopsy was taken from a skin area from which the horny layer had been removed by tape stripping. In isolated areas, a penetration of coated TiO2 into the open part of the follicle was observed. The amount of TiO2 found in a given follicle was less than 1% of the applied total amount of sunscreens. A penetration of microparticles into viable skin tissue could not be detected.
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