Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen. The rust you see on metal is an example of natural iron oxide formation.



  • Iron oxides are widely used as inexpensive, durable pigments in paints
  • Coatings
  • Colored concretes: Colors commonly available are in the “earthy” end of the yellow/orange/red/brown/black range.
  •  Used as an ingredient in household and personal care products
  •  Used in the manufacture of electronic parts and magnets and to create the magnetic strip on the back of credit cards and ATM cards
  • Used in the pharmaceutical industry to add color to tablets and capsules
  • Used as makeup products that remain on the surface of the skin


  • Future applications of iron oxides includes high definition posters, pictures, and energy efficient color displays. Laptop screens would be much more visible in bright sunlight as the nanorod technology diffracts color from the visible light around it. Battery life would also be greatly extended.

    Another positive is that iron oxide is a cheap resource, non toxic and plentiful.

  • Durable and natural


  • Iron oxides are gentle and non-toxic in cosmetic products placed on the surface of the skin, although they aren’t suitable for permanent cosmetics placed into the dermal layer of the skin since they can be absorbed by blood vessels and lead to color changes. They’re usually not irritating to the skin and aren’t known to allergenic. The few reports of allergic reactions to iron oxides have turned out to be an allergy to nickel instead. Iron oxides typically don’t cause problems even for people with sensitive skin. All in all, they’re safe and non-irritating in the amounts found in cosmetic products.

Other Names

Iron oxide, Iron (II) oxide




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