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How to use zinc oxide powder

How to use Zinc Oxide in your homemade skin care

Zinc Oxide Powder

Zinc Oxide is gaining popularity thanks to its many functions in homemade skin care preparations. While this white, fine, mineral powder can be used in many ways in soaps, make-up and other beauty products, the two most popular uses for this mineral are: physical SPF sunscreen and anti-rash/anti-acne lotions.

The zinc oxide powder we offer is the absolute best you can find:

  • Pharmaceutical Grade. This is the purest grade for a powder and it ensures there is no lead or other impurities.
  • Non-nano. This is important because it makes it so it won’t be absorbed in your blood stream but will simply sit on the surface of your skin to act as a barrier.
  • Non-micronized. Micronized makes the particles of zinc oxide small enough to enter your blood stream. We do not want zinc oxide in your blood, we want it to coat your skin and block the sun or gently dry out skin irritations.
  • Made in USA. We just feel safer this way.

DIY SPF Sunscreen Recipe with zinc oxide

Zinc Oxide acts as a physical block to UVA and UVB rays, and this makes it the active ingredient in many sunscreen lotions. In case you didn’t know, UVB rays affect the upper layers of your skin, they cause tanning and burning, but not necessarily wrinkles. UVA rays affect deeper layers of skin: they can really penetrate and over time can cause long term damage like wrinkles, dark spots and other skin discoloration. So, having a lotion that can protect you from both UVA and UVB is important for more than one reason.

To make a simple lotion with SPF, all you need to do add 20% zinc oxide to your formula, for example:

50% shea butter + 30% carrier oil + 20% zinc oxide powder

The basic procedure is simple: melt the shea butter, add the oil and zinc oxide, whip them together, let the preparation solidify in the fridge, then give it one more whip to add some volume and to make it easy to scoop or pour into your container.

Although you won’t be able to test your SPF level in a lab every time you whip this lotion in your home, this should give you more than 20 SPF. Make sure you re-apply it often when outdoors, and that you always use common sense while being exposed to the sun.

Here is an example of a body butter with zinc oxide powder added in the whipping step:


DIY Anti-Rash & Anti-Acne Recipe with zinc oxide

Another popular use for Zinc Oxide powder is in lotions that soothe skin irritations such as eczema and bug bites, and it also helps in drying acne break outs.

To make a simple and soothing DIY anti-rash and anti-acne cream, follow this simple recipe:

Apply this lotion on the affected skin until fully absorbed, repeat as necessary.

We hope you find this useful, let us know if you have any questions or comments and feel free to share how YOU use zinc oxide powder in your homemade skin care creations by leaving us a comment below!

P.S. if you would like to purchase Pharmaceutical Grade, Non-Nano, Made in the USA Zinc Oxide you can do so here.

90 responses to “How to use Zinc Oxide in your homemade skin care

  1. Hi,

    I just ordered your zinc oxide powder on Amazon to make my own sunscreen, but then later read on a forum that some zinc poweders are not 100% zinc and the contaminant with zinc is almost always lead. What % of zinc is your product? Do you guarantee that it is lead free? I am just wondering whether I should use it or not. Thank you,


    1. Hi Lauren,

      According to our Certificate of Analysis, the lead content is 14 parts to a million – meaning that out of every million parts of zinc, 14 are lead particles. To our knowledge, there isn’t any purer Zinc Oxide Powder available anywhere in the world – and we have searched for the purest source for close to 1 year.

      Our Zinc Oxide Powder is Pharmaceutical Grade, guaranteeing 99% purity, versus Cosmetic Grade which only gives about 70% purity. Below is a link to an informative blog on the subject:

      1. Hi Isabella
        I can’t see the link you mentioned. I’m a bit confused because the zinc oxide you sell is described as not having any lead?

  2. Hi Lauren

    I currently use zinc, starch and boracic mix store bought powder but was hoping to make my own as I am not sure about the quality of the ingredients.
    Can I use zinc oxide as an ingredient in mixing my own body powder much like you would powder a baby for example.
    But I want to use this mix on myself not a baby.

    Thank you for your informative page.

  3. Hi, I purchased this product non nano uncoated zinc oxide powder probably last year. But I am not sure if it is still effective as it does not have any expiration date. Please let me know if it expires and how long I can keep it. I did kept it sealed in a plastic wrap. Please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks

    1. Hello!

      As long as it is stored properly (away from moisture and sealed), it will still work! It’s a naturally occuring mineral, so sitting on the skin it will still be just as effective 🙂 If it was exposed to moisture or other ingredients, I would say get a new one. I hope this helps! Feel free to e-mail us any time with questions!

