Ingredient Spotlight: Zinc Oxide

Ingredient Spotlight: Zinc Oxide

Have you ever noticed the lifeguards who sport white, paste-like lotion on their nose and cheeks? That’s a heavy dose of zinc oxide. This powerful mineral is known for its sun-deflecting ability and is often the main active ingredient found in mineral sunscreens (also referred to as physical sunscreens). It works by sitting on top of the skin and deflecting the sun’s harmful rays, providing UVA and UVB protection.


Where to find Zinc Oxide in sunscreen

Obagi uses zinc oxide as the active sun-deflecting ingredient in our Obagi Sun Shield™ Broad Spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen. When mixed with other ingredients, zinc oxide’s white coloring becomes diluted, avoiding that white paste you are familiar with.


What is the difference between a mineral sunscreen and a chemical sunscreen?

Mineral sunscreens act as physical blockers on the skin. These formulas sit on top of the skin and reflect the sun, scattering the rays away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are absorbed into the skin and cause a chemical reaction, absorbing UV rays and turning them into heat that is then radiated out of the body.

Obagi Sun Shield Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 pairs zinc oxide with titanium dioxide, providing only physical protection from the sun, whereas Obagi Sun Shield Tint and Matte formulas mix zinc oxide with chemical ingredients to offer a blend of physical and chemical protection.


So why choose a mineral sunscreen?

Many doctors and consumers prefer it because zinc oxide is often less irritating than a chemical sunscreen and is recommended for those with sensitive skin, acne or rosacea. In fact, in addition to its sun-fighting abilities, zinc oxide is often used to treat diaper rash, minor burns, chapped skin, and other skin irritations.


Discover Obagi Sun Shield Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50

To decrease the risk of premature skin aging, regularly use a sunscreen with a Broad Spectrum SPF value of 30 or higher and other sun protection measures including limit time in the sun, especially from 10am - 2pm, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sunglasses.