A recent report has revealed that zinc oxide, an ingredient in many sunscreens, could actually damage skin cells when exposed to the sun. According to a chemistry researcher in Missouri, zinc oxide reacts to UV rays and may release free radicals: molecules that can cause cell and DNA damage.
Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in most sunscreens because it is a powder consisting of very small particles. Zinc oxide protects the skin by scattering UV rays or absorbing them so that they don’t interact with skin cells.
Sunscreen is still the most effective way to prevent against sun damage; the researcher who discovered the reaction emphasized that the study was in its early stages, so sunscreen should still be applied before any outdoor activity. Until further research shows that zinc oxide does more harm than good, we recommend using it. If you have any questions about skin damage, contact the Skin & Vein Center today.