zinc oxide topical (Desitin and Others)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is the dosage for zinc oxide?

Topical zinc oxide products may be applied to affected areas several times daily as necessary. Do not apply to large areas or on blistered or broken skin. Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.

Which drugs or supplements interact with zinc oxide?

No significant drug interactions have been reported with topical zinc oxide.

Is zinc oxide safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Zinc oxide when used topically on unbroken skin is not expected to be absorbed systemically to an appreciable level. Appropriate use of topical zinc oxide during pregnancy is generally considered to be safe.

Appropriate use of topical zinc oxide during breastfeeding is generally considered to be safe.

What else should I know about zinc oxide?

What preparations of zinc oxide are available?
  • Topical Cream: 11.3%, 12%
  • Topical Cream Stick: 11.3%
  • Ointment: 10%, 13%, 13.4%, 20%, 40%
  • Paste: 16%, 20%, 40%
  • Powder: 9.1%
  • Solution spray: 10%
How should I keep zinc oxide stored?

Zinc oxide products should be stored at room temperature between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F). All products should be kept away from children and pets.

How does zinc oxide work?

Zinc oxide works by forming a barrier on top of the skin that protects the area from moisture and irritants.

Topical zinc oxide is available in various formulations including cream, ointment, paste, powder and solution spray. Zinc oxide paste is commonly used to treat weeping or oozing associated with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Zinc oxide is also used with titanium dioxide in sunscreen products.

When was zinc oxide approved by the FDA?

Topical zinc oxide products have been available in the US before 1938.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD

REFERENCE: NIH. Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/4/2016

Quick GuideBaby's First Year: Month to Month Development Milestones

Baby's First Year: Month to Month Development Milestones
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Pregnancy & Newborns Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors