Zinc has been used to help deal with burns and wounds for over 2000 years. Records show that zinc was first used in a natural healing skin salve in ancient Indian medicinal scripts around the year 500 B.C. Today, zinc oxide benefits are even more broad and safer than alternate chemical ingredients in sunscreen.
Zinc oxide is a key active ingredient in many diaper rash creams, calamine lotions, mineral sunscreens, vitamin supplements and acne treatments sold in drug stores or prescribed by doctors.
While zinc itself can be found in nature, zinc oxide is not naturally-occurring, but rather created when zinc is chemically heated and combined with oxygen molecules. The two elements are vaporized, condensed, and result in a powder that is fine, white, crystallized and sits on top of the skin providing a protective layer.
Recent breakthroughs in zinc oxide particle size has led to a major increase zinc oxide cream and zinc oxide sunscreen. Researchers created nano-sized zinc oxide particles. These advanced formulas of zinc oxide are now capable of being applied to the skin without leaving behind a thick, white film. This makes them more acceptable as a natural sunscreen products.
Zinc Oxide Facts, Plus How It Works
Zinc oxide has been found to have the following uses and benefits:
- Helping to lower skin inflammation associated with rashes, allergies or irritation (including diaper rash)
- Providing broad-spectrum sun protection that prevents burns (including on photo-sensitive skin)
- Providing protection from skin cancer/neoplasms (basal cell carcinoma)
- Improving wound healing and preventing bacterial infections
- Aiding in recovery of burns and damaged tissue
- Helping to treat acne breakouts
- Keeping moisture locked into dry skin
- Reducing dandruff
- Treating warts
- Lowering inflammatory dermatoses (including rosacea)
- Treating pigmentary disorders (melasma)
- Preventing aging of the skin
- Improving synthesis of collagen and forming of new connective tissue
Zinc’s greatest benefit is its role as a natural alternative to chemical skincare formulations. Chemical ingredients often cause irritation, allergies or sunburns, particularly on sensitive skin. In fact, up to 75 percent of sunscreens are toxic, hiding many irritating chemicals. There are several ways that zinc oxide works on the skin to block sun damage from UV light, making it a better choice to chemical skincare products:
- Because zinc is a mineral, it has the ability to sit atop the skin and reflect the sun by scattering away ultraviolet rays. Zinc oxide is called a “physical barrier substance” for this reason rather than a “chemical substance.”
- As opposed to physical barrier solutions, chemical sunscreens absorb ultraviolet rays and keep them trapped on the surface of the skin so they cannot penetrate into deeper layers. Chemical sunscreens commonly include ingredients such as oxybenzone, an ingredient now being tied to irritation and toxicity.
- The issue with most commercial products is that individual chemicals often work by blocking either UVA or UVB rays, but not both types. This means that chemical sunscreen manufacturers need to combine several different formulas/solutions into one product to prevent burns from happening. The more chemicals that are added, the higher the chances are for negative reactions, allergies and irritation. In sensitive skin,chemical sunscreens won’t always prevent cancer and might cause reactions like hives, swelling and acne.
Given all these reasons, I recommend that people use the Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30. Its main ingredient is zinc and is formulated for sensitive skin.