Sunscreen with zinc dioxide is one of the best ways to protect your skin against UV radiation thanks to the special properties of this inorganic compound. Find out more about how zinc oxide works and how to choose the right zinc oxide sunscreens for you.
All sunscreens aim for the same effect, protecting your skin against the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB radiation. This can be achieved in two ways: chemical protection using sunscreen that's absorbed by the skin or physical protection that sits on the surface of the skin and reflects the most dangerous radiation.
Zinc Oxide Sunscreen: How Does it Work
Sunscreen with zinc oxide falls into the latter category. The effect is similar to draping yourself in aluminum foil to reflect the harmful UV radiation.
Compounds similar to zinc oxide in sunscreen include titanium dioxide and 3% avobenzone. Sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is considered by many the best way to protect your skin. Some types of chemical sunscreens may even increase the likelihood of skin cancer, according to Dr. Oz. He recommends avoiding sunscreen with vitamin A or retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.
Zinc oxide sunscreen doesn't include any health risks, but it needs frequent reapplication for the best protection. Since it's not absorbed into your skin, it's also non-allergenic and non-irritating.
Types of Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide
Considered one of the most effective active ingredients for sun protection by the FDA, zinc oxide sunscreen did attract some controversy regarding products with nano particles.
Sunscreens with zinc oxide fall into two big categories: the ones that use non-nano particles, which don't penetrate the skin, and the ones with nano particles, also called micronized zinc oxide sunscreen, which could be absorbed into your body.
While there are technically no known side-effects of nano particles when it comes to zinc oxide sunscreen, too little research has been done on the subject to confirm that they're completely safe.
Best Zinc Oxide Sunscreen
When you're looking for the right way to protect your skin against UV radiation, the confirmed safe option is zinc oxide sunscreen with non-nano particles. It might be better to avoid micronized zinc oxide sunscreen, until research confirms absorbing it into your body doesn't have any harmful side-effects.
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