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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.
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.