Most of us are familiar with Zinc Oxide as one of the active ingredients in sunscreens. It is indeed super effective at (safely) blocking UV rays, making it the obvious choice for safe, clean sunscreens that avoid dangerous chemical UV blockers.
But, zinc oxide is actually a powerful ingredient for skincare products outside of sunscreen. Zinc oxide is formed by chemically heating the mineral zinc with oxygen molecules to create a fine white powder that can be used in skincare products. Read on to find out why we love this ingredient so much that we had to include it in our Clarifying Face Mask.
Super Duper Healing
Our skin cells rely on zinc to function well- our top layer of skin (when healthy) is actually concentrated with six times more zinc than any other part of our body. One of the many ways zinc helps our skin is by improving its ability to heal- in fact, studies show that people who are zinc deficient show slower wound recovery.
Zinc does a few different things that boost our skin's healing. For one, zinc activates our natural killer cells. Natural killer cells (or NKC) is not just a great band name- it's also the type of of white blood cells in our body that aggressively target tumors and other virally infected cells. Zinc also boosts our inflammatory cytokine- a protein in our body that stimulates our cells' immune responses.
Acne Shmacne, Oil Shmoil
Zinc is also a key ingredient to reducing inflammation. For anyone dealing with acne, rosacea, or skin blemishes, this is major. Acne occurs when our pores become clogged, and the skin around them become inflamed, the same with most skin blemishes, and rosacea tends to happen when blood pools underneath our surface layer of skin. Reducing inflammation is a key step in reducing these skin issues, so zinc gets a checkmark in that department.
Studies also show that zinc is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. When used to treat acne, studies found that it not only controlled inflammation, but reduced the bacteria that causes acne.
Zinc is also effective at reducing another common acne culprit- oil. A natural astringent, zinc oxide has been shown to regulate our skin's oil production, and minimize the appearance of large pores. So whether you were born with naturally oily skin or - like me - tend to deal with oily skin in the summer, zinc oxide will help.
Youth in a Bottle
Lastly, zinc oxide boost our production of new skin tissue and collagen, which are the two keys to younger looking skin. Studies have also shown that when zinc is used in conjunction with other anti-aging ingredients, it increases the amount of active ingredients our skin can absorb- which means you get more bang for your buck and a more effective product.
Convinced about zinc oxide yet? Well get this: a study found that after only 48 hours of applying zinc oxide products to damaged, dry, or wounded skin, skin healed faster, pigment was restored, oil was better regulated, and inflammation was lowered.
If that's not a skin miracle ingredient, we don't know what is.