Question

Sunburn Prevention

How do zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect me from the sun?

A Answers (2)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered

    Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical sunscreens. This means they create a layer of protection over your skin that reflects UVA and UVB rays.

     

  • AEllen Marmur, MD, Dermatology, answered

    Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical blockers of UV sunlight. This means they sit on top of your skin, like little rocks, and do not allow light to pass through to your skin where the radiation can burn your DNA. I like both of these ingredients in your sunblock for several reasons.

    • First, they work! Reapply every hour when in the intense sun or
      when swimming to be sure you have a nice layer of protection.
      Blockers such as these do not degenerate like some other
      sunscreen chemicals. But they do rub off or sweat off your skin
      so don’t forget to reapply.
    • Second, they stay on top of your skin where you want them! Recent
      concerns about systemic absorption of sunscreen chemicals
      have been addressed by the AAD and the chemicals are
      considered to be safe. However, it is nice to know that your
      sunblock is not permeating your skin.
    • Third, both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are mineral based and
      can be used in the newest, most cosmetically elegant
      formulations of mineral sun protection.

    My best advice when it comes to selecting sun protection is to make it easy on yourself to remember to use it! Buy an assortment of sunblocks and sunscreens SPF 30-50 in lotions, sprays, and sticks and place them in convenient areas. It’s called product placement. Your purse, beach bag, glove compartment, tennis bag, kids’ backpacks! If it is easy to find, you will be much more likely to use it!

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