January 01, 2023

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REFERENCE LAB

5 Reasons Why Zinc Oxide Is Our Preferred UV Filter

_LEARN

/

REFERENCE LAB

January 01, 2023

5 Reasons Why Zinc Oxide Is Our Preferred UV Filter

Lost in the SPF aisle? We’ve all been there. Avobenzone, octinoxate, oxybenzone: the ingredients are confusing, the options are endless, and the internet is rarely helpful when it comes to figuring out which type of SPF is best for your skin. While every UV filter has its pros and cons, as scientists, we believe there’s one that clearly outperforms the rest: zinc oxide.

A naturally occurring mineral that has been used since 500 BC for its wound-healing properties, zinc oxide is a gentle sun protectant with some serious bonus benefits.¹ Ready to dig into the science? Let’s explore why this wonder mineral is the best UV filter for every skin type.

01What is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is an inorganic mineral primarily sourced from zinc ore found in the earth. ² Once mined, zinc ore is processed into a zinc oxide powder to improve its reactivity and dispersion properties.³ Used widely in the cosmetics industry, zinc oxide is also an essential component in pharmaceuticals and ceramics.

02 Why is zinc oxide used as a sunscreen?

Best known as a mineral or physical UV protectant, zinc oxide forms a physical barrier on the skin's surface that reflects and scatters the sun's rays before they have the chance to penetrate into the skin.

03Why is zinc oxide better than other UV filters?

Unlike the other most common mineral protectant, titanium dioxide, zinc offers broad spectrum coverage against both aging UVA rays and sunburn-causing UVB rays. This means that with just one ingredient, your skin is protected against two of the most harmful types of sun exposure.⁴

Zinc also outperforms the other most common class of UV filters: chemical protectants. Rather than reflecting the sun’s rays, chemical SPF active ingredients absorb into the skin and convert UV radiation into heat. This can be problematic for sensitive skin types, with side effects including stinging and itching. There is also some evidence that chemical protectants absorb into the bloodstream. While more research is needed to determine their effects, there are concerns that these ingredients may have unwanted health impacts, especially if used as frequently as recommended. ⁵

In general, zinc oxide is well-tolerated by sensitive skin and can even be used to calm irritated skin. ⁶ Plus, because zinc doesn’t reach the bloodstream, we don’t have to worry about the health concerns associated with chemical filters.

04What are the other benefits of zinc oxide for skin?

In addition to its UV-blocking properties, zinc oxide has some very compelling bonus benefits.

#1 Zinc oxide helps prevent skin infections

By forming a physical barrier on the skin’s surface, zinc oxide actively inhibits bacteria from binding onto your skin. This can help keep irritated or broken skin from experiencing further damage as a result of external bacteria.7 Plus, zinc oxide has been shown to stimulate collagen, enhancing the structural integrity of the skin and shrinking pore size.⁸ With smaller pores, the skin barrier is less permeable, making it more difficult for bacterial pathogens to penetrate.

#2 Zinc oxide helps treat & prevent acne

While other UV filters can irritate acne-prone skin, zinc oxide has been shown to actually calm and clear breakouts. Thanks to its action as a natural antioxidant, zinc helps reduce inflammation in the skin, soothing red and puffy breakouts. Plus, zinc’s antimicrobial properties help deter acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin.

Zinc can even help prevent new breakouts by controlling oil production at the hormonal level. Oil glands are overstimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone that’s present in both men and women. Not only does zinc absorb excess oil, it also blocks DHT, inhibiting the root hormonal cause of oily skin.⁹

#3 Zinc oxide supports wound healing

Zinc may help you bounce back from breakouts faster by supporting your body’s natural wound healing abilities. Topical application of zinc oxide has been shown to improve cellular turnover and collagen deposition. With fresh new skin cells and more collagen, your skin can recover faster from minor skin trauma like breakouts with less scarring. ¹⁰

#4 Zinc oxide improves skin texture

Thanks to its oil-reducing and collagen-boosting properties, zinc oxide may help your skin look smoother and healthier. Uneven skin texture is often a result of enlarged pores. Pores stretch when they become blocked by hardened sebum and dead skin cells. As the skin continues to produce oil, that oil tries to escape from behind the pore blockage, stretching the edges of the pore. By acting as an astringent, zinc oxide helps shrink the look of pores and give skin a smoother texture.¹¹

#5 Zinc oxide may help prevent skin cancer

New research has shown that zinc oxide may also have anti-cancer properties. In a study, zinc oxide nanoparticles were seen selectively targeting and killing skin cancer cells.¹² This means that zinc oxide could potentially reduce the risk of skin cancer.

05How can I integrate zinc oxide into my routine?

The easiest way to get the benefits of zinc in your skincare routine is to use a sunscreen powered by zinc oxide. With an SPF, you’ll get a higher concentration of zinc oxide every single day.

06Key Takeaways

  • Zinc oxide is a mineral and powerful UV filter used to protect the skin against the damaging effects of sun exposure.
  • It is superior to other mineral sunscreens because it effectively shields the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Unlike chemical UV-blockers, zinc oxide is gentle on sensitive skin because it physically deflects UV rays and does not absorb into the skin.
  • In addition to its UV-blocking properties, zinc oxide can help control acne, balance oil, support wound healing, improve skin texture and even prevent skin cancer.

