By Julia Beyer - August 7, 2020
Zinc Oxide in its rawest form is a white powdery mineral with a long history of uses in sun protection. But it has far more benefits than only protecting your skin from sun damage. Since it works like a gentle astringent that also comes with antiseptic action, it works as a topical protectant for skin harm in several areas (we’ll explain in detail what this means). Zinc Oxide is one of the needed trace minerals that your body requires for the formation and repair of connective tissue and therefore supports your skin in healing damaged, dry and wounded areas. Before we explain in depth why Zinc Oxide is great for your skin, let’s start with defining Nano and Non-Nano Zinc Oxide.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NANO AND Non-Nano Zinc Oxide?
Nano means that a particle is smaller than 100mm and therefore has to be measured in nano meter which equals one-billionth of a meter. Because of its tiny size, Nano Zinc Oxide can absorb into the bloodstream and has been traced in human urine. Not only has it been shown to have the potential of effecting human health but it has also been found to have the potential of threatening coral reefs through bleaching them, just as chemical UV filters would. This small size of Zinc Oxide particles is usually used in personal care products because it leaves less of a white cast on your skin than the Non-Nano version of it.
We prefer to use products that are safe for our skin and our environment, even if that might mean that you see a slight white shimmer when using our sunscreen (don’t worry, we also offer tinted sunscreens). This is the reason why we at Suntribe only use Zinc Oxide in its non nano form. Non Nano means it is larger than 100nm and therefore won’t penetrate your skin. Besides it being the safest option of UV filter to use for human health, it has also been shown to be the safest option for marine life and coral reefs, since Zinc Oxide in its Non-Nano form has been shown not to harm marine wildlife.
What is the difference between Coated and uncoated Zinc oxide?
Coated Zinc Oxide refers to Zinc Oxide that has been coated with an inert substance, most commonly triethoxycaprylylsilane, to make it easier to mix with the other ingredients and to (allegedly) prevent the development of free radicals.
At Suntribe we decided to only use uncoated pharmaceutical grade Zinc Oxide in our products for the following reasons:
– Triethoxycaprylylsilane and other coatings are not in alignment with our ingredient standards because they are synthetic and not purely natural ingredients. We therefore use uncoated Zinc Oxide which comes closest to the ingredient as it can be found in nature.
– Instead of using coated Zinc Oxide as a shortcut to a more homogeneous formula, we have finetuned our production process so that we can effectively mix the uncoated Zinc Oxide with the other ingredients.
– The small amount of free radicals generated by Zinc Oxide can even be contained with the body’s own antioxidants, and since we do not use nanoparticles the Zinc Oxide particles in our sunscreens sits on the outer dead layer of the skin where free radicals can not damage any living cells as confirmed by this study conducted by the Australian government.
– Coatings are not sufficiently effective in decreasing the development of free radicals, in this study for example the authors found that the photoreactivity was extremely low for both uncoated and coated Zinc Oxide (whereas it was higher for both coated and uncoated Titanium Dioxide).
– Uncoated Zinc Oxide has been safely used in topical skin care products such as calamine lotion and diaper rash cream for centuries. We add ingredients such as Coconut Oil and Vitamin E to our formulas which also help to absorb any free radicals should they develop, and not be absorbed by the skin’s own antioxidants already.
Now that we know it’s safe, let’s look at which benefits uncoated Zinc Oxide offers for your skin and health!
1) Zinc Oxide Acts as Natural UV-filter
The fact that Zinc Oxide offers natural broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays makes it the safest UV filter available right now and is recommended by scientists as a safe alternative to chemical UV filters. It helps to protect cells from being damaged, halts the aging process and prevents skin dryness by filtering harmful UV rays. It is effective right after application since it forms a natural barrier between your skin and sunlight.
2) Zinc Oxide Supports Healing
Zinc Oxide diminishes the tenderness that can be caused by sunburns. It gives chapped skin a soft feeling and helps with skin repair by keeping the area surrounding the wound moist and clean. How cool is that – Zinc Oxide helps both to prevent sunburn and if you do get sunburned, it makes it heal faster!
3) Zinc Oxide is a Skin Astringent
Zinc Oxide prevents oil formation on the surface of your skin and works effectively in drying excess oils. It also helps to revive your skin’s glow by shrinking large pores and tightening skin to help conceal damages.
4) ZINC CAN HELP TREAT ACNE
Zinc Oxide naturally comates skin irritations and inflammation to keep problems with acne breakouts away. It helps regulate sebum production in the skin and also contributes to lowering antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which commonly trigger acne. It helps lower inflammation that also occurs as a reaction to this bacteria-induced skin condition. It lowers clogged pores and the possibility of the recurrence of acne.
5) ZINC OXIDE CAN HELP TO RELIEVE INFLAMMATION
Because of its natural properties that provide inflammation relief Zinc Oxide is often used in products for treatment of cold sores, skin ulcer, bruns, skin irritation, scrapes, and diaper rash. As already mentioned above, it helps facilitate the growth of new tissue and the healing process of the skin by preventing further inflammations.
6) ZINC OXIDE PREVENTS BACTERIAL INFECTIONS
Zinc Oxide prevents bacterial infection by keeping your skin dry and reducing the chance for contaminates to penetrate it. It also contributes to lowering incidences of infections while also reducing skin permeability and improving your skin’s tightness to keep bacteria away.
Who is Zinc Oxide Good for?
The answer is everyone! Thanks to the inflammatory properties of Zinc Oxide, even people with sensitive skin, rosacea and acne benefit from the use of it. But also people with skin discoloration, including melasma and hyperpigmentation, will benefit from it. While chemical UV filters can contribute to skin discolorations, Zinc Oxide is safe to use and can help to reduce these skin conditions.
OUr conclusion about zinc oxide
Zinc Oxide is a proven-effective ingredient and is considered the safest UV filter available, for example according to the EWG (Environmental Working Group). Since experts consider daily sun protection one of the healthiest skin habits, using a product like a mineral day cream, makeup, sunscreen, etc. containing Zinc Oxide, is a great choice for all round daily protection for every type of skin.
about the author
Hej! I’m Julia, one of the founders of Suntribe. I really enjoy being outdoors as much as possible while going surfing, running or swimming. Over the past few years I have started to live with very few things, and I choose those things carefully. I started Suntribe with my two co-founders because I believe there are better and more environmentally-friendly alternatives to existing cosmetics, and now I am the one developing them!