NIR dyes as optical filters in cosmetics formulation against oxidative stress

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


In today's market, sun care products are expected to be multifunctional providing nourishment and anti-ageing options as well as UV protection. Sun care global market is set to rise 6.4% by 2018, which currently accounts for 2% of global beauty and personal care industry worth of USD 454bn. Global skin-ageing care sales in 2015 were USD 115bn and forecast to rise to USD 154bn by 2021. Formation of the free radicals under sun exposure is one of the main reasons for skin ageing and skin cancer development. Common sunscreen formulations include antioxidants, ultraviolet (UVB/UVA) and broad band filters providing the protection from free radicals and sun burns. Solar radiation of vls/IR region can penetrate skin deeper. Upon vls/IR radiation, bio-molecules accumulated in skin and heat shock also induce formation of the free radicals. Current formulations are based on the reflection and scattering properties and almost on no absorption in the IR region except for water absorption bands. NIR absorbers (700-1500nm) can offer an alternative to the current formulations. The project is based on design, synthesis and characterisation of the novel optical filters capable of far-red visible and NIR absorption. The brief states that the synthetic methodology to be employed should enable the synthesis and the structural characterisation of NIR dyes with defined properties such as transparent/ off colour in the visible region and strong absorption in region of 700-1100 nm. A number of routes are available to prepare NIR dyes with the desired characteristics to meet the criteria outlines. Due to the nature of the product and potential for a wide variety of eventual applications possible, the dyes should provide no negative effect on the visual characteristics of the formation and can be turned to give the effect at a desired level.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509681/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1939683 Studentship EP/N509681/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Simran Channa
Title SEM image - Beautiful Science Exhibit 
Description The creative product was an edited SEM image of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, to which I had digitally input colour for artistic effect. This image won runner-up in the Beautiful Science Exhibit which was an internal competition within Leeds University, Department of Chemistry. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The image was displayed in an exhibition at North Bar in Leeds. It gained some attention from the general public and helped to demonstrate some of the techniques that we use (SEM imaging) in a creative way. In general, the exhibition increased the public's interest and understanding of what chemists can do and showcases some of the more unusual analytical techniques that we use. 
Description Croda Collaboration 
Organisation Croda International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have been developing new materials for use in skin protection against solar radiation and ultimately, our findings will help to produce active ingredients for the personal care sector. We have also developed characterisation methods, allowing us to gain further insight on the optical properties, morphology and crystallinity of our new materials. This will greatly expand our understanding of the property-function relationship and help us design new materials with enhanced photoprotective properties. Leeds University's Chemistry Department benefits from excellent facilities such as SEM Imaging and the Bragg Centre, enabling quick and full characterisation of the materials which is essential to the success of this project. For example, we have been using SEM Imaging to visualise the materials that have been produced on campus and also by Croda, to study their morphology and surface chemistry.
Collaborator Contribution Croda has provided expertise in formulation and skincare. We have also been able to investigate our new materials on site, using Croda's facilities. The collaboration with Croda has enabled us to understand better and participate in: - product creation - expand technical expertise and skills (formulation, large-scale chemical synthesis) - understanding industry needs (particularly within the personal care sector) - exposure to different departments within Croda (such as metal oxide production, formulation, haircare, skincare)
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary project, combining materials synthesis, characterisation, biological activity assessment and product formulation. Materials synthesis, characterisation and biological activity assessment are carried out at the University of Leeds (Chemistry) while scale-up chemical synthesis and product formulation was done on site at Croda. Presented findings at CNPComp2019: The 8th International Conference on Carbon NanoParticle Based Composites. Poster title: Manipulating optical properties of semiconductor materials through modification with carbon dots.
Start Year 2017
Description Generating Genius Workshop - Year 12 students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Generating Genius programme is aimed at giving students from African and Caribbean backgrounds the skills to thrive in the world of STEM. 27 pupils attended a workshop on drug design, the majority of whom were women. Our aims were to inform the students of the wide variety of careers that a degree in Chemistry can open up. We explained this in the context of drug design, showcasing how many different jobs are involved in the drug design process. Presenting the workshop as a woman, I also hoped to encourage more women to study STEM subjects. Our open discussion about the different jobs a Chemistry degree can lead to culminated in some pupils strongly considering a degree in Chemistry. Other students found the ethics of drugs very interesting and were considering that route.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description School Visit to Leeds Uni 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School students (year 12) visited Leed University. I gave them a talk about career opportunities in chemistry, and led an analytical workshop. During the workshop, they practised using different analytical methods including: FT-IR; melting point apparatus and thin layer chromatography (with a UV lamp), to identify an unknown white powder. Several students reported an interest in pursuing chemistry in particular, and others were grateful to get some experience on a University campus with equipment that they usually would not be able to use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020