What Is Zinc Ointment?

Zinc ointment often contains beeswax.
Zinc ointment is available in a plastic squeezable tube.
Zinc oxide creams are commonly used to treat diaper rash.
Zinc ointment can reduce irritation from eczema.
Article Details
  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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When a person is affected with a sunburn, rash, or other skin irritation, it can be very irksome, even painful. To remedy this distress, a variety of topical ointments and cremes are available for purchase. One such treatment that provides relief through the mineral zinc is called zinc ointment.

Zinc ointment, also referred to as zinc oxide, is usually a thick, creamy, white substance. Its composition is typically only 20 percent zinc oxide. The rest of the salve is often made of paraffin and petrolatum or beeswax. It can also contain benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine. If these chemicals are present, the buyer may wish to consult with a physician prior to use, as they have been found to be toxic in some instances.

The salve is normally available in a metallic or plastic squeezable tube. Zinc ointments work by stimulating the body's enzymes, forcing them to speed up in their normal body processes in regulating the skin. As the skin returns to normal, the irritation usually disappears.

Prior to applying the remedy, the affected area should be cleaned. It is recommended that zinc ointment be applied one to two times daily. A dressing can be used to cover the area if necessary. Should a dressing be used, it will require replacement daily.

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The most common use for zinc as a remedy for skin irritation is its use in zinc oxide diaper rash ointment. Zinc ointment can also be used for a variety of other conditions. These can include dry skin, sunburn, eczema, rashes, dermatitis, and other skin problems.

That said, many of the additives in some over-the-counter treatments can cause additional damage. People requiring the ointment may wish to first consult with a physician. Doctors may recommend a shielding lotion instead of a zinc ointment, depending on the cause of the patient's skin discomfort.

Also useful as an antiseptic and an astringent, zinc ointment should not be used on broken skin or open wounds. No averse effects from use in conjunction with other medicines have been found. Some patients can develop an allergic reaction, however. A tube of zinc ointment typically expires within five years of purchase.

People who want to avoid skin issues such as dry skin may wish to take a zinc supplement. This can prevent dryness and other skin problems. Diets high in zinc, such as those that include corned beef, cheese, shellfish, tofu, figs, liver, and whole grains, may also help prevent skin issues.

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Discuss this Article

wander
Post 2

One of the things that zinc ointment can be used to treat includes canker sores. Those little sore spots around the outside of your mouth that can really painful. They also make it difficult to eat and drink, as well as cause distress because of their appearance.

These small ulcers can be treated with a zinc ointment that is specially formulated to target this kind of problem. Check out your local pharmacy and see if this may be able to help you. Sometimes this kind of ointment is also available at your local supermart.

If you're canker sores persist after treatment, make sure to see a doctor to rule out anything more problematic.

Sara007
Post 1

If you have children who are still in diapers, zinc ointment is widly used to help with the discomfort felt from diaper rash. While you may see many versions of this cream on the shelf, try to pick up one that is waterproof. This way the cream will stay on if the child has any accidents and can even prevent further irritation by creating a barrier to the skin.

On average doctors recommend that you should treat the diaper rash for about a week to make sure it disappears. If it doesn't there may be a more serious problem that requires a visit to the doctor.

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