Generic Name: zinc oxide

Brand Names: Ammens Original Medicated, Ammens Shower Fresh, Balmex, Boudreaux’s, Butt Paste, Calmol 4, Carlesta Skin Protectant, Critic-Aid Skin Care, Delazinc, Desitin Creamy, Desitin, Diaper Rash Ointment, Diaper Relief, Dr. Smiths Diaper Ointment, Johnsons No More Diaper Rash, Novana Protect, PNS Unna Boot, Triple Paste, Unna-Flex, Vaginex Powder,Yeast-X Powder, and Znlin

Drug Class: Protectants, Topical

What is zinc oxide, and what is it used for?

Topical zinc oxide is a non-prescription over-the-counter (OTC) mild astringent with weak antiseptic properties. It is a skin protectant that is used to treat and prevent various skin conditions including minor abrasions, burns, chafing, diaper rash, insect bites, and minor skin irritation.

Topical zinc oxide products are used to treat and prevent minor skin irritations associated with diaper rash, burns, cuts, scrapers, allergic reactions, and insect bites. Topical zinc oxide is available without a prescription.

What are the side effects of zinc oxide?

  • No significant side effects have been reported with the use of topical zinc oxide products.
  • Minor skin sensitivity or irritation has been reported in some individuals.

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.

What drugs interact with 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?

Do I need a prescription for zinc oxide?
  • No, it is available over the counter.
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.

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Summary

Zinc oxide topical is an OTC diaper rash ointment used to prevent and treat minor abrasions, burns, chafing, diaper rash, insect bites, and minor skin irritation. There are no significant side effects associated with using topical zinc oxide diaper rash cream products. Minor skin sensitivity or irritation has been reported in some individuals. Zinc oxide is considered generally safe to use if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/1/2022
References
NIH. Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.