  4. If I make this sunscreen now, how long will it be good for? Does the zinc lose effectiveness? I need some but we only use a little bit during the winter. Will it still work next summer?

    1. Zinc is a mineral – essentially it’s part of a rock 🙂 – so it doesn’t go bad or lose effectiveness. Also, remember that zinc creates a physical barrier by physically coating your skin to prevent UV rays from going past your skin layers, so more than “going bad” you want to worry about “going away” as in getting washed or rubbed off. That’s why sunscreens that contain a physical barrier ingredient like zinc oxide say to reapply it every few hours – it’s because you can wipe it off your skin or wash it off and not notice, so you want to re-apply the protective coat.

      All our recipes that only contain butters and oils are usually good for 12 months when stored in a cool place away from direct heat. I like to make new batches every 6 months or so because it’s so easy and fast to whip up a skin care product that I prefer to spend some time remaking it than using something that I’ve made more than 6 month ago. So while you can probably use what you make now next summer, I think you will be happier if you make a fresh batch when it’s closer to summer time.

  5. Hi
    Wanted to know if used as a face powder zinc oxide is effective or not? or does it need to be mixed with oil/shea butter? Is it dangerous if inhaled when using as face powder?


    1. You can use it as an ingredient mixed with other oils and butters, but should not use it alone as it’s a very white, sticky powder on its own. The most common ratio of zinc oxide found in lotions is between 5 and 20%.

  6. Hello! Am wondering with recipes using zinc oxide, does the zinc oxide prevent your skin from absorbing the benefits of the other ingredients used?

    1. Not that I know of, it’s like using a mineral SPF cream: zinc oxide blocks UV rays but it does not block the ability of butters and botanicals from nourishing your skin.

      1. I have really bad acne on one side of my face. I heard zinc oxide is really good for acne. Could I put it on my face before I go to bed and would it make a difference?

        1. Yes, zinc oxide is an active ingredient in several acne creams or rash creams, it’s a mineral that calms your skin. You can mix a teaspoon of zinc oxide with a tablespoon of base lotion or cream, apply it on the acne before bed, wipe it off in the morning. It will gently dry out acne and breakouts.

  7. Hi,
    Can creams with zinc oxide be used on children as well? If so, starting at what age? Also, if this can be used on children, should the percentage of zinc oxide in a product be modified?

    1. Zinc oxide is often found as the active ingredients in sunscreens (babies and kid friendly) and in diaper rash creams because zinc soothes rashes, acne breakouts and similar irritations.

  8. Can you explain what you men When you say 20% of your formula. Idk if this is a crazy question but is it 20% of how much carrier oil you use?

    1. This is not a crazy question at all! To properly formulate a skin care product, ideally you start with percentages, then you change these into ounces/grams/lbs etc. In this recipe, we show you an example of a formula that has 20% zinc oxide in it: 3 oz shea, 1 oz jojoba and 1 oz zinc oxide.

    1. You can add it to a face cream as well, the problem is that now the FDA classifies Sunscreens as a drug, so we need to be careful how we word things around zinc, SPF and sunscreen. It would be considered medical advice without being qualified to do so. This doesn’t say you cannot research the subject and make your decisions, we just can’t get into too much advice on this anymore.

  9. Can I mix the zinc with CBD? I make a body butter with cbd and like the idea of some spf in the mix!

      1. Hello, how to make a face serum? How to make a face cream while mixing water + oil? The fact is that adding water to cosmetics is risky because we might have bacteria or mold, so we have to add an ingredient to unify oil and water 💦 can you explain it to me

    1. No, pure zinc oxide powder is never used straight on your skin, you need to add it to other ingredients and never at a high percentage.

  10. How do you remove zinc oxide residue from kitchen utensils and pots and pans? I was making a recipe and it’s so hard to clean! Thanks

    1. I have never tried adding zinc to soap, but I know from adding it to body butters that I need to wait until the melted butters get more dense like honey, that way it’s easier for the zinc to disperse more evenly.

  11. Hi Isabella
    Thank you for this article. I was wondering whether I could just use jojoba oil and not shea butter? I don’t want it to be too greasy

    1. To make the shea butter less greasy, add arrowroot Powder or cornstarch powder (I’d recommend arrowroot Powder). Add little by little until you get the consistency you want.

  12. ~Is Mango Butter the best for oily/combo/dry skin type that has breakouts often and sensitive skin vs the other Butters: Kokum, Cocoa, Shea, …?
    ~When using the 20% zinc oxide to my formula for face moisturizer…would I label it as SPF 30?
    ~Is zinc oxide safe for wearing at night when we sleep or is it only recommended to wear in the morning?

