Nine Naturals Ingredient Story: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be.  Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story about Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is part of on ongoing series featuring the natural ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.

While zinc oxide may conjure images of white-nosed lifeguards from another era, it’s actually an incredibly versatile and widely used ingredient to this day. In the beauty world, there has been a recent resurgence in the use of zinc oxide. It has proven both safer and more effective than many alternatives making it an ideal ingredient for sunscreens, deodorants and a host of other products.

The Science & Extraction of Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a highly stable substance that occurs naturally as the mineral zincite. Most commercial zinc oxide is produced through a roasting process that converts more commonly found zinc minerals into zinc oxide. This process works by boiling the zinc and allowing it to mix with oxygen in the air to form zinc oxide powder.

Zinc oxide doesn’t significantly dissolve in water, break down in sunlight, or react with skin – all of which contribute to its overall safety. Zinc oxide has the ability to reflect light away from your skin, which makes it an effective ingredient in sunscreens. It also has antibacterial and astringent (skin tightening) properties and is used in baby diaper rash creams and deodorants for these reasons.

Non-Nano Zinc Oxide’s Benefits for Sun and Odor Protection

Non-nano zinc oxide ensures that you get all the benefits of zinc oxide in the safest form possible. The terms “nano” and “non-nano” refer to the particle size of the ingredient.  Nanoparticle sized ingredients have the potential to be absorbed through the skin at a much higher rate than non-nanoparticle sized ingredients. In contrast, “non-nano” particles sit on top of the skin but are not small enough to be absorbed or passed through the skin. Preliminary scientific research has shown that many types of nanoparticles can be toxic to human tissue and cell cultures, can penetrate cell walls, including organ tissues, and are known to be highly reactive. Given the uncertainty regarding the safety of nanoparticle sized ingredients, expecting mothers should avoid them.

In sunscreens non-nano zinc oxide is particularly beneficial because it provides broad-spectrum protection, blocking both UVA and UVB rays and is safer than chemical alternatives like oxybenzone. Non-nano zinc oxide is also a natural and pregnancy safe odor solution and thus scores double points for usefulness. In both these cases though, it’s the non-nano property that ensures the zinc oxide stays on the surface of the skin providing safer and longer lasting protection.

Why Nine Naturals Loves Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Nine Naturals is committed to making products that are both pregnancy-safe and effective. Non-nano zinc oxide checks both boxes, which is why we’ve made it the star ingredient in both our new sunscreen and deodorant. We hold all of our ingredients to this high standard, and you can learn more about the others by checking out our ingredient glossary.