Ingredient focus

Ingredient in Focus: Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is best-known in {skin care} for its superpower as a UV blocker. It’s so effective, in fact, that it’s used as an alternative to chemical UV filters in many {SPF} products! And aside from its status as a sun-protection saviour, there’s a lot else to celebrate when it comes to this ingredient…

So where to begin…well, it helps to heal wounds and soothe irritation, it regulates oil production and minimises breakouts and it even has anti-ageing properties — it’s pretty much the unsung hero of the skin care world!

WHY IS ZINC OXIDE GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN?

A NATURAL SPF

Zinc oxide is undeniably one of the best sunscreen ingredients out there. It provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, making it ideal for both daily and intense sun exposure, and it’s also water-resistant, so it’ll keep protecting you even when you’re sweating or swimming.

Unlike chemical UV filters, which penetrate the upper layers of your skin and absorb UV rays to protect the deeper layers, zinc oxide forms a shield over the skin’s surface, providing next-level sun protection that your skin will thank you for. This is known as physical sunscreen.

HEALS WOUNDS

That shield we just mentioned? This can help wounds to heal too, as the protective layer is antibacterial and protects against infection. Zinc oxide also helps with tissue growth and regeneration, helping to speed up the healing process. On that note…

ANTI-AGEING

By supporting tissue growth and regeneration, as well as the production of {collagen}, zinc oxide helps to keep skin healthy, plump and elastic, which in turn helps to prevent wrinkles and fine lines.

BANISHES BREAKOUTS

Zinc oxide helps to regulate sebum (oil) production, which can work wonders for your complexion by minimising shine and reducing the chance of unwanted {breakouts}. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help to kill bacteria and soothe any flare ups too.

WHAT SKIN TYPE IS ZINC OXIDE GOOD FOR?

Zinc oxide is ideal for use as an SPF for most skin types, but especially for young and {sensitive skin}. Since it sits on the surface of the skin instead of absorbing in (which is what most chemical UV filters do), it can be less irritating for sensitive skin.

One drawback of zinc oxide is that it’s naturally bright white and pretty thick, so if you have a darker skin tone you might find your skin takes on a slightly grey-ish hue when wearing zinc oxide products. That said, formulas are constantly evolving and many SPFs and other products made with zinc oxide no longer leave that unwanted white cast on your skin.

CAN YOU USE ZINC OXIDE EVERY DAY?

Products containing zinc oxide are generally safe to be used every day, and it goes without saying that you should wear {SPF} as part of your daily skin care regime. But of course, always check product instructions and use your new products according to the manufacturer’s advice.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ZINC OXIDE PRODUCTS?

From sunscreens and serums to blemish treatments and masks, here are some of our favourite zinc oxide creams, serums and treatments:

THE SOOTHING SUNSCREEN

Tired of sticky sunblock? {Biossance’s} {Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen} is a lightweight physical sunscreen that combines sustainably sourced squalane and zinc oxide to hydrate, soothe and protect without feeling heavy of cloying. It’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin, and can be layered over your favourite serum and moisturiser (or even used in place of your regular moisturiser).

THE REVITALISING MASK

Zinc oxide is accompanied by calcium, magnesium and copper in {Omorovicza’s} {Deep Cleansing Mask}, and the result is a revitalising, mineral-rich treatment that re-energises and brightens skin, evens tone, mattifies shine and draws out impurities (yes please!). With Hungary’s unique healing waters and thermal mud forming the base of this product, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight out of Budapest’s baths every time you use it.

THE BLEMISH BUSTER

Put the oil-controlling aspect of zinc oxide to the test with {Kate Somerville’s} {EradiKate Blemish Treatment}. It’s formulated with 10% sulphur (the highest level allowed in skin care) to fight blemishes, salicylic acid to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and zinc oxide to absorb excess sebum. The result is clearer skin that lasts. A must-have for all those battling breakouts, this will quickly become your ultimate ally.

THE SPF SERUM

Some chemical SPFs can play havoc with your skin, but {ZITSTICKA’s} {MEGASHADE Breakout Proof SPF Serum} will protect your skin from the sun while beating blemishes and soothing breakouts. Combining zinc oxide’s broad-spectrum UV protection with the skin-nourishing benefits of a serum (hello niacinamide and hyaluronic acid), this two-in-one formula should be a staple in your morning skin care routine.

SHOP ZINC OXIDE >>



Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert