The grey clouds are upon us and the rains have washed away remnants of the summer we thought would melt us all. But, just because it isn’t sunny doesn’t mean you stop wearing sunscreen. Now, you know how much we enjoy putting ingredients under the microscope. And when it comes to sunscreen, the conversation isn’t complete without talking about Zinc Oxide. Zinc is the active ingredient in some of the best products out there. Why? What does it do? How can you benefit from it? Let’s find out.
So, what’s Zinc Oxide?
You’ve already seen Zinc Oxide in use plenty of times. That white layer you see on sportsmen’s noses and cheeks? That’s it. The medicinal uses of zinc go back all the way to 2000 years ago, when the mineral was used to treat burns and wounds. Today, it’s widely used in diaper creams, calamine lotions, moisturisers and sunscreens.
Zinc is naturally available in nature, but zinc oxide is formed by combining it with oxygen molecules. Then, it’s vaporised, condensed and broken down into fine, white powder which is later used in many forms in a variety of skincare products.
Zinc Oxide comes with a whole bunch of skin benefits.
- Sun protection: Zinc oxide forms a protective layer on the skin’s surface, providing broad spectrum sun protection, and preventing sunburn and photosensitivity.
- Anti-inflammatory: heals skin from rashes, allergies and irritation.
- Improves healing:promotes faster recovery of skin from wounds, burns, tissue damage and bacterial infections.
- Anti-acne and anti-dandruff: helps treat acne breakouts. Its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and soothing properties also help control flaky scalp.
- Moisturising:Zinc oxide is non-water soluble. Which means, when applied onto skin, it forms a barrier that locks in moisture and prevents dryness.
- Improves collagen synthesis:Zinc oxide helps the skin break down collagen, absorb it better and boost the formation of new connective tissue.
Perhaps the only downside to zinc oxide is that it leaves a white film on the skin. But recent formulations have managed to fix that issue as well. In rare cases though, it has been known to cause allergic reactions that include swelling, itching and tingling. Be sure to do a patch test if your skin is extra-sensitive.
Who is it suited for?
Fortunately, everyone! It locks in moisture, preventing dry skin from drying out further. It’s gentle and soothing enough for sensitive skin. It helps control sebum production and is anti-bacterial and non-comedogenic – ideal for oily and acne-prone skin.
Considering how sunscreens and moisturisers are essential to any skincare regime and need to be used on a daily basis, the gentler it is the better. Thus, products with zinc oxide are better than the rest because of its soothing formulation. So, the next time you’re checking ingredients and find this little compound, you know what to do!