In the process of creating a sunscreen I could wear on my face everyday, I learned a lot about zinc and it’s benefits beyond UV protection. It’s an undersold hero in dermatology and skincare that’s a helpful and healing ingredient for many skin conditions and skin concerns.
Zinc, a brief history ✨
Used topically as far back as 500 B.C.E in an ancient Indian medical text called “The Charaka Samhita,” it was described as a healing salve treating the eyes and open wounds.
It wasn’t until the 1940’s that zinc based creams became readily available. In the 70’s it was used mainly to relieve symptoms of poison ivy, dandruff and skin rashes. By the 80’s, new studies found zinc as a wonderful shield from the sun as it’s most popularly known as today.
What is zinc?
Zinc is a trace mineral and essential nutrient that our bodies can’t produce. It’s essential for protein synthesis, collagen formation and helps the skin to heal. Diet, supplements and skincare are all ways we can deliver zinc to our bodies.
Topical zinc for acne and sensitive skin types
Because zinc is antimicrobial and non-comodogenic (doesn’t block pores), it’s an ideal sunscreen choice for people with rosacea, acne or generally sensitive skin.
Powerfully antibacterial, antiseptic and and astringent, when applied topically, it can speed up wound healing, treat rashes, prevent acne and reduce the appearance of pores. For this reason you’ll find zinc in the ingredients list of lots of skincare, as well as therapeutic calamine lotions and acne treatments.
Naturally broad spectrum
Zinc is naturally broad spectrum, meaning it protects from both UVA (ageing) and UVB (burns) rays. To achieve the same thing, chemical sunscreens need a careful balance of ingredients to stay photostable. Avobenzone for example begins to break down in the sunlight after 30 minutes without the presence of other ingredients to stabilise it.
Despite its amazing sun protective ability, zinc has a reputation for leaving either a chalky or greasy feeling on the skin. This was why we developed a sunscreen we could comfortably wear every day. We didn’t see why, with all our advancements in science, that a natural or naturally derived sunscreen couldn’t feel wearable every day on the skin and go beyond just sun protection with antioxidant powerhouse ingredients like Kakadu Plum.