References

  1. https://draxe.com/health/zinc-oxide-benefits/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5453364/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4243478/
  4. https://www.citracakralogam.com/titanium-dioxide-vs-zinc-oxide-sunscreens-which-one-is-better/.
  5. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840400/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9036266/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10053511/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120804/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840400
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998263/

Lost in the SPF aisle? We’ve all been there. Avobenzone, octinoxate, oxybenzone: the ingredients are confusing, the options are endless, and the internet is rarely helpful when it comes to figuring out which type of SPF is best for your skin. While every UV filter has its pros and cons, as scientists, we believe there’s one that clearly outperforms the rest: zinc oxide.

A naturally occurring mineral that has been used since 500 BC for its wound-healing properties, zinc oxide is a gentle sun protectant with some serious bonus benefits.¹ Ready to dig into the science? Let’s explore why this wonder mineral is the best UV filter for every skin type.

01What is Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is an inorganic mineral primarily sourced from zinc ore found in the earth. ² Once mined, zinc ore is processed into a zinc oxide powder to improve its reactivity and dispersion properties.³ Used widely in the cosmetics industry, zinc oxide is also an essential component in pharmaceuticals and ceramics.

02 Why is zinc oxide used as a sunscreen?

Best known as a mineral or physical UV protectant, zinc oxide forms a physical barrier on the skin's surface that reflects and scatters the sun's rays before they have the chance to penetrate into the skin.

03Why is zinc oxide better than other UV filters?

Unlike the other most common mineral protectant, titanium dioxide, zinc offers broad spectrum coverage against both aging UVA rays and sunburn-causing UVB rays. This means that with just one ingredient, your skin is protected against two of the most harmful types of sun exposure.⁴

Zinc also outperforms the other most common class of UV filters: chemical protectants. Rather than reflecting the sun’s rays, chemical SPF active ingredients absorb into the skin and convert UV radiation into heat. This can be problematic for sensitive skin types, with side effects including stinging and itching. There is also some evidence that chemical protectants absorb into the bloodstream. While more research is needed to determine their effects, there are concerns that these ingredients may have unwanted health impacts, especially if used as frequently as recommended. ⁵

In general, zinc oxide is well-tolerated by sensitive skin and can even be used to calm irritated skin. ⁶ Plus, because zinc doesn’t reach the bloodstream, we don’t have to worry about the health concerns associated with chemical filters.

04What are the other benefits of zinc oxide for skin?

In addition to its UV-blocking properties, zinc oxide has some very compelling bonus benefits.

#1 Zinc oxide helps prevent skin infections

By forming a physical barrier on the skin’s surface, zinc oxide actively inhibits bacteria from binding onto your skin. This can help keep irritated or broken skin from experiencing further damage as a result of external bacteria.7 Plus, zinc oxide has been shown to stimulate collagen, enhancing the structural integrity of the skin and shrinking pore size.⁸ With smaller pores, the skin barrier is less permeable, making it more difficult for bacterial pathogens to penetrate.

#2 Zinc oxide helps treat & prevent acne

While other UV filters can irritate acne-prone skin, zinc oxide has been shown to actually calm and clear breakouts. Thanks to its action as a natural antioxidant, zinc helps reduce inflammation in the skin, soothing red and puffy breakouts. Plus, zinc’s antimicrobial properties help deter acne-causing bacteria on the surface of the skin.

Zinc can even help prevent new breakouts by controlling oil production at the hormonal level. Oil glands are overstimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone that’s present in both men and women. Not only does zinc absorb excess oil, it also blocks DHT, inhibiting the root hormonal cause of oily skin.⁹

#3 Zinc oxide supports wound healing

Zinc may help you bounce back from breakouts faster by supporting your body’s natural wound healing abilities. Topical application of zinc oxide has been shown to improve cellular turnover and collagen deposition. With fresh new skin cells and more collagen, your skin can recover faster from minor skin trauma like breakouts with less scarring. ¹⁰

#4 Zinc oxide improves skin texture

Thanks to its oil-reducing and collagen-boosting properties, zinc oxide may help your skin look smoother and healthier. Uneven skin texture is often a result of enlarged pores. Pores stretch when they become blocked by hardened sebum and dead skin cells. As the skin continues to produce oil, that oil tries to escape from behind the pore blockage, stretching the edges of the pore. By acting as an astringent, zinc oxide helps shrink the look of pores and give skin a smoother texture.¹¹

#5 Zinc oxide may help prevent skin cancer

New research has shown that zinc oxide may also have anti-cancer properties. In a study, zinc oxide nanoparticles were seen selectively targeting and killing skin cancer cells.¹² This means that zinc oxide could potentially reduce the risk of skin cancer.

05How can I integrate zinc oxide into my routine?

The easiest way to get the benefits of zinc in your skincare routine is to use a sunscreen powered by zinc oxide. With an SPF, you’ll get a higher concentration of zinc oxide every single day.

06Key Takeaways

  • Zinc oxide is a mineral and powerful UV filter used to protect the skin against the damaging effects of sun exposure.
  • It is superior to other mineral sunscreens because it effectively shields the skin from both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Unlike chemical UV-blockers, zinc oxide is gentle on sensitive skin because it physically deflects UV rays and does not absorb into the skin.
  • In addition to its UV-blocking properties, zinc oxide can help control acne, balance oil, support wound healing, improve skin texture and even prevent skin cancer.

References

  1. https://draxe.com/health/zinc-oxide-benefits/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5453364/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4243478/
  4. https://www.citracakralogam.com/titanium-dioxide-vs-zinc-oxide-sunscreens-which-one-is-better/.
  5. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840400/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9036266/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10053511/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120804/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840400
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998263/

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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