Zinc Oxide: Mineral Sunscreen Ingredient | CeraVe
Zinc oxide is a mineral-derived sunscreen ingredient. Ideal for both daily and intense sun exposure because of its ability to block the widest spectrum of UV light, zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Important Things to Know about Zinc Oxide

  • Zinc oxide effectively blocks UV rays—making it appropriate for use in sunscreens designed for the face or the body. In addition, it's low known risk of irritation makes it suitable for use on babies and children as well.

  • Zinc oxide is an inert mineral-based ingredient. A sunscreen with zinc oxide is the ideal final step in any morning skincare routine.

  • Active ingredients in physical and chemical sunscreens differ in the mechanism by which they protect the skin from the sun. Physical sunscreens, like zinc oxide, form a physical shield-like barrier to UV light by reflecting rays away from the skin. Meanwhile, chemical sunscreens work in the top layers of the skin and absorb UV rays before they penetrate the skin’s deeper layers.

  • Zinc oxide is a physical UV filter that reflects and scatters damaging UVA and UVB rays off the skin’s surface to help to prevent sunburn and long-term sun damage. Unlike chemical UV filters that penetrate the uppermost layers of the skin to absorb UV rays before they can damage deeper layers, physical sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide form a shield-like UV barrier on the skin’s surface.

  • To maximize zinc oxide's effectiveness, proper application is essential, so always apply a sufficient amount of zinc oxide sunscreen to exposed skin before sun exposure, and reapply it at least every two hours and immediately after swimming, sweating or towel-drying. To help avoid a white, chalky residue, look for sunscreens that contain a micronized zinc oxide, like InVisibleZinc™ Technology.

  • Zinc oxide is a physical UV filter with a low known risk of skin irritation, which means that sunscreens made with zinc oxide can be suitable for all skin types, including babies and those with sensitive skin.

  • Because zinc oxide helps protect the skin against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, it is commonly used in sunscreen. In addition, the distribution characteristics of zinc oxide help it to spread evenly over the body.

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