The science behind the Zinc barrier balm

Zinc Oxide:  Topical zinc oxide is used for its strong antioxidant and antibacterial action. It has also been used in treating atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory condition characterised by the skin-barrier function being impaired, and bacteria on the skin(Gupta, et al. 2014). Application of Zinc Oxide to the skin provides a prolonged supply of zinc to wounds and enhances the skin’s healing ability (Lin, et al. 2017). To the above desirable traits, Zinc Oxide is also anti-inflammatory and increases the ability of the skin cells to grow and replace damaged ones(Gupta, et al. 2014).

Colloidal Oats: Application of oats on your skin gets rid of itchiness. The starches in the Colloidal Oatmeal form a physical barrier on your skin together with trapping water on the upper layers of your skin for maximum hydration.

Oats contain phytochemicals that promote anti-inflammatory activity when applied to the skin. These phytochemicals, Avenanthramides, are found in concentrations of about 300 parts per million in any given sample of oats. Studies have shown oats inhibit inflammation through inhibiting the tumour necrosis factor-Alpha (TNF-Alpha) (Sur, et al. 2008). Why is all this anti-inflammatory action so important? Because inflammatory markers such as IL-8, A2 and COX-2 lead to increased inflammation, ultimately resulting in itchiness. 

Coconut oil is filled with fatty acids that are excellent in maintaining the health of the skin. Studies showed that virgin coconut oil decreases inflammatory cytokine measurements and increases the expression of filaggrin and aquaporin protein (Varma, et al. 2018) which is important for people with eczema. 

Filaggrin deficiencies have been observed in people with eczema. Filaggrin has been shown to be a key protein in healthy skin and the lack of it results in an impaired barrier function of the skin. This allows microbial infection and allergen penetration (Su and Scott-Lang 2017).  Aquaporins are channels which transport glycerol, water and other molecules to the upper layers of the skin. Clinical trials have shown that these channels improve barrier function by maintaining the appropriate osmotic gradient across the various layers of skin (Varma, et al. 2018).

Sunflower Oil is high in linoleic acid and low in oleic acid. Linoleic acid is used by the skin cells to form a well-functioning epidermal layer. Whereas oleic acid (found in high amounts in olive and apricot seed oils) have been shown to disrupt the epidermal layer which increases water loss through the skin (Kuller 2016). Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that our body cannot build and therefore we have to get it from a premade source.

Kawakawa extract Kawakawa has been used for centuries in Maori medicine for its pharmaceutical properties. Myristicin is the primary active ingredient which is responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of the Kawakawa tree. This anti-inflammatory ingredient aids in diminishing the inflammatory response intrinsic to the eczema cycle.



Gupta, Mrinal, Vikram K Mahajna, Karaninder S Mehta, and Pushpinder S Chauhan. 2014. "Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review." Dermatology Research and Practice Article ID 709152.

Kuller, Joanne McManus. 2016. "Infant Skin Care Products, What are the Issues." Advances in Neonatal Care S3-S12.

Lin, Pei-Hui, Matthew Sermersheim, Haichang Li, Peter H.U Lee, Steven Steinberg, and Jianjie Ma. 2017. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. December 24. Accessed May 2020.

Su, John, and Victoria Scott-Lang. 2017. Moisturisation in the Management of Paediatric Atopic Dermatitis. Review, Research Review.

Sur, Runa, Anu Nigan, Devon Grote, Frank Liebel, and Michael Southall. 2008. "Avenanthramides, polyphenols from oats, exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity." Archives of Dermatological Research 569. doi:

Varma, Sandeep R, Thiyagarajan O Sivaprakasm, Ilavarasu Arumugam, N Dilip, M Raghuraman, K Pavan, Mohammed Rafiq, and Rangesh Paramesh. 2018. "In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil." Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (Elsevier).

Zari, Shadi, and Talal Zari. 2015. "A review of four common medicinal plants used to treat eczema." Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 702-711.