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  • Is Zinc A Natural Sunscreen, And What Makes It One Of The Best?


This article delves deep into the properties and benefits of zinc oxide as a component in natural sunscreens. It provides insight into its nature-derived roots and functionalities, emphasising its protective capabilities against both UVA and UVB rays. The piece highlights natural zinc sunscreen’s versatility and suitability for all skin types, including infants and those with sensitive skin.


A glimpse into sun protection

The sun is a double-edged sword. While it gifts us with warmth and essential vitamin D, its ultraviolet rays can harm our skin, leading to premature ageing, sunburn, and other skin concerns. The challenge? Finding a sunscreen that not only shields us from these harmful rays but does so without introducing a slew of chemicals to our skin or harming the environment.

Zinc oxide offers a promising solution, boasting comprehensive sun protection, safety for all skin types, and eco-friendly attributes. But is zinc oxide truly a natural sunscreen? Can you include it in your natural suncare routine and even use it as baby sunscreen?

And what elevates it above other sun protection ingredients? Let’s dive in and uncover the truth behind this revered sunscreen ingredient.


A deep dive into zinc oxide

Zinc oxide, represented by the formula ZnO, is a white, powdery compound that doesn’t dissolve in water. 

It has been an integral ingredient in skincare formulations for centuries, serving various purposes in medical products, cosmetics, and, of course, sunscreens. This ancient compound is revered for its multitude of benefits, offering protection and enhancing skin health.


Is zinc a natural sunscreen?

Zinc, more specifically zinc oxide, stands out as a remarkable natural sunscreen. Originating from nature, zinc oxide is a mineral that can be used in its natural form as a sun protectant or gracefully intertwined with other natural ingredients to formulate sunscreens available in lotion or stick forms. 

These ingredients are used in their natural form or have processes applied to transform them into the final product.

How natural zinc sunscreen works

Diving into the workings of sunscreens, they generally fall into two distinct categories: chemical and physical. The former, chemical sunscreens, absorb the sun’s rays, potentially causing turmoil for sensitive skin due to synthetic components. 

Conversely, physical sunscreens, like those boasting zinc oxide, act as nature’s armour, blocking and reflecting the harmful sun rays without penetrating the skin.

Wondering what natural zinc sunscreens can do? Here’s what makes them stand out in the sunscreen market:


Benefits of natural zinc sunscreen

The spectrum of security

Natural zinc sunscreens offer a sanctuary of protection with varying levels of SPF, such as SPF 30, denoting high sun protection, and SPF 50+, representing very high sun protection.

SPF level exclusively conveys the defence against UVB rays, the culprit responsible for sunburn. However, it does not encompass protection from UVA rays, which could cause premature ageing or skin damage.

The essence of broad-spectrum protection is in its ability to shield the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, rendering it a crucial factor in sunscreen selection to guarantee holistic defence against the diverse harmful rays of the sun. 

In this spectrum of protection, natural zinc sunscreens emerge as a hero ingredient, providing a comprehensive shield against both UVA and UVB rays along with their SPFs.

Skin safety: embracing nature’s gentle embrace

Mineral-based sunscreens, like those championed with zinc oxide, are nature’s gift to our skin. 

Such sunscreens, hailing from nature’s lap, are often suggested not just for adults, particularly those with sensitive skin or allergies, but also for the delicate skin of young children.

For infants as young as six months and for those with temperamental skin types, turning to mineral sunscreens is akin to choosing a kinder, gentler path of protection. You’re not just selecting sun defence; you’re also ensuring that the shield is gentle.

Versatile harmony: suits every lifestyle

Whether you’re engaged in a strenuous workout or simply basking under the sun, a natural zinc sunscreen is your versatile companion, guarding you from harmful UV rays. You can also use it indoors, where rays can sneak in through windows and openings. This makes natural zinc sunscreen typically a suitable option for daily use.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the protective layer isn’t permanent. The elements, water, and sweat can wear it off. Therefore, reapplication every few hours is essential, especially when spending extensive periods outdoors, to maintain optimal protection.

Ocean’s Ally: A Beacon of Marine Safety

In a world where the blue expanse is teeming with life, the protection of our oceans is paramount. 

It is crucial to use products that leave no harmful residues in the ocean, allowing you to swim worry-free, knowing the aquatic life around you remains unharmed. Physical blocker sunscreens, like those made with zinc oxide, emerge as a beacon of marine safety.

When choosing zinc sunscreens, you may encounter terms like ‘nano’ and ‘non-nano’. It’s important to know their differences. 

While both originate from powdered minerals, nano zinc oxide has smaller particles that could potentially be absorbed by your body.

On the other hand, non-nano zinc oxide has larger particles that rest on your skin’s surface, preventing it from seeping into the body and, more importantly, keeping the ocean’s inhabitants safe during your underwater explorations.


natural clear zinc sunscreen


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are natural zinc sunscreens hard to find?

No, natural zinc sunscreens have grown increasingly accessible due to their recognised effectiveness and safety. They are readily available online and in stores, with numerous brands offering a range of products. However, it is crucial to select a brand that values transparency, ensuring you receive a product that aligns with your own values of health, safety, and environmental consciousness.

How should I use zinc sunscreen?

To harness the full protective power of zinc sunscreen, apply the lotion generously and evenly to clean, dry skin at least fifteen to twenty minutes prior to sun exposure. It is essential to reapply every one to two hours, especially when perspiring and after swimming or towel drying.

Sunscreens serve as one aspect of sun protection. Avoiding prolonged high-risk sun exposure is still crucial, and frequent re-application is required for effective sun protection.

Does natural zinc sunscreen leave a white cast?

Natural zinc sunscreens have been known to leave a white residue due to their physically blocking nature. 

However, the beauty and skincare world is evolving, and many modern formulations are tailored to blend seamlessly into the skin. There are also tinted versions available for various skin tones, effectively diminishing the chances of a visible white cast.


Key Points to Remember

Before delving into the reflection and final thoughts on natural zinc sunscreens, let’s rehash some key insights that we have garnered:

  • Nature’s Protector: Zinc oxide is a natural mineral that can protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays, demonstrating its versatility and comprehensive nature in sun protection.
  • Skin-Compassionate: Its gentle embrace is inclusive, catering to all skin types, including the delicate skin of children and those with sensitive or allergy-prone skin.
  • Eco-Conscious Guardian: There are natural zinc sunscreens that are reef-friendly. They prioritise the vitality of marine ecosystems and enable a harmonious relationship between human protection and environmental conservation.
  • Lifestyle Companion: Adaptable to various lifestyles, it is a steadfast companion whether you are indulging in strenuous activities, immersing in aquatic explorations, or simply enjoying the tranquil warmth of the sun.


Guardian of mature skin

Zinc oxide emerges as more than just a sunscreen ingredient – it’s a holistic guardian. It offers a nurturing touch suitable for even the most delicate skin and stands as a testament to marine conservation with its eco-friendly attributes. This multifaceted component safeguards against harmful sun rays while ensuring harmony with the environment.

Choosing natural zinc sunscreen is a conscious choice, a step towards preserving, protecting, and nourishing oneself. Remember, opt for sunscreen and a brand that’s transparent in its values and commitments.

Little Urchin stands as Australia’s premier choice for natural suncare and skincare solutions, emphasising broad-spectrum, reef-safe, and cruelty-free products. Each formulation is enriched with potent antioxidants and premium organic ingredients. At the heart of our brand is a dedication to harmonising skin health with environmental care, ensuring both thrive.