Q:

What health benefits are provided by zinc oxide?

A:

Quick Answer

Benefits of zinc dioxide include soothing of minor skin irritations, including diaper rash, and blocking harmful ultraviolet light from the sun, according to WebMD. Topical forms of zinc dioxide include creams, lotions and powders. The mineral provides its benefits by forming a skin barrier to protect it from irritants.

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Full Answer

While zinc oxide works for minor irritations such as chapped skin or burns, it provides no antifungal or antibiotic properties, according to Drugs.com. Before applying it to irritations that show signs of infection, including fever, redness or oozing, patients should speak with their doctor.

Zinc oxide is available as an over-the-counter product, according to Drugs.com. It is the key ingredient in medicated foot powders. Parents use cream or ointment forms of zinc oxide to provide a moisture barrier for their babies when they are using diapers. Zinc oxide suppositories provide relief of hemorrhoids. Before applying the cream, the patient should wash the affected area with mild soap, rinse and blot dry with a towel.

Zinc oxide provides UV sun protection, according to WebMD. It is an ingredient in many sunscreens. It is effective for both UVB rays that cause sunburn and UVA rays that cause wrinkles. Both types of UV rays increase the chance of skin cancer. Earlier types of sunscreen with zinc oxide left a thin, white coating on the skin, but newer products resolve this problem.

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