Approved in: United States, Australia, Europe, Japan
Banned in: None
Best for: Sun damage prevention
Coral safe? No
Caution: Certain formulations may leave a white cast for olive and dark skin tones
Zinc oxide is the second GRASE sunscreen ingredient, allowed in concentrations up to 25 percent.
Studies show it’s safe, with no evidenceTrusted Source of skin penetration, even after repeated use. In Europe, the ingredient is labeled with a warning because of its toxicity to aquatic life. The ingredient doesn’t cause harm unless it’s swallowed or inhaled.
Compared to avobenzone and titanium oxide, it’s cited as a photostable, effective, and safe for sensitive skin. On the other hand, research also says it’s not as effective as chemical sunscreens, and isn’t as effective in protecting against sunburn as it is for sun damage.