Zinc Oxide and My Newborn Face— Thoughts on Sunscreen and Diaper Cream

Some diaper creams can double as sunscreen—yes, it’s the zinc oxide.  I’m obsessed with skin care; if it’s good for my skin, I’m likely to eat, drink or apply it topically.  As you can imagine, I research products, and more importantly, their ingredients.

In my continuous pursuit of gorgeous skin, I scour the aisles of pharmacies and health food stores in search of makeup removers, exfoliators, toners and creams that promise to keep my skin healthy and radiant.  This week’s major discovery is diaper cream with zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide is a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory abilities, and is used in diaper creams and sunscreens. It can also be found in foundations, blushes and eye shadows. Zinc oxide acts as a protective layer over the skin, and is used to treat and prevent diaper rashes, skin irritations, premature aging and skin cancer.  Unlike chemical sunscreens like mexoryl and avobenzone, zinc oxide will not irritate the skin and absorbs UVA and UVB rays better than Titanium dioxide.

Sunscreen versus Diaper Cream

There are groups of scientists whose job it is to review product ingredients and then decide the most suitable way to market the product.   While many sunscreens are loaded with toxic chemicals that are deemed harmful by groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many diaper creams are packed with ingredients that sooth skin irritations and protect skin from UV rays.  The difference, however, is that sunscreens are tested for UV protection and diaper creams are not.

The EWG considers natural sunscreens containing zinc oxide low risk. I often opt for the natural stuff, but even then you have to be very careful; companies are always trying to cut corners by slipping a few toxins in here and there.

I’ve discovered a diaper ointment by Live Clean and the ingredients, in order, are as follows: castor oil, zinc oxide, jojoba, vitamin E, lavender extract and chamomile. Compared to an all-natural sunscreen like Lavera’s Anti-Age Sun Milk, the Live Clean diaper cream is a good contender.  The Lavera Anti-Age Sun Milk has a long list of ingredients including jojoba; however, the first five ingredients are water, silica, titanium dioxide, alcohol and glycerine.

Right now, I’m willing to skip the long list of over twenty ingredients and opt for something that’s likely to keep my face as smooth as a baby’s behind. Looks like diaper cream for me.  I’ll dab lightly and keep you posted.




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