Zinc Oxide

What is it? 

Zinc oxide is an odourless, white powder that is naturally occurring in the mineral zincite. Because of its insolubility in water, zinc oxide has a number of practical uses and is commonly found in ceramics, pigments, foods, and first-aid tapes.

What does it do?

In personal care products, zinc oxide is often used in sunscreen, anti-dandruff shampoo, and deodorant.

Zinc Oxide is a natural mineral that has been used for centuries in deodorant products.1 When we sweat, our natural skin bacteria multiply by feeding off the materials in sweat. The naturally occurring  bacteria, interact with components in sweat to create new molecules that are responsible for the unpleasant odours that people sometimes experience. Zinc Oxide works effectively to help reduce odour causing bacteria by minimizing the growth of new bacteria. The effectiveness of Zinc Oxide has thoroughly been investigated and validated by many researchers. Our specially designed formula with Zinc Oxide delivers 48 hour odour protection.2345

How is it made? 

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Zinc metal is heated to a molten state and then superheated to create a pure zinc vapour which leaves other impurities behind. The zinc vapour is directed into a special reactor where it readily reacts with oxygen in the air in a combustion reaction to form the zinc oxide powder. The powder is collected and screened for size and removal of any impurities.

What are the alternatives?

Many of the commonly used alternatives like dimethicone, mineral oil, and white petrolatum don’t meet Tom’s Stewardship Model standards as they are synthesized and/or derivatives of petroleum-based ingredients.

In deodorants there are other ingredients that can help reduce odour-causing bacteria, such as sodium bicarbonate and hops. We use hops for this purpose in some of our long lasting deodorants. Additionally there are synthetic options, such as triclosan, but these would not meet our stewardship model.

Tom's of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.

1 Joey Green (2004). "The Apothecary: Elixers, Remedies, and Tonics". Joey Green's Incredible Country Store: Potions, Notions and Elixirs of the Past--and How to Make Them Today (1 ed.). Rodale Books. p. 356. ISBN 978-1-57954-848-3.
2 S. Atmaca, K. Gül, R. Çiçek. The effect of zinc on microbial growth. Turk. J. Med. Sci., 28 (1998), pp. 595-597
3 W. Jiang, H. Mashayekhi, B. XingBacterial toxicity comparison between nano- and micro-scaled oxide particles . Environ. Pollut., 157 (2009), pp. 1619-1625
4 M. Li, L. Zhu, D. Lin Toxicity of ZnO nanoparticles to Escherichia coli: mechanism and the influence of medium components Environ. Sci. Technol., 45 (2011), pp. 1977-1983
5 Yousef, J., In Vitro Antibacterial Activity and Minimum Inhibitory Concentration of Zinc Oxide and Nano-particle Zinc oxide Against Pathogenic Strains, Journal of Health Sciences 2012, 2(4): 38-42