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  • What Is Micronised Zinc? Everything You Need To Know

Maybe you’re struggling with the messy white residue left by conventional sunscreens. On the other hand, maybe you’re not sure about the reliability of certain ingredients. 

A lot of us just want to know more about natural suncare options that are eco-friendly and skin-loving. 

The good news is that there are natural sunscreen and reef safe sunscreen choices, combining in-depth research and Mother Nature’s treasures for a dependable shield. 

But before making a decision, you might be wondering: what is micronised zinc anyway? 

Key Point #1: Particle Size 

Difference Between Micronised Particles And Nanoparticles

Micronised particles and nanoparticles play crucial roles in the formulation of mineral sunscreens, but they do have distinct differences. 

While small, micronised particles are still big enough to sit on the skin’s surface. Meanwhile, nanoparticles are incredibly microscopic in terms of their size. To give you a better idea, any particle with a diameter of less than 100 nanometers is considered a nanoparticle.

Differences in size lead to variations in how these particles function in sunscreens. 

Micronised particles are chosen for their ability to scatter sunlight, thereby shielding your delicate skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation. As for nanoparticles, their minuscule size lets them merge smoothly with other ingredients, contributing to a sunscreen product’s application and feel on the skin.

Absorption Concerns

When it comes to particles, size matters. As mineral-based active ingredients diminish in size, concern about their potential penetration into the skin grows. This makes non-absorption a determining factor in choosing between micronised particles and nanoparticles.

Many people express worry about nanoparticles because they fear these tiny particles may penetrate the skin and enter the body, causing harm. Research shows that nanoparticles are small enough to enter our bodies. However, some scientific evidence shows that nanoparticles remain on the skin’s surface and do not penetrate it.

Regardless, since micronised particles are larger, they’re more likely to remain on the skin’s surface to form a physical barrier, thereby making them an alluring choice for those with heightened concerns about ingredient absorption through the skin.

To clarify, both micronised particles and nanoparticles are generally considered suitable in sunscreen formulations, typically respecting the regulations and guidelines established by authoritative bodies like the TGA and others. 

Effect On Marine Life

Nanoparticles, while beneficial in various technological and medical applications, pose significant risks to marine ecosystems. Unlike larger micronised zinc particles, nanoparticles can generally infiltrate marine environments where they are absorbed by vital organisms such as coral. 

Once absorbed, these particles induce oxidative stress in marine species, leading to severe cell damage and genotoxic effects, which alter the genetic material of these organisms.

The presence of nanoparticles in marine habitats also triggers inflammatory responses and disrupts normal cell structure, oftentimes compromising the health and functionality of marine life. It’s also important to note that this disturbance is not limited to individual reef species but can ripple through the entire ecosystem, affecting biodiversity and the resilience of marine populations. 

As these nanoparticles accumulate over time, their continuous impact could lead to long-term ecological consequences, highlighting the urgent need for stringent regulations and mitigation strategies to protect our vital marine resources.

Key Point #2: Sun Protection

Broad UV Scope

Understanding the dynamics of skincare, we know how important it is to select a sunscreen that offers widespread protection against harmful UV rays. 

The ingredient micronised zinc is known to lend a critical hand in this aspect. The teeny-tiny particles provide an umbrella-like shield. In contrast, nanoparticle sunscreen typically works by sinking into your skin and soaking up UV rays. Once it absorbs these rays, it transforms them into heat and then releases that heat away from your body.

Both work to protect you against UVA and UVB rays, the two kinds of harmful radiation emitted by the sun. Notably, UVA rays are associated with premature ageing and other similar effects, while UVB rays are the primary source of sunburn. 

However, when micronised zinc or larger particles are a part of your sunscreen, it gives you confidence in sun protection through physical blocking, typically offering a robust line of defence against these damaging rays without significantly affecting reef life. 

Key Point #3: Application Advantages 

Comprehensive Coverage

Like a supportive friend, micronised zinc steps up to give you the protection you need. 

As with most small particles, it has a knack for evenly dispersing throughout sunscreen, forming a uniform protective layer on your skin. Yet, compared to the tiniest nanoparticles, micronised zinc generally doesn’t have the same skin absorption concerns. 

The tiny particles of micronised zinc work in harmony, spreading easily across the skin, leaving no gaps for UV rays to penetrate. They form a tightly knitted layer over your skin like a well-woven net, giving you the peace of mind you deserve when enjoying the sun.

At the end of the day, micronised zinc can cover a large surface area. This results in thorough protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays, so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the sunshine, thanks to micronised zinc.

Non-Greasy Texture

Anyone who’s ever felt the icky stickiness of a run-off-the-mill sunscreen can attest to the importance of good texture. Micronised zinc not only helps you with a protective layer with suitable coverage but also generally brings you a desirable texture.

It’s like spreading a feather-light clear layer of protection over your skin. Plus, with a good rub-in, you can avoid white clumps and uneven application. This makes micronised zinc-containing sunscreen an option that turns hours under the sun into a delightful experience.

And did we mention that it’s typically non-greasy? 

There’s no unpleasant sheen or uncomfortable slickness. Your sunscreen glides on smoothly and disappears almost like magic. It’s a kind of sunscreen that behaves like a good skincare product!

Key Points To Remember

  • Size. Compared to nanoparticles, micronised zinc particles are generally larger and remain on the skin's surface to scatter sunlight and protect against UV radiation.
  • Absorption. Larger micronised particles are less likely to penetrate the skin, providing an option for those concerned about ingredient penetration. This is compared to nanoparticles, which are smaller than 100 nanometers and raise concerns due to their potential to enter the bloodstream.
  • Reef Impact. Unlike larger micronised zinc particles, nanoparticles can pose risks to marine life as they can be absorbed by organisms like coral, leading to oxidative stress, cell damage and broader ecological disturbances.

  • At Little Urchin, we merge a passion for the environment with high-quality suncare, providing products for happy skin and a happy planet. We’re committed to a greener future, aiming to nourish both nature and the communities that call it home.