If there’s one all-rounder ingredient that’s widely used in skincare, it’s zinc oxide. You can turn to it for various skin concerns and be rest assured that it’ll help you through them. It’s used in many skincare products that we use—from sunscreens to anti-inflammatory agents. Scroll down to know its importance in your skincare routine…
There are two grades of zinc oxide—normal and micronized
Normal zinc oxide is a brilliant soothing agent. It helps heal wounds (you will find it in most ointments), severely chapped skin, itching and irritation. It’s hence used as a major ingredient to treat rosacea.
Zinc oxide also has mild astringent properties—it helps regulate your skin’s oil production and reduce the appearance of large pores (since it is highly non-comedogenic.)
Micronized zinc oxide is a major ingredient used in sunscreens. The powdered mineral formula used in sunscreen does two things—reflect and absorb. Think of a protective zinc oxide layer on top of your skin that reflects and absorbs the harmful UVA (also considered to be carcinogenic) and UVB rays such that they don’t reach your skin.
Apart from this, micronized zinc oxide can be effectively used to maintain an even skin tone and combat premature ageing. It helps to:
1.Protect against damage caused by overexposure to broad spectrum ultraviolet rays (UVA/UVB)
2.Maintain the appearance of a rejuvenated complexion by enhancing collagen synthesis and reducing the rate of developing signs of aging, such as fine lines and dark spots
3.Regenerate connective tissue as well as new skin
4.Moisturize and restore the health of chapped skin
5.Diminish the appearance of enlarged pores
6.Facilitate the healing of wounded or otherwise damaged skin
8.Soothe itching, burning, inflammation, redness, dryness, peeling and pain
9.Balance the skin’s natural pigmentation
10.Regulate the production of sebum and interstitial fluid
11.Increase the number of other active and beneficial additives that penetrate the skin, when combined with other products that have rejuvenating effects
12.Enable the healing of diaper rash by creating a protective barrier between the skin and the diaper
13.Allow the oily substances in formulations to penetrate the skin
14.Naturally facilitate the healing of scrapes, abrasions, burns, irritation, rashes, sores, and ulcers
Here’s how zinc keeps skin healthy and glowing from the inside:
1.IT WORKS AS AN ANTIOXIDANT: Though not technically an antioxidant (like vitamins C and E, for example), zinc is a key part of your skin’s dietary defense squad. The mineral lessens the formation of damaging free radicals and protects skin’s lipids (fats) and fibroblasts—the cells that make collagen, your skin’s support structure—when skin is exposed to UV light, pollution and other skin-agers.
2.IT HELPS HEAL AND REJUVENATE SKIN: When you cut yourself, zinc goes to work. First, the amount of the mineral in the skin surrounding the cut increases as enzymes and proteins ramp up to protect against infection, control inflammation and produce new cells and transport them to close up the broken skin. But even healthy, intact skin relies on zinc for new cell production and the function of cell membranes.
3.IT MAY WARD OFF ACNE FLARE-UPS: Pimples develop when a buildup of oil, bacteria and skin cells block pores, causing the skin around the pore to turn red, swollen and tender. Zinc, which boosts immune function, may help control that inflammatory response. What’s more, because zinc regulates cell production and turnover, and can help reduce the amount of natural oil your skin produces, it may prevent pores from clogging in the first place.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU GET?
You don’t need much. Men should aim for at least 11 mg per day, while women only need 8 mg. Oysters, crab and lobster are a few top sources of zinc, but chicken, lean beef, beans, chickpeas and fortified cereals can also help you meet your daily goal. A balanced diet can often provide the zinc you need, but if you’re considering a zinc supplement—or wondering if you might benefit from one—talk to your doctor.
Don’t forget about zinc’s topical power too. Here’s how your skin benefits when you apply it to your outside:
1.IT’S AN EFFECTIVE SUNSCREEN: Unlike chemical sunscreen ingredients, which absorb into the top layers of your skin to filter out the damaging part of the sun’s rays, zinc oxide (a zinc-containing compound) acts as a physical block, stopping UV light from penetrating your skin altogether. Although the zinc acts as a shield, the particles are micronized, so lotions containing it rub in like any other product and look invisible.
2.IT CLEARS UP DANDRUFF AND RELIEVES AN ITCHY SCALP: Zinc pyrithione can be used to treat psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions, but it’s best known for diminishing dandruff. Dandruff occurs when a common fungus that lives on the scalp grows out of control. The resulting irritation and inflammation causes skin cells to flake off and the scalp to become irritated and itchy. Zinc pyrithione not only helps control the growing bacteria, but also reduces the amount of oil that it feeds on, while its anti-inflammatory properties calm irritation and relieve itchiness.
3.IT HELPS HEAL RASHES AND OTHER SORES: A common ingredient in hemorrhoid treatments and diaper rash creams, zinc oxide helps heal skin in many of the same ways dietary zinc does: It reduces inflammation, regulates immunity and may stimulate the production of new cells. It’s also an anti-microbial, which can soothe and treat skin quickly.
Our bodies need zinc to survive. It is essential in generating skin cells, maintaining healthy skin and nails, and boosting the immune system.