Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Products

Cynthia Bailey, MD|April 26, 2012

dermatologist's every day sunscreen adviceChances are your skin needs sun protection to stay healthy and attractive. I can promise you that unless you have really dark skin and live at the North or South Pole, you're going to get enough sun during the course of your life to age and damage your skin - and you're not going to like how that looks!  You have the power to prevent this. It's never too late. Even if you have some sun damage, it can always be worse. Enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle without the damaging consequences for your skin. The trick is to make applying zinc oxide sunscreen a part of your daily skin care routine.

Why do zinc oxide sunscreens give your skin the best sun protection?

It’s my opinion that zinc oxide is the best sunscreen ingredient for broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection. Zinc oxide and its cousin, titanium dioxide, are considered mineral sunscreens (and are also called physical sunscreens). When applied to your skin these mineral/physical sunscreens sit on top of your skin, bouncing off the UV rays just like bouncing a ball off of a wall. They provide non-irritating, hypoallergenic broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection that you can trust. Nanotechnology has made it possible for mineral sunscreen to be applied invisibly to your skin. New zinc oxide technology has made it possible for even non-nano zinc oxide products to rub almost invisibly onto your skin too. Mineral sunscreens are the only sunscreens that I trust and recommend. That’s because the other type of sunscreens, called chemical sunscreens (and also confusingly called "organic" sunscreens!), actually absorb into the top of your skin and block the sun rays with a chemical reaction that occurs within your skin itself. The reaction creates a little heat, which makes you feel even hotter in the sun. More importantly, it breaks down the chemical sunscreen ingredients so that they aren’t there to protect you anymore. Therefore, your skin steadily runs out of the chemical sunscreens when you’re in the sun. The mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, last longer on your skin because the UV rays don’t break them down like the chemical sunscreens. They’re also more stable in the sunscreen bottle than chemical sunscreens, which break down while they sit on the bottle waiting for you to buy them and to use them. Of the mineral sunscreen ingredients, I recommend only zinc oxide - and not titanium dioxide - because zinc oxide rubs onto your skin better and gives better broad spectrum protection. Remember, harmful and aging UV sun rays come through most windows. You need to apply sunscreen to the all exposed areas of your skin every day - even if you don’t plan to spend time outdoors. Applying a mineral zinc oxide sunscreen should be part of your daily skin care routine! I'm always looking for perfect zinc oxide sunscreens to fit every skin type, budget, and product preference for my patients. I've got a great collection of products for your protection too.

Click here to see my Sun Protection Kits.

SunSavvy ultimate sun protection kit

Click here to see my individual sunscreen products.

Creating perfect sun protection requires picking the right products for your skin type and activities. It also means:

  • wearing a good broad brimmed hat;
  • wearing sun-protective clothing;
  • seeking shade whenever possible;
  • limiting sun exposure during peak sun intensity hours during the mid-day.

To learn more, you can read some of the other sun protection articles that I've written, which are listed below. Photo: Thanks and gratitude to Tommerton2010