Can I mix my own zinc oxide sun screen?

Penny Pristine asks…With regards to zinc oxide powder. What about if you mix it within your existing moisturiser. Then (in effect) would your moisturiser then become a sun cream?! I have however been further researching and came across a number of websites that said about making your own sunscreen said that you shouldn’t breath zinc oxide in and to wear a mask when working with it. Is zinc oxide a bit “dangerous” to be using by someone inexperience as me? (when it comes to making products that is).

The Beauty Brains respond:

I would not mess around with mixing my own sun cream because if you get it wrong you could end up with sun-damaged skin. Here are a few  reasons why adding zinc oxide to your moisturizer is trickier than you might think:

  • You have to use the right amount.
  • You have to have the right particle size.
  • You have to have the zinc oxide properly dispersed.
  • You have to have the zinc oxide stabilized in your moisturizer other wise it might settle out before you can use it.

When it comes to sun protection you’re better off buying a product from a reputable manufacturer so you know it’s been properly formulated and tested.

Regarding the question of safety: In general, the danger of breathing in powder is related to exposure during processing and mixing. if you’re making your own products and mixing large quantities it couldn’t hurt to wear a mask. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that you need to worry about breathing in zinc oxide when when applying makeup. That’s because the “raw” powders are more prone to dusting compared to powders in finished products which will likely contain oils or other binders that reduce the amount of particulate which become airborne.