With the rise of sunscreen education in both the skincare and broader social community, it's only natural that Zinc and Zinc Oxide have come to the forefront of trending searches. But what separates them? And why are they both super stars in their own right?
The Difference Between Zinc and Zinc Oxide.
Zinc and zinc oxide are two ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products. They are both powerful ingredients that help protect the body against free radical damage. However, zinc oxide offers greater protection against sunburn and cataracts, while zinc has a greater ability to penetrate skin cells and act as a wound healer.
Zinc is a metallic chemical element whilst Zinc oxide is a chemical compound that contains zinc and oxygen atoms.
ZINC - Chemical Element
A diamagnetic metal with a blue-tinged white lustrous appearance.
It's a hard, slightly brittle metal at most temperatures and has a silvery-greyish appearance when oxidation is removed. Between 100 and 150 °C it becomes malleable. It also has low melting and boiling points in comparison to most metals.
- Zinc is a chemical element
- Symbol: Zn
- Atomic Number: 30
- Standard atomic weight: 65.38
- Appearance: silver grey solid
- HCP Crystal Structure: Hexagonal close-packed
- Melting point: 419.53 °C
- Boiling point: 907 °C
Benefits for your Skin
Zinc is an essential aspect of our skin. The epidermis (outer layer of your skin) has 5 x the amount of Zinc than the layer beneath it. Zinc helps heal your skin from injury and damage, so this concentration in the epidermis speeds up your healing processes.
It keeps the surrounding area of a wound clean and moist whilst simultaneously supplying extra zinc to facilitate repair.
It's also necessary to stabilise cell walls, for cell division and for them to specialise as they grow.
Zinc alone has shown to protect skin from UV damage due to the way it behaves with other metals in your body such as copper and iron, acting like an antioxidant.
As such, a zinc deficiency can lead to and fuel skin conditions like eczema.
ZINC OXIDE - Chemical Compound
An inorganic compound. It appears as a white powder that's insoluble in water.
Although it occurs naturally as the rare mineral Zincite, most Zinc Oxide is created synthetically. It is added to numerous products such as cosmetics, food supplements and ointments.
- Zinc Oxide is an inorganic Compound
- Formula: ZnO
- Molar mass: 81.38 g/mol
- Appearance: white powder
- Crystal Structure: Wurtzite
- Phase at standard temperature and pressure: solid phase
- Melting point: 1975 °C
- Boiling point: Decomposes above 1975 °C
Benefits for your Skin
Zinc oxide provides your skin with defence from both UVA and UVB radiation. It is a mineral UV filter, meaning it reflects radiation off the skin. This is opposed to popular chemical UV filters, which absorb UV radiation into your body only to excrete it through heat.
This UV protection shields cells from damage, slows and combats ageing, and prevents the skin from loosing moisture.
Just like Zinc, zinc oxide aids skin repair by keeping the surrounding area clean and moist whilst simultaneously supplying extra zinc to facilitate repair.
This also prevents bacterial infection by minimising the chances of a contaminant penetrating the skin.
It acts as an astringent - shrinking pores, tightening skin and drying its excess oil. Leaving your skin firmer and glowing.
Zinc oxide is inflammatory and calms irritation, making it an incredible anti-acne ingredient.