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What Are the Different Types of Zinc Oxide Creams?

A tube of zinc oxide cream.
Zinc oxide cream can be used to treat and prevent some types of diaper rashes.
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  • Written By: M. Chambers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2014
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Zinc oxide creams are used for a variety of different reasons. Commonly, zinc oxide is used in diaper rash ointments, topical acne medications, and sunscreens. Zinc oxide is widely used in pain relief and anti-inflammatory creams and hemorrhoidal ointments, as well. A skin protectant that soothes inflammation and irritation, zinc oxide is a versatile compound that can be used for an assortment of skin irritations and conditions.

Many people associate zinc oxide with diaper rash ointment, as this is one of the more common zinc oxide creams. The zinc oxide shields the baby's delicate skin from irritants by creating a protective barrier on the skin's surface. It also helps lessen chafing caused by the diaper rubbing up against the skin. Other ingredients commonly used in zinc oxide diaper rash cream include chemical preservatives, cod liver oil, and lanolin.

Zinc oxide can also be found in a variety of sunscreens. A protective barrier formed by the combination of zinc oxide and the other ingredients blocks the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Although zinc oxide creams are commonly white in color, clear sunscreens containing zinc oxide are available as well. In addition to blocking the sun's rays, this type of sunscreen is also water-resistant.

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Topical acne creams may also contain zinc oxide as a key ingredient. The application of zinc oxide to the affected area reduces the production of oil and calms inflammation. It also promotes healing and protects the pores from being clogged by dirt and other undesirable outside elements. As with other topical acne medications, the skin should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before application of the cream.

There are a number of zinc oxide creams designed to soothe skin allergies and provide pain relief, as well. The zinc oxide creates a protective shield when applied to the affected area. Other ingredients — such as camphor and antihistamines — treat irritation, pain, and itching. Any cream containing zinc oxide can typically be used for skin allergies and inflammation and will provide soothing relief to the area.

Hemorrhoidal creams also frequently contain zinc oxide because of its healing properties. Zinc oxide creams are especially beneficial to those who suffer from itchy hemorrhoids and the irritating friction that is sometimes associated with them. Using this type of cream on hemorrhoids is completely safe and can provide quick relief, but the ointment should only be used externally and should never be applied inside of the rectum.

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candyquilt
Post 3

Zinc oxide cream is great multi-purpose remedy and everyone should keep a tube in their medicine cabinet. I've used it in the past for skin irritation, allergic rashes and sunburn. It's very soothing and helps skin heal faster.

I always buy generic brand zinc oxide cream. I used to buy a brand name product before but when I compared the ingredients to a generic zinc oxide cream, I saw that they are the same. Generic is definitely the most pocket friendly option.

fify
Post 2

@ddljohn-- If you're going to use the ointment for diaper rash, then I think the type with lanolin is better. It's just going to be more soothing for the baby's skin and it will provide better protection. These types might cost a little bit more.

If you plan on using the ointment for something else, such as acne, I think that a basic zinc oxide ointment without too many additional ingredients works well. The zinc oxide ointment I use for acne can also be used for diaper rash but it doesn't have a lot of ingredients aside from zinc oxide which is 15.25%.

ddljohn
Post 1

So I've noticed that there are two types of zinc oxide diaper rash ointments. One type just has zinc oxide while the other also has natural moisturizers like lanolin or beeswax. Which type is better?

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