Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen Grade)
- This ingredient’s score is higher if used in products that are inhalable (e.g., sprays, powders) because of respiratory concerns.
- Products with the EWG VERIFIED mark have met use restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data.
Other ConcernsEnhanced skin absorption, Use restrictions (moderate), Persistence and bioaccumulation (low), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (low), Ecotoxicology (low), Occupational hazards (moderate), and Biochemical or cellular level changes (high)
Restricted - Unaccpetable
The score of this ingredient can vary from Restricted to Unacceptable based on the method of product consumption. For instance, when used in aerosol-based products, this ingredient may pose a risk to respiratory health, leading to a higher score
Click here for more information about ingredient scores
Sunscreens with zinc oxide usually contain nanoparticles. Zinc oxide in sunscreen offers UVA protection. Nanoparticle zinc oxide in sunscreen does not penetrate healthy skin, and thus appear to pose a low health risk in lotions. Inhalation of powders and sprays is a concern, however.
See how this product scores for common concerns.
MODERATEAllergies & Immunotoxicity
LOWDevelopmental and Reproductive Toxicity
- DATA SOURCES
Products with this Ingredient
|recreational sunscreen||568 products|
|daily use with SPF||403 products|
|baby sunscreen||119 products|
|CC cream||56 products|
|lip balm with SPF||36 products|
|diaper cream||30 products|
|BB cream||26 products|
|facial moisturizer/treatment||10 products|
|lip gloss||10 products|
|lip balm||3 products|
|tanning oil||2 products|
|baby lotion||2 products|
|facial powder||2 products|
|makeup primer||2 products|
|serums & essences||1 products|
|damaged skin treatment||1 products|
|body powder||1 products|
|eye shadow||1 products|
|around-eye cream||1 products|
|baby powder||1 products|
Enhanced skin absorption
|Nano-scale ingredients with potential to absorb into the skin||Nanomaterial Database|
|Nano-scale ingredients with potential to absorb into the skin||Open scientific literature|
|Suspected nano-scale ingredients with potential to absorb into the skin||Open scientific literature|
Biochemical or cellular level changes
|Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.||Open scientific literature|
|Strong evidence of occupational hazards||Open scientific literature|
|Allowed workplace exposures restricted to moderate doses||National Library of Medicine HazMap|
|Moderate evidence of occupational hazards||Open scientific literature|
|Human any toxicant or allergen - strong evidence||Open scientific literature|
|Limited evidence of any toxicity or allergies||Open scientific literature|
|Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - any||Open scientific literature|
Decreased skin absorption
|Limited potential to absorb into the skin.||Open scientific literature|
|One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results||Open scientific literature|
|One or more in vitro tests on microorganisms show positive mutation results||Open scientific literature|
Persistence and bioaccumulation
|Found to be persistent and bioaccumulative in wildlife||Open scientific literature|
|Not suspected to be bioaccumulative||Open scientific literature|
|Not suspected to be persistent||Open scientific literature|
Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
|One or more animal studies show classified as toxic effects at moderate doses (low dose studies may be unavailable for this ingredient)||EPA Toxic Release Inventory PBTs|
|Associated with cardiovascular toxicity||Open scientific literature|
|Classified as a low human health priority||Open scientific literature|
|Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful||Open scientific literature|
|Wildlife and environmental toxicity||CPS&Q - Classification & Labelling|
|Wildlife and environmental toxicity||Open scientific literature|
|Not suspected to be an environmental toxin||Open scientific literature|
|14377 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemical||NLM PubMed|
|Not likely to be a reproductive toxicant in humans||Open scientific literature|
Multiple, additive exposure sources
|Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in food||FDA Food Additive Status|
|Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in food||FDA Everything Added to Food|
|Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - Color Additives - Exempt from Batch Certification by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration||CTFA International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook|
|Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - Color additive approved by FDA for use in cosmetics||FDA Color Additive Status|
- NanoWerk. 2007. Nanomaterial Database. Available online: http://www.nanowerk.com/phpscripts/n_dbsearch.php
- Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
- NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
- EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1999. Toxics Release Inventory Program. PBT Chemical Rule.
- CPS&Q (Consumer Products Safety & Quality) formely known as ECB (European Chemicals Bureau). 2008. Classification and Labelling: Chemicals: Annex VI of Directive 67/548/EEC through the 31st ATP.
- NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Food Additive Status List. Downloaded from http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/opa-appa.html, Oct 16, 2006.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
- CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association). 2006. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, 11th Edition. Color Additive Information. Washington, DC.
- FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Color Additive Status List. September 2006.
Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.
Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES
The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED® mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.
The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.