Zinc oxide is a key ingredient in most mineral sunscreens for good reason. Along with providing immediate, natural, and safe protection for our skin, zinc can provide other benefits to boosting our natural summer glow.
Sun protection should be a key component of our daily beauty routines and, most likely, it isn’t the most glamorous item on your vanity -- but it should be! Sunscreen with zinc oxide can keep your skin looking younger, even-toned and, most importantly, healthy for years to come. If you’re not already using a natural sunscreen, it’s important to understand what ingredients to look for to keep your skin safe from toxins while protecting you from harmful UVA/UVB rays.
Understanding Zinc Oxide
We've all heard of zinc -- the mineral ingredient famous for turning lifeguards’ noses white. Zinc oxide is a physical sunscreen that, unlike chemical sunscreen that uses ingredients to absorb UVA/UVB rays, sits on your skin as a barrier against UV rays.
Many avoid zinc because it may turn your skin a little chalky or pasty because it doesn’t get absorbed as easily as a chemical sunscreen however, newer elegant formulations are now available on the market that have improved textures and no chalky residue.
Zinc Oxide is More Than Just Sunscreen
Zinc oxide is especially beneficial for those of us with sensitive skin. According to Dr. Hadley King, MD, board certified dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa, ""Zinc oxide is gentle enough to be used to treat skin irritations ...a barrier cream, zinc oxide is helpful in treating skin irritations such as diaper rash, chapped skin, and minor burns." Since we should be applying sunscreen daily, it helps to treat the skin kindly with a gentle formulation.
If you struggle with sensitive or acne-prone skin, look for a sunblock with zinc oxide in one of the first five ingredients. According to Dr. King, “[zinc oxide] can help sooth the inflammation of acne and may reduce sebum production.” Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, can disrupt hormones and aggravate skin issues like rosacea and acne. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there’s no evidence of hormone disruption with zinc oxide-based mineral sunscreens.
All-Around Skin Protection
Mineral sunscreen is an ideal way to protect your skin, but it’s not the only way you should be staying safe from UV rays. Especially as we enter the summer vacation season, there are plenty of other steps we should be taking to shield our largest organ.
If you have to be outside, try to stay in the shade between the hours of 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. Even if your only time spent outside is walking the dog, the the EWG recommends wearing clothes to shade yourself from the sun’s rays. Make sure to apply sunscreen daily to your body, not just your face, and get accustomed to bringing a hat and sunglasses with you on the road. Check your skin often for moles and, even if you don’t see any evidence of growth, see a dermatologist at least once yearly for a professional mole-check.
When our skin is feeling too dried out after a day in the sun, we like to end our evening with a soothing DIY face mask made from ingredients we have in the kitchen. We love a moisturizing mix of half an avocado mixed with one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of greek yogurt
When we take care of our skin, it will be healthy and look radiant for years to come. As summer approaches and stores restock their sunscreen aisles, keeping labels in mind is a great way to stay healthy and remove a few more toxins from our lives. It’s not quite as easy as a day at the beach, but it’s so worth it!