woman with sunscreen on her face

Are Nanoparticles Bad In Sunscreen?

June 07, 2021

 Nanoparticle-Free Zinc Vs. Micronized Zinc: What’s Best For You?


At this point in your life, you most likely know that applying sunscreen is an important part of a healthy daily skin regimen. But if you still aren’t aware of the benefits of sunscreen, here are a few reasons why it is vital to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

  • Keeps your complexion even across your entire body
  • Protects you from dangerous cancers
  • Also protects you from heatstroke and heat exhaustion
  • Reduces the effects of premature aging
  • The ozone is depleting. Seriously.

Now, there are a million sunscreen products on the market that all claim to accomplish the same thing—ultimate solar protection to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. But not all sunscreens are the same. In fact, many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals known to cause cancer or irritate skin when absorbed (think PABA, oxybenzone, avobenzone etc.). Other sunscreens use zinc oxide nanoparticles or micronized zinc oxide to better absorb into the skin and reduce that chalky white look associated with sunscreen. 


But what people don’t understand is that nanoparticles and micronized zinc sunscreen as well as the subsequent additive chemicals absorb deep down into the skin, possibly disrupting skin cells and entering the bloodstream. 


While many studies have concluded that micronized zinc sunscreens likely pose little threat to our immune systems, tissue, and vital organs, there is still no definitive answer to the question.  


However, it’s important to note that nanoparticle-free zinc sunscreen does not and cannot penetrate skin cells or enter the bloodstream. Not only that, but nanoparticle-free zinc oxide also provides better protection against harmful UV rays than micronized zinc sunscreens, giving you longer and more effective protection.


The question of whether or not micronized zinc can adversely affect the skin and human body may take years to answer in full. The fact is, most of these studies have been done on mice in laboratories and not on humans across the world over a wide span of years. 


So what does this mean for you? It means if you are concerned that your sunscreen may be forcing harmful zinc oxide nanoparticles and other chemicals into your body, find yourself a nanoparticle-free sunscreen and put your mind at ease.


Afterall, micronized zinc was created out of vanity—to reduce the chalky white appearance of zinc oxide in sunscreen. When it comes down to it, maybe it’s wiser to select a nanoparticle-free sunscreen with a natural tint that reduces that chalky appearance in exchange for better protection and total peace of mind.




Savy Guthrie is a dermatology PA with 17 years of patient care experience and is the founder of Theoderma Skin Care.

Savy with her dog



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