Microfine zinc oxide (Z-Cote) is used as a transparent broad-spectrum sunblock to attenuate UV radiation (UVR), including UVA I (340-400 nm). Objective: Our purpose was to assess the suitability of microfine zinc oxide as a broad-spectrum photoprotective agent by examining those properties generally considered important in sunscreens: attenuation spectrum, sun protection factor (SPF) contribution, photostability, and photoreactivity.
Methods: Attenuation spectrum was assessed by means of standard spectrophotometric methods. SPF contribution was evaluated according to Food and Drug Administration standards. Photostability was measured in vitro by assessing SPF before and after various doses of UVR. Photoreactivity was evaluated by subjecting a microfine zinc oxide/organic sunscreen formulation to escalating doses of UVR and determining the percentage of organic sunscreen remaining.
Results: Microfine zinc oxide attenuates throughout the UVR spectrum, including UVA I. It is photostable and does not react with organic sunscreens under irradiation.
Conclusion: Microfine zinc oxide is an effective and safe sunblock that provides broad-spectrum UV protection, including protection from long-wavelength UVA. (J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;40:85-90.)
Mark A. Mitchnick, MD
David Fairhurst, PhD
Sheldon R. Pinnell, MD
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
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