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Zinc Oxide

What is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound that is insoluble in water, and is widely used as an additive in numerous materials and products including plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, lubricants, paints, ointments, adhesives, sealants, pigments, foods, batteries, ferrites, fire retardants, and first aid tapes. It occurs naturally as the mineral zincite but most zinc oxide is produced synthetically.

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Zinc Oxide's Benefits for Skin

Zinc oxide as a mixture with about 0.5% iron(III) oxide is called calamine and is used in calamine lotion. Reflecting the basic properties of ZnO, fine particles of the oxide have deodorizing and antibacterial properties. Zinc oxide is widely used to treat a variety of other skin conditions, in products such as baby powder and barrier creams to treat diaper rashes, calamine cream, anti-dandruff shampoos, and antiseptic ointments.

Zinc oxide can also be used in ointments, creams, and lotions to protect against sunburn and other damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet. It is the broadest spectrum UVA and UVB reflector that is approved for use as a sunscreen by the FDA, and is completely photostable. When used as an ingredient in sunscreen, zinc oxide sits on the skin’s surface and is not absorbed into the skin, and blocks both UVA and UVB rays of ultraviolet light. Because zinc oxide is not absorbed into the skin, it is nonirritating, nonallergenic, and non-comedogenic.

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