Zinc Oxide: Everything You Need To Know

What is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is a mineral-derived sunscreen ingredient. Ideal for both daily and intense sun exposure because of its ability to block the widest spectrum of UV light, zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

What does Zinc Oxide Do To The Skin?

What zinc oxide is most commonly used for is in physical SPFs: “It sits on top of the skin and forms a protective barrier which refracts UVA and UVB rays from the skin,” says Rick, as opposed to chemical SPFs that absorb the rays before they can get into – and harm – the skin. The benefit of using a zinc oxide-based physical sunscreen is that it’s far less likely to aggravate skin (chemical ones are known to exacerbate easily-irritated skin) although in the past they’ve also been known to look powdery or white on the skin. Recent technological advances mean that micro-zinc oxide particles are a thing, making that thick white paste a thing of the past.

How does zinc oxide work?

Zinc oxide is a physical UV filter that reflects and scatters damaging UVA and UVB rays off the skin’s surface to help to prevent sunburn and long-term sun damage. Unlike chemical UV filters that penetrate the uppermost layers of the skin to absorb UV rays before they can damage deeper layers, physical sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide form a shield-like UV barrier on the skin’s surface

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