    1. Unless you have had that product professionally tested by a lab to confirm that in fact the lotion is an spf 30 then don’t put that in your label. That is false and misleading information.

  13. I’m making a eczema cream and adding zinc powder. I don’t know exactly what I did wrong (actually I think I do lol) but my cream came out a little grainy but I have already added the zinc. Is it safe to reheat?

    1. No, it simply sits on your skin creating a barrier. That said, people are allergic and have reactions to different products so if you are concerned about it, do a test on a small area of your skin and wait 24 hours.

  14. What scale should I get if I want to measure my essential oils, butter, powders, and carrier oils?

    For example, if it says the recommended amount is 3% of geranium EO, does that mean I can only add up to 3% of Geranium Essential oil, or can I do a mixture of EO but only up to 3%?

    1. The 3% in your example is the total of all Essential Oils. This can come from 1 EO or a blend of EOs. To measure something very light you can look for “laboratory high precision scale” and you’ll find a variety of choices.

  15. If making a body or face wash or scrub, would I be combining the zinc with the dry ingredients before mixing with the wet ingredients or mixing the zinc after combining all of the ingredients? I generally use bentonite clay (I use it most often) or charcoal in my skin care washes.

    Also, do you have/know of any good diaper rash recipes? Maybe with bentonite in it?

    Thank you!

  16. How many jars can this recipe fill? Also, can this be converted to grams and be used?
    What is the shelf life of this cream?

  17. Hello there,
    Can I still use or add zinc oxide in my formular that includes 10% lactic acid and 1% hyaluronic acid.

    Best regards

    1. I have not personally made a formula with all those ingredients, but I don’t see why not. You need to make sure the zinc is dispersed evenly in your formula so focus on whipping everything really well.

  18. Hi! Does zinc oxide need to be “melted” into a heated oil or butter? Or can it be whipped with room temperature oil or butter? Which one provides most effectiveness and potency for the zinc?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Zinc is a mineral and does not “melt” or dissolve like sugar or salt in water. It will disperse in your formula, so the trick is to disperse it evenly and avoid clumps of zinc from depositing on the bottom. The best way I have found is to add the zinc to your melted ingredients and whip, then whip again after everything has solidified. Just focus on whipping really well.

  19. What precautions should be taken when working with zinc powder? I’ve read you need to wear a mask and inhaling the particles could be dangerous.
    Would a simple bandana or n95 mask be sufficient?


    1. Yes, those are sufficient. When you use it in small quantities as in these recipes, you don’t need a mask, I never use one.

  20. Hi there. I would like to add this to my existing skin care routine – either adding it to my makeup or with loose powder. Do you think that it would work doing either of those things?

    1. It can work added to make up, but in a small percentage. This powder is sticky and will leave a white coating if you use too much.

    1. No, straight zinc oxide powder is very sticky and should only be used in skin care formulas with other ingredients.

    1. No that won’t work. Zinc is a mineral and it will not dissolve in your rose water, it will just sink to the bottom.

    1. I don’t know how that’s possible because zinc oxide is pure white and it’s a mineral that will not change color.

  21. I want to know why some formulas made with zinc oxide swells and overflows into a foamy mess and what can be done to prevent this.
    Second, is zinc oxide better in balms to avoid overflowing or it’s okay in creams with another ingredient paired with it to avoid swelling and overflow?

    1. I don’t know what you mean by overflowing, it has not happened to my recipes. I use 20% zinc in my formulas, how much do you use and how do you get it incorporated?

    1. I am not sure, and we are not allowed to give medical advice. My opinion tho is that since shea butter works great to alleviate eczema and similar skin irritations, it may work for you too. There’s only one way to find out… 🙂

    1. Yes, zinc is a mineral and even if it’s super fine, there will always be a grit to it. It does not dissolve in your products, it just gets dispersed in it.

  22. Zinc oxide ointment usually comes in 16 oz. containers. How much body butter, carrier oil, and Zinc oxide do I have to use to fill up the container. Thank you.

  23. How do I make a 16 oz. zinc oxide ointment using coconut oil and Shea Butter.
    Directions please. Thank you.

  24. Do you have to add a carrier oil? Is it possible to just have the shea butter and zinc oxide? If not, is beeswax a good alternative to carrier oil?

    1. Adding an oil makes it easier to mix in the zinc oxide, however it’s not necessary. Beeswax is not an alternative to an oil, it will make your product more solid/firm and if you use too much, it will be hard to apply and spread the final product on your skin.

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