Micronized Zinc Oxide Dimethicone a Safe Sunscreen

Written by on August 15, 2005 in Sunscreens for Rosacea Sufferers with 11 Comments

There has been some concern amoungst rosacea sufferers about possible health problems with micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. An article was published in 1997 with an alarmist title “Titanium Dioxide/Zinc Oxide nanoparticles from sunscreen are found to cause free radicals in skin cells, damaging DNA” Oxford University and Montreal University, Dunford, Salinaro et al.

Dr. Linda Sy, who is responsible for the rosacea friendly sunscreen ZincO Cream (which is composed of 14.5% micronized zinc oxide dimethicone) has responded with some studies that show that dimethicone coated micronized zinc oxide, is photostable when exposed to UV radiation. Thus declaring that ZincO Cream is safe to use.

1. June 2005 – P. Kullavanijaya MD & H. Lim, MD; “Photoprotection” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 52.

“Microfine ZnO (Z-cote) is becoming more popular because it is shown to protect over a wide range of UVA including UVA1 (up to 380 nm). It is photostable and does not react with other organic sunscreens.It is more effective in UVA protection than microfine TiO2, which protects against UVB and UVA2, and is less protective against UVA1. TiO2 has higher refractive index (2.6) than ZnO (1.9), which makes TiO2 whiter (even though the particle size is smaller) and more difficult to incorporate into products that are minimally visible to the eyes. Moreover, TiO2 is more photoreactive than ZnO. Photoexcited micronized TiO2 has been shown to cause cell death in vitro, although no evidence exist on its in vivo toxicity.

A consequence of the photochemical reaction is that it causes TiO2 and ZnO to be less effective as sunscreens. Therefore, TiO2 and ZnO particles are frequently coated with dimethicone or silica, which has been shown to be stable during the manufacturing process and after application of the product on the skin, therefore, the efficacy of these inorganic filters can be maintained.”

2. Jan. 1999 – Mark A. Mitchnick et al; “Microfine zinc oxide (Z-Cote) as a photostable UVA/UVB sunblock agent”; Journal American Academy of Dermatology; Vol 40:85-90.

3. 1998 – Yamamoto et al, ” Formation of singlet oxygen upon UV-irradiation of microfine oxides and its prevention by surface-coating.” Proc. of IFSCC Congress, Cannes, 1998.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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11 Reader Comments

  1. pam wiseman says:

    I suffer from rosacea and I am looking for a sunscreen.I have an allergy to Balsam of Pura ect Benzoic Alcohol, Benzyl benzoate and other benzoates. All these are in sunscreens,make-up and skincare. I need all the help I can get. Thank You , Pam

  2. Hi Pam,

    One sunscreen to try is Linda Sy’s Tinted and Untinted ZincO Cream. It is as mild a sunscreen as she could make for rosacea sufferers. It uses micronised Zinc Oxide coated with dimethicone to give an excellent physical barrier. Go to rosaceacare.com and you can order cheap samples to try it out.


  3. JB says:


    Maybe you could try a couple of Aussie brands… Soleo Organics 30+ Sunscreen, and or UV Natural Sunscreen 30+. Both products (by separate companies) are free from Titanium Dioxide, have no Chemical Absorbers, synthetic absorbers or synthethic preservatives, no synthetic colours or fragrances. Both products are Zinc coated in Silica (not dimethicone) and both have had good successes with Rosacea sufferers. Best of Luck. http://www.soleoorganics.com and http://www.uvnatural.com

  4. Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried the Soleo Organics 30+ Sunscreen and like that it has natural ingredients, but it is oily, oily, oily. It didn’t seem to rub in at all for me.

  5. MJ says:

    Now that Linda Sy’s tinted zinco cream is no longer available, any suggestions?

  6. Hi MJ, Tinted and Untinted Zinco Cream will be available again shortly via RosaceaCare

    see: ZincO, Vita-Oil and Oatmeal Cleanser available again soon for more info.


  7. Damon says:

    Has anyone tried BurnOut Clean and Clear. I just bought it and am doing a patch test to see how I react.


  8. suzanne says:

    If you compare the ingredients of ZinCo with Blue Lizard’s Face cream, spf 30, they are very similar. According to at least one site Blue Lizard’s face cream (not necessarily their other formulas) also contains dimethicone-coated micronized zinc oxide, 8%, along with 5.5% octinoxate.

    Regardless of the risk of micronized minerals, just reading about zinc oxide on wikipedia – it’s degraded by most acids, reacts slowly with most fatty acids to form carboxylates, and according to wikipedia when a zinc oxide ointment with water melts and is exposed to UV light, hydrogen peroxide is formed! – I’ve come to think that to use this as a sunscreen at all, it needs to be dimethicone-coated.

  9. Hazell says:

    Hi new to the rosacea website, also looking for a sunblock that is fragrance free .lanolin free. Nickel free. I have been using gentle wash Cetaphil also Cetaphil moisture cream find both okay for my skin, reading they have a new cream and wash called restoraderm.

    I also wonder if anyone has highblood pressure and did the tablets help with the red skin as I have been given tablets 4 days ago. Have metrosa jel 0%75 now for 2 month was taken of antibiotics which did not seem to help.

    Hope to hear from members about there experience using the above products.

  10. Sarah F. says:

    Disclaimer: I have rosacea, just in case there was any question about me being a troll/spammer (I haven’t posted a lot). I don’t have anything to sell.

    In future, if any questions come up regarding safety/toxicity issues with products, people may find the Personal Care Truth website invaluable. It has a stronger backing in scientific data (properly digested/interpreted by actual scientists) than the cosmeticsdatabase site which is run by lobbyists (not scientists) and is typically alarmist. I link to a relevant review from the Personal Care Truth site. I hope others will find the site useful.


  11. Sarah F. says:

    P.S. Also check out The Beauty Brains blog.

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