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The uses of zinc oxide cream

Updated March 23, 2017

Zinc oxide at room temperature is a white powder that has been used in many different industries. This inorganic compound with the chemical formula ZnO can be found in the production of rubber, sealants, paints, fire retardants, first aid tapes, and in skin care products. It is in this last industry of skin care that zinc oxide is often found in a cream form. Zinc oxide cream is used in the prevention of acne, to treat diaper rash, and as a sunscreen.

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Acne Treatment

Zinc oxide is available in a cream form used to prevent and treat acne symptoms. The compound has several properties that make it useful for this purpose. Zinc oxide can reduce the inflammation of your skin while decreasing the production of abundant oils. The compound can lead to improved healing and the drawing out of skin toxins. These soothing properties have also caused zinc oxide to be used for problems like eczema and poison ivy.

Diaper Rash

Zinc oxide is used for diaper rash and other minor skin irritations. The way the compound works is that it provides a barrier between the diaper and the rash. This gives the skin proper time to heal while soothing the skin at the same time. This can be effective for small cuts, scrapes, and burns as well.


One of the most well-known uses of zinc oxide is as a component of sunscreen. Zinc oxide has the powerful property of blocking and absorbing both UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation. This prevents sunburn and other sun-related issues like skin cancer. Zinc oxide cream does not absorb into the skin, though derivatives of it like nano zinc oxide will absorb into the skin.

Safety Precautions

There are a few safety precautions to follow when using zinc oxide. Pregnant or breast feeding women should not use this compound. Before using zinc oxide, you should check with your doctor to ensure that it doesn't interact badly with any prescription, non-prescription, dietary, or herbal supplement you are taking. Do not apply the cream to someone unless you are sure he or she is not allergic to zinc oxide.

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About the Author

Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.

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