Topical zinc oxide (ZnO) is a white powdered mineral and common ingredient in diaper rash creams. It is also effective in treating skin irritation and wounds. There are no reported side effects, but it may interact with certain drugs. A cream containing zinc oxide is a versatile first aid medicine.


Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is dermatitis, or skin inflammation, occurring in the diaper region on a baby’s skin. Ointments containing zinc oxide provide a barrier to skin irritants and lessen friction between the diaper and delicate skin, according to the Medicine Net website.

Burns

Diaper creams and burn creams with zinc dioxide may be used on minor, non-infected burns. A cream containing zinc oxide can be applied in a thin layer over the burn, rubbed in and covered with a bandage to accelerate healing.

Itching

Poison ivy and bug bites can lead to itching, irritation and inflammation called pruritus. Creams and lotions that treat this condition often contain zinc oxide along with iron as their primary ingredients. The antiseptic properties of zinc oxide help to prevent infection from scratching, according to the Net Doctor website.

Cuts and Scrapes

Zinc oxide protects minor scrape and cut wounds from infection and helps them heal faster. It also helps to reduce inflammation during the healing process.

Sunscreens

Zinc oxide is used in sunscreens to protect against sunburn because it absorbs ultraviolet light, according to Encyclopedia.com. Along with titanium oxide, it helps to provide broad spectrum protection against harmful ultraviolet A rays and B rays, according to Washington Facelift.