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Ingredient Truths: Zinc Oxide Fights Aging, Acne, and Infections

by kelly / July, 24 2019 01:30

Zinc oxide can do it all. It protects and fights for your skin. You might know it mainly as a sunscreen ingredient but it can do so much more. Learn why having zinc on your side is a great thing for your skin.

What Is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is powdered, oxidized zinc made from zincite - a metallic compound found in nature.

Zinc oxide has been used for thousands of years. In fact the first use I could find is mentioned in Indian medical texts from 500 BC – as a salve for eyes and open wounds.

Today zinc oxide is a multi-functional ingredient that’s used from sunscreens to diaper creams to fortified cereals to first aid ointments.

Zinc Oxide Protects Your Skin

Of course we’re big fans of zinc oxide as a mineral UV filter. It’s one of only 17 active ingredients currently approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in sunscreens and many consider zinc oxide (and titanium dioxide) to be the safer alternative to the other chemical active ingredients on the FDA list. In fact, recently the FDA decided to take another look at sunscreen ingredients and so far only zinc and titanium have been designated as GRASE (generally recognized as safe and effective).

Zinc oxide is also the only active ingredient on the list of 17 that provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays – the others generally protect against either UVA or UVB but not both. Remember UVA and UVB rays can cause sunburn, skin aging, and skin damage. So if you want to reduce the signs of aging and sun damage use sunscreen Laughing!

How does it work? Zinc oxide acts as a barrier on your skin against the sun’s UV rays. A sunblock made with zinc oxide sits on top of your skin to reflect the sun’s rays while a chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin absorbing the sun’s rays. Kind of interesting.

For even more on zinc oxide / mineral sunscreens vs. chemical sunscreen check out our posts:

Zinc Oxide the Fighter For Your Skin

We’re really here to talk about what zinc oxide can do beyond sun protection, which is awesome in itself. You see zinc oxide has the ability to reduce skin irritation, fight acne and treat bacterial infections.

Reduce Skin Irritation

In addition to being a vital ingredient in sunscreen – it’s also a key ingredient in diaper rash creams. Zinc helps to soothe and protect sensitive baby skin from irritation. A study from 2006 found that 5% zinc oxide could lower symptoms of irritation in infants with irritant diaper dermatitis caused from diarrhea.

Fight Acne

According to a 2013 study “the preponderance of evidence suggests zinc has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and that it may decrease sebum production.” Sebum production is often related to acne development.

Antimicrobial Properties

You might not know this but zinc oxide is widely used in wound treatment. In a 2017 publication in Dermatology Surgery zinc oxide received high marks for wound care: patients who received zinc oxide dressings were more likely to fully heal than patients who received standard wound care.

Additionally some studies show that the topical application of zinc oxide exhibits antibacterial activity and reduces bacterial skin infections.

That’s enough to convince me zinc oxide is a pretty powerful ingredient!

Block Island Organics and Zinc Oxide

Of course we love zinc oxide and it’s the main ingredient in our sunscreens: Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 and Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30. It’s the only UV filter we use in our SPF products – no chemical UV filters for us.

Zinc oxide really is such an awesome sun protection filter and has so many potential bonus benefits!

Ingredient Truths

For even more in depth analysis of our ingredients check out Our Ingredients page and our Ingredient Truths blog series.

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