Zinc Oxide can be added to creams and lotions to add sun protection. This makes it perfect for the “do-it-yourselfer” who is concerned about the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the skin. It is the best broad spectrum UVA and UVB reflector approved for use as a sunscreen by the Food and Drug Administration. This is because zinc oxide does not absorb into the skin when applied with a lotion. Instead it sits on top of the skin and reflects both UVA and UVB light. Because it isn’t absorbed into the skin, it doesn’t irritate or cause allergic reactions.
Roughly half of the world’s use of Zinc Oxide is done in the rubber industry. It is an important ingredient in turning sticky rubber into more durable and form with an ability to resist the growth of mold and fungi as well as impart a resistance to ultra violet light. It is also used in the ceramic industry to create various finishes. Small amounts added to a finish creates a glossy shiny surface. While larger amounts create a matte and crystalline finish. Its high heat capacity and temperature stability combined with its low expansion make it perfectly suited for ceramics.
One of the most significant advances in concrete has found zinc oxide quite beneficial. Self-compacting concrete is a relatively new form of concrete that is able to be poured inside formwork, around reinforcements and through narrow passageways. Self-compacting concrete is then able to consolidate by itself without vibration, simply by its own weight. A study, “Sythesis of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles and Their Effect on the Compressive Strength and Setting Time of Self-Compacted Concrete Paste as Cementitious Composites,” by Mohammad Reza Arefi and Saeed Rezaei-Zarchi found that the addition of zinc oxide nanoparticles at different concentrations improved “the flexural strength of self-compacting concrete.” This addition also reduced the number of harmful pores inside the concrete thus increasing the mechanical strength.
Found in calamine lotion, baby powder, anti-dandruff shampoos and diaper rash ointment, zinc oxide has many medical uses. The basic antibacterial and deodorizing properties also result in it being used as an additive in cotton fabrics, rubber and food packaging. These characteristic isn’t exclusive to zinc oxide, but can also be found in silver. Both have fine particles with a relatively large surface area, but silver’s use is uneconomical.
Added to charcoal, it used in cigarette filters to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke. Added to food products (like breakfast cereals), it provides a good source of zinc. As a pigment in paints it has resulted in a color called Chinese white. It also is a primary ingredient in many mineral makeup products.
It is also long been used to add a corrosive resistant finish on metals, especially useful on iron which reacts with organic coatings resulting in a loss of adhesion. Zinc Oxide coatings are used on energy-saving and heat-protecting windows. The coating lets visible light through while reflecting infrared radiation. Applied on the inside of a window helps keep heat inside a room, while on the outside help keeps the heat out.
Many have expressed concern that zinc oxide may be absorbed into the skin, however scientific studies have found no evidence that any ill-effects of direct contact with skin. Try adding zinc oxide into your repertoire of homemade ingredients. From adding SPF to your lotions and lip balms, to helping preventing dandruff in your shampoos, zinc oxide might become your best friend.
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