Zinc oxide is one of the least expensive, most accessible substances available. You can buy it at any Walmart, grocery store or corner drugstore. Zinc oxide is a powder that does not dissolve in water but instead becomes a paste. It is a naturally occurring but non-organic mineral added to medications and topical treatments and is also an ingredient in substances such as paint, sealant, and adhesive. There are many surprising health benefits of zinc oxide.
There are two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin and soak up the sun’s harmful rays from within. Zinc oxide, however, is the best-known example of a physical sun screen. It simply provides a waterproof barrier between the skin and the sun, with no irritation and no need to apply over and over. While chemical sunscreens need to be applied every time a person comes out of the water, zinc oxide only needs to be refreshed every 90 minutes or so. Since you can physically see whether it’s there and doing its job, you can reapply when it appears to be wearing off.
Studies in both animals and humans show zinc oxide can improve male libido and sexual function in several ways. A 1996 study demonstrated that zinc deficiency in both young and older men can result in erectile dysfunction and that if zinc oxide remains at optimal levels, sexual function in all age groups improves dramatically. Studies in 2009 and 2013 had similar findings. Studies have also linked zinc deficiency to vaginal dryness. A related study from 2013 has another interesting conclusion. Zinc levels can also affect the sense of smell, and studies show that smell is a powerful element of sexual arousal.
Used correctly, zinc oxide can help protect your face from exposure to the irritants that make you break out. Like its use as a sunscreen, zinc oxide can be applied to sensitive skin to block oils, dirt, and other clogging elements from getting inside your pores. When not at risk for new irritants, you can clean your skin much more effectively. It is important to ensure the zinc oxide you use is high quality and not filled with fragrances, preservatives, or other unneeded elements that will only inflame the skin further.
A 2007 study shows that the topical application of zinc oxide may be the single most effective agent for aiding the healing of cuts and other wounds. It may be more effective than oral antibiotics or analgesics for preventing infection, and it naturally speeds up wound closure. The ointment can be applied directly to the skin, or by applying bandages with zinc oxide. The mineral also helps with the growth of healthy new skin over the incision.
According to a 2010 study, zinc oxide doesn’t only support the immune system, it’s a key ingredient in its functioning. Zinc is necessary for the formation and activation of T-cells, the primary immune system cells. Without zinc oxide, these cells cannot fight off invaders, leaving the body more susceptible to illnesses such as cancer.
All those white creams we put on babies’ bottoms after a diaper change contain zinc oxide. The paste is excellent for protecting skin, as we’ve seen regarding sunscreen and acne, and it also heals the lesions and sores from diaper rash, one of the chief sources of discomfort and pain for infants. A layer of zinc oxide can keep the rash from developing, or treat it when it does.
Eczema is a difficult disease to treat. Even the application of external creams, lotions, ointments or pastes can exacerbate the sensitive skin, which can lead to a hesitancy to apply treatments often enough to be effective. But zinc oxide is a useful alternative to other treatments. The zinc oxide paste goes on smoothly, and has a soothing effect on painful, burning skin. Also, zinc’s healing properties help the open, itchy eczema wounds heal cleanly and quickly.
Zinc oxide not only protects the skin against further damaging sun exposure, but it also has antioxidant qualities that can reverse the signs of aging. Zinc oxide is also known to build up collagen, leading to firmer, younger looking skin.
Our skin can get damaged in many ways. Wounds create scars, age creates liver spots, hormonal imbalances lead to discolored splotches, and sun damage may fade in a day or remain in the form of wrinkles or moles. Zinc oxide is the best, most natural response to this day-to-day damage. As we’ve seen, zinc oxide can heal open wounds, reducing the likelihood of scarring, but if a scar has already formed, zinc oxide can significantly reduce its appearance. Applying zinc oxide directly to discolored skin can fade the discoloration, as well.
With more and more doctors hesitating before prescribing bacteria-fighting medications, zinc oxide is an important resource. It is applied topically, so any time there’s a risk of a topical infection, zinc oxide naturally supplies antibacterial characteristics. It can aid burns, cuts, scrapes, incisions, rashes, surface staph infections, and many other occurrences. Zinc oxide keeps bacteria from entering an open lesion, and it also fights the bacteria, and therefore infections, that may already exist.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.