What is Zinc Oxide?
We use so many products every day and many of us have no idea what it is we are putting onto or into our bodies. But many of the ingredients we use are, as they should, protecting us from the sun’s harmful rays, preventing skin irritations and dryness, and easing discomfort.
There are some ingredients in your cosmetic arsenal that could help deal with many of these issues. For example, Zinc Oxide is one of the safe ingredients you should be thankful for if you have incorporated it into your daily skincare routine.
First, a little background. Zinc Oxide is a unique mineral that has been used to protect the skin since the 1980s. In fact, this formula was one of the first to be discovered as having natural SPF-protection capabilities and has been making its way up in the world of skincare ever since.
Need a little proof? According to Drugs.com “Zinc oxide is a mineral. Zinc oxide topical (for the skin) is used to treat diaper rash, minor burns, severely chapped skin, or other minor skin irritations.”
So, not only does this special little substance help treat irritations on the skin and protection from environmental pollutants, but it is most commonly used for powerful SPF protection.
Under its scientific name, ZnO this little additive stands for “one zinc atom and one oxygen atom that is held in place by an ionic bond” as defined by Project Sunscreen.
Being a natural mineral, this compound is one of the safest and most organic ways to fight against ultraviolet radiation without the harsh, chemically-based, and commonly silent downsides of the everyday SPF active ingredients on the market.
Usually found in a Zinc Oxide powder substance, this ingredient can be mixed into a variety of products for easy sun protection and calm, non-irritated skin for years to come.
Why use Zinc Oxide?
If you ever find yourself on the beach or at the park with your little ones who have eczema or dry skin and you are worried about SPF protection, Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen is one of your best bets for safe protection without the hassle.
Certified dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, who works at Skinney Medspa confirms that “Zinc oxide is gentle enough to be used to treat skin irritations … a barrier cream, zinc oxide is helpful in treating … diaper rash, chapped skin, and minor burns.”
As stated above, Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral with some great properties for the skin. But why else should you seek it out in your daily products?
Well, for one, Zinc Oxide is known to reflect, refract, and deflect stronger and longer UV rays than your typical chemical-based sunscreens. Zinc Oxide is also known to be better for sensitive skin types or for those that suffer from eczema and dry skin since it is oil-free and does not leach into the pores.
Why is this important? Most chemical-based SPF products absorb into the skin’s pores which can cause existing skin irritations or allergies to flare up or to get worse. Also, common drugstore variety chemical SPF products often contain harsh ingredients that are absorbed into the body and the bloodstream in some cases.
Many of these SPF products also have a tendency to be formulated with dyes and artificial scents which can also cause issues and bad reactions in people with multiple chemical sensitivities or allergies.
Unlike these chemical-based SPF options, Zinc Oxide sits atop the skin’s natural barrier and provides natural skin-soothing results while being non-allergenic. So, it does not irritate the skin by absorbing deeply into the skin’s layers with harmful chemicals.
What are the uses of Zinc Oxide?
Since this powerful little substance is developed generally in a powder form, and is not water-soluble, it needs to be mixed into thicker, malleable substances like beeswax or essential oils in order to create smooth skin care applications, such as sunscreen products!
When used in a proper formulation, Zinc Oxide sits on top of the skin’s surface, and your skin still gets the sun protection it needs without being thick, absorbing slowly, or leaving a slick feeling after application. LASPA SPF products use a specially formulated zinc ingredient that is non-nano so the zinc particles are not able to cross the barrier of the skin.
It should be mentioned that Zinc Oxide is also gentle on the skin. In essence, it is harsh on UV rays, but considerate of the skin’s natural epidermis. This is a big reason why Zinc Oxide is often used to cure diaper rash on sensitive baby skin, and is even used in various soaps, foot powders, and personal care products for both prevention and treatment of various skin issues.
But, some of the most common Zinc Oxide-based products on the market are the usual, everyday sunscreens we carry around in our purses, cars, and pockets.
For example, the LASPA Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen is a Zinc Oxide cream and SPF protectant with many natural plant minerals, anti-oxidants, vitamins and essential oils without using harsh dyes or chemicals. Plus, the sheer application and antioxidants in this Zinc Oxide formula defend against free radicals and prevent cell damage.
Another product (specifically for those on the go) is the LASPA SPF50 Ultra Sunscreen Stick. Not only is this an extremely portable Zinc Oxide sunscreen that also contains Titanium Dioxide, it is also “95.7% certiﬁed organic ingredients to provide 98% broad-spectrum protection” as per the LASPA website.
Plus, this product is infused with a heavy dose of Vitamin D and E to nourish and protect the skin while it protects against the sun.
Who can use Zinc Oxide?
Zinc Oxide is for everybody. Since this is an organic material it can be used on all skin types regardless of common skin issues like acne, eczema, and dry skin.
However, Zinc Oxide could be a godsend for those looking to move away from drugstore chemical-based SPF protectants since it is particularly formulated to be non-irritating, non-comedogenic, antimicrobial, and is effective on sensitive skin.
This is especially helpful for the mothers out there who do not want to expose their children’s sensitive skin to harsh additives and ingredients while still ensuring full-spectrum ultraviolet protection. For use on children less than 6 months of age, LASPA recommends consulting a healthcare professional as per Health Canada guidelines.
Or, for those that suffer from eczema, chronic dry skin, rosacea, and other common skin irritations, the skin is often irritated by bargain brand SPF creams that often only make mild and severe irritations worse.
But, as shown on Healthline, there are other benefits to incorporating Zinc Oxide into your skincare routine:
“According to a 2014 review, when zinc sulfate was added to clobetasol cream, it showed a statistically significant improvement over the cream without zinc sulfate for people with chronic hand eczema. The researchers also indicated that with its strong antibacterial and antioxidant action, topical zinc oxide has also been used in treating atopic dermatitis.”
Precautions when using Zinc Oxide
No ingredient, formula, or product comes without precautionary warnings. Zinc Oxide has many benefits that all of us can benefit from. But, what are some of the things you should be wary of before using it on your skin?
Well, to be honest, there aren’t too many negative side effects to Zinc Oxide. Hence why many are flocking to products made with this formula.
According to RxList, “a very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare.” But, in the rare cases of those that use Zinc Oxide and have reactions, there is a possibility of skin irritation, itching, rashes, and the like.
If you do have a reaction to using Zinc Oxide, it is best to consult your doctor to see if you are potentially allergic to this ingredient.
Safer and Better SPF Protection
Though many of us love to grab the highest SPF protection on the shelf and then head off to the beach, cottage, and daily life, we should all be taking a closer look at the types of SPF we are looking to use because there may be better, non-chemical based alternatives.
Zinc Oxide is a new but tried and true way to ensure that sun protection is safe, natural, and non-irritating for all skin types, including those that are highly sensitive to new products and formulas. Plus, the skin benefits of Zinc Oxide alone are something we should all take into account.
As we have discussed in this review, this ingredient provides:
- Safe SPF Protection for all skin types, including children six months and up
- Non-irritating properties
- Relief from eczema and atopic dermatitis
- Non-comedogenic properties
- Non-allergenic effects
With all of the healthy attributes of this formula, is there anything more you could ask from an SPF protecting product? Especially when you have young children or even young adults that are waiting to conquer the world with calm, protected skin.
Some of us also struggle with finding a product that protects us from the sun, not causing skin conditions to be irritated or worsened, and helping to nourish the skin in the process.
With all that there is to worry about in life, the last thing that anyone should have to worry about is basic, daily ultraviolet protection no matter your skin type. Zinc Oxide is providing a natural way to fight against harmful rays and help skin health.