What is Zinc Oxide?

For over 2 000 years, zinc oxide had been a great help in dealing with wounds or burns. Looking back at the historical records, it had shown that this mineral was first used in healing the skin naturally. It was first described around 500 B.C. in an ancient Indian medicinal script. Nowadays, the benefit of this mineral has become broader. In fact, according to the Official Publication of the International Association of Aesthetics, zinc oxide is now deemed as one of the key ingredients found in products like diaper rash creams, mineral sunscreens, acne treatments, and lotions.

You may be wondering what this mineral is? Zinc oxide is a type of metallic element made out of zinc. It is found in nature and is used not only in cosmetic products but as well as in household, electronic, and chemical products. Just like the other metallic elements like iron and magnesium, zinc carries a certain electric charge, which gives benefits to the body. Its special benefits affect various systems in our body, specifically the brain, skin, digestive system, and immune system. Inside our body, it was also used as a type of building block for the synthesis of protein, metabolic process, and enzyme creations. 

Although zinc oxide can be found in nature, it does not occur naturally. This element is created when zinc is chemically heated and combined with oxygen molecules. These two elements are then vaporized, condensed, which later on formed into a fine, crystallized, and white powder. 

In the recent breakthroughs, the zinc oxide particle size had later on led to an increase of zinc oxide sunscreen and creams. It was in the year 2008 when researchers had created nanoparticles of zinc oxide. This resulted in a revolution in skincare and sunscreen. With this, the zinc oxide can now be applied to the human’s skin without leaving a white, thick film. This had opened doors for a much broader acceptance of natural sunscreen products. Nevertheless, it was still criticized whether these zinc oxide nanoparticles are really safe. 

What are the Benefits of Zinc Oxide?

With the advent of Science and Technology, researchers have found out that zinc oxide has the following benefits and uses:

  • It helps lower the skin inflammation that is associated with allergies, irritation, and rashes, including diaper rash. 
  • Zinc oxide also provides a broad spectrum of sun protection that helps prevent burns, even to those who have photosensitive skin. 
  • Aside from those mentioned above, Zinc Oxide also provides protection against neoplasia and skin cancer. 
  • Zinc oxide also improves wound healing, as well as prevents bacterial infections.
  • It also aids in burns or damaged tissues.
  • It helps to treat acne. 
  • This element also keeps the moisture locked into dry skin. 
  • Treat warts
  • Treats melasma
  • Reduce dandruff
  • It improves collagen synthesis and helps in forming new connective tissues. 

Since zinc oxide is not a water-soluble element, it needs to be mixed with a carrier in order for it to be effective. It is most commonly added to topical solutions, such as skin foundation, sunscreens, balms, or moisturizers. Additionally, some lotions and creams may contain zinc oxide so that the oily substance can seep through the skin. Interestingly, zinc can form barriers over the skin to keep our skin moisturized. 

One of the greatest reputations of this element is its role as an alternative to chemical formulations of skincare products. Other chemical ingredients usually cause sunburns, allergies, or irritations to sensitive skins. In fact, according to research, 75% of sunscreens are deemed toxic, and that it hides several irritating chemicals. However, zinc oxide has many ways on how it blocks the human skin against U.V. light. With that, it is a better choice to use in skincare products. 

Furthermore, zinc is a mineral that has the ability to sit atop the skin and reflect the sun by scattering the U.V. rays. It is also notable as a physical barrier substance due to its scattering ability. Unlike zinc oxide, other chemicals used in sunscreens most commonly absorb U.V. rays and trapped them inside the skin to avoid penetrating into deeper layers. One of these chemicals is oxybenzone, which can cause toxicity and irritation to the skin.