Zinc oxide is a white powder that turns yellow when exposed to heat. Depending on the substances with which it is combined, this substance can react as an acid or as a base. Its high capacity as a thermal and electrical conductor made it an important material in the electromechanical industry.

This powder can hardly be diluted in water, easily accepting its dissolution in acids. In the presence of substances such as aluminum and magnesium, it can acquire volatility quickly, which can cause explosions of high intensity.

Zinc oxide properties

As a natural element, zinc oxide is found in nature in the mineral known as zincite. However, its production is achieved under artificial methods, whose white powder is the one commonly marketed.

Depending on factors such as temperature, pressure, radiation, or the electric or magnetic field to which it can be subjected, zinc oxide behaves as a conductor or an insulator, giving it specific properties that make it a valuable element for the medicine, industry, cosmetology and the food and gastronomy industry.

It is used in the production of rubbers, plastic, ceramics, lubricants, glasses, paints, creams, adhesives, batteries, among others.

Zinc oxide is soluble in acid and alcohol; at ambient temperature it becomes an excellent emitter; It changes color according to the state to which it is subjected, and its melting point is 1970 degrees Celsius.

What is zinc oxide for?

As we mentioned before, the properties of zinc oxide make it an excellent compound to make different products.Each of the following products uses a proportion of this compound to improve the production or the object as such: plastic, rubbers, ceramics, paints , batteries, adhesives, lubricants, sealants, pigments, coatings, and more. It is also added in cigarette filters; in cereals, as an additive.

As for creams, zinc oxide has a great comical and medicinal utility, since it is an astringent and facial emollient. It is used to calm the symptoms of minor burns and scrapes, the burning of eczema and itching. In addition, it is an excellent sunscreen; Helps in the healing of wounds; It helps to treat burns and improve the skin after it, and also works as a treatment for acne breakouts.

These same properties are also used in other ways, such as diaper rash in babies as it reduces irritation and calms the skin; in hemorrhoids, as it helps reduce inflammation in the affected area and reduces discomfort; and also as a rejuvenator, since it has great antioxidant properties that help eliminate wrinkles on the face.

What is zinc oxide cream for?

The presentation of zinc oxide cream is applied mainly to protect or treat skin conditions, as we have already mentioned. This product has the following uses: to lighten the skin; to slow the aging of the skin; for fungus and bad smell of the feet; for diaper rash in babies; to lighten the armpits; as a sunscreen; and for hemorrhoids.

The effects obtained with the application of zinc oxide cream can be summarized in the following results: reduces skin inflammation; protects the skin from sunburns; heals wounds; eliminates skin bacteria; moistens the skin; and even removes some types of warts.

Zinc oxide for feet

On the feet, zinc oxide is a product that fights a set of uncomfortable ailments. Corns, fungi and bad odor can be treated with an easy and inexpensive treatment, as this substance fights bacteria and excess moisture on the skin.

In these cases, it is recommended to follow good foot hygiene daily, washing them with plenty of soap and water and drying them carefully. Then a zinc oxide-based cream should be applied, rubbing it carefully and delicately, seeking to thoroughly impregnate the skin of the feet.

The next day, this product should be extracted by applying plenty of soap and water, and again drying them very well. It is advisable that after this routine, a zinc oxide-based talcum powder is applied to protect the feet during the day.

What is zinc oxide for in dentistry?

Zinc oxide is used in dentistry to make temporary or permanent cementation of teeth. This powder is mixed with a yellow oily liquid extracted from the essential oils of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, adding plasticizers and vegetable oils to achieve a fluid paste.

This mixture has benefits in dental treatment, such as its sedative effect and its absorption of water.

Side effects of zinc oxide

Although zinc oxide is an element that offers a lot of safety in its uses, when it is used in excessive amounts it can generate harmful effects on which it is necessary to act to prevent further damage.

Keep in mind that zinc oxide can occasionally promote allergic reactions or intolerances that irritate or cause rashes, leading to swelling and difficulty breathing.

Similarly, prolonged exposure of the body to zinc oxide can have the following reactions: watery diarrhea, kidney involvement, chills, yellowish eyes or skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and excessive coughing.

If zinc oxide is found in mixtures such as cod liver oil, petroleum jelly, mineral oil or wax, care must be taken that these elements with zinc oxide as an additive can generate any of these reactions, and in If it occurs, you should go immediately to the nearest medical center.

Contraindications of zinc oxide

In the same way, there are medical treatments where the use of zinc oxide is contraindicated. For example, when applying chemotherapies, the use of this product should be avoided, as this substance helps cancer cells to become more resistant.

On the other hand, when the body is subjected to the inhalation of zinc oxide vapors, it may present febrile symptoms, known as metal fume fever, also manifesting weakness, rapid breathing and copious sweating. This anomaly generally develops once the organism has been exposed to 8 continuous hours of inhalation of this gas.

It is also recommended to suspend its use in cases of pregnancy, since it can be absorbed by breast milk. In this case, its intake must be authorized by a specialist in the area who supervises your case and the reaction of the body and the development of the pathology that may be presenting.

In animal care, zinc oxide causes perverse effects when administered to weaned piglets to control gastrointestinal bacteria, as it allows these animals to have resistance to antibiotics and is detrimental to their growth, since they run the risk of becoming seriously ill quickly .

Likewise, its use in veterinary medicine has led to environmental impact studies that are not favorable, since it is a powerful environmental pollutant that can reach rivers and slopes as a result of animal excreta. Its use is not recommended without prior consultation with a specialist.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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