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Zinc Oxide Ointment
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Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Zinc Oxide Ointment on 03/03/2011 19:41:00 MST Print View

This may have come up multiple times, but I'll post again for those that don't know.
Generic Zinc Oxide Ointment without fragrance has many uses:

1) Good unscented sunscreen - very good at blocking sun and doesn't attract bugs like most sunscreens. It does create a white tint, but we aren't worried so much about that in the back-country.

2) Poison ivy, oak, ... - one of the best remedies out there.

3) Reduces chaffing - Apply a little on the upper thighs or other body parts depending on your need.

4) Deodorant - zinc oxide helps reduce BO.

5) Lip (or other) balm - helps heal dry chapped lips or any body parts that are inflamed by sun, allergies or abrasions.

6) Emergency fire starter - like petroleum jelly, combined with toilet paper, dried leaves, twigs, makes starting fires in damp conditions easy.

7) To protect from water - Can be used the same way petroleum jelly would be used to protect against water. Shoe and clothing come to mind.

8) Hemorrhoid ointment - Very effective. Some may find this very helpful.

It is cheap and can be had at most drug stores. Many brands have added fragrance, so read the label.

I use it mostly as a sunscreen, but the other uses make it multi-use.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Zinc Oxide Ointment on 03/03/2011 19:45:23 MST Print View

I always carry it. Discovered it through distance running as a means to stop the dreaded monkey-butt. Way cheaper than all the name-brand anti-chaff stuff, too.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Zinc Oxide Ointment on 03/03/2011 22:20:40 MST Print View

+1 Zinc Oxide Ointment. Very effective.

it's in my kit, though there are two downsides for me. my finger stays white cause it's really hard to get off (which is a good thing for the treated location), and smell brings back memory of sleep deprivation from when my daughter was a baby.


Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: Re: Zinc Oxide Ointment on 03/04/2011 20:46:47 MST Print View

+2 What a life saver. It is what an engine must feel like when you pour in fresh oil. But when I see that tube I smell the diaper pail.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
smell on 03/05/2011 04:38:46 MST Print View

I only use the plain uncsented type. Desetin and other baby specific ointments have smell that attracts bugs.

James McDaniel
Zinc Oxide Ointment on 03/05/2011 08:08:23 MST Print View

I absolutely swear by this stuff. I love it.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Butt Paste on 07/20/2012 21:58:11 MDT Print View

Was at the store looking for Zinc Oxide as a sunscreen for a hike above treeline and found 40% Butt Paste Max:


The other brands had 13-16%. The more the better? The more the harder to apply? Bad for you? Do tell...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Butt Paste on 07/21/2012 02:29:13 MDT Print View

I carry a very small amount of ordinary sunscreen for my nose, and I've found that one drop of it can be applied with one square of toilet paper to places where the sun doesn't shine. Then (multipurpose) you can use that paper scrap to light your next fire.


Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Percentage on 07/21/2012 04:05:58 MDT Print View

The standard old school Zinc Oxide ointment has 20%. I found it works well as a sunscreen and since it doesn't have the smelly ingredients that you find in most Zinc Oxide baby ointments or sunscreens, it doesn't attract bugs.

Some my find it feels greasy, but I don't mind it at all and in fact in many situations where you are exposed, the greasiness helps protect from dryness.

A link to one brand

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Also on 07/21/2012 04:32:33 MDT Print View

There are few other uses for zinc oxide. I find it works better than almost anything for lots of injuries.

Case in point, I had an open wound at the beginning of a 10 day hike. I had to keep it treated with Neosporin and covered in gauze. It never seemed to heal.

I eventually ran out of Neosporin and so used my zinc oxide instead. I found the wound started healing almost immediately and within a few days had fully closed.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Percentage on 07/21/2012 04:44:52 MDT Print View

Canus Li'l Goats 40% zinc oxide at CVS. I think it has fragrance though.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (40%) (Skin Protectant)

Inactive Ingredients: Petrolatum, Goats Milk (Fresh), Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Emulsifying Wax, Fragrance (Parfum), Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Edited by jshann on 07/21/2012 04:58:00 MDT.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
What does it look like? on 07/21/2012 05:49:46 MDT Print View

When u apply the zinc oxide, do you look like a ghost? Can't seem to find a picture of video of someone applying.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Other Qs on 07/21/2012 05:58:31 MDT Print View

Does it sweat off? What does it feel like when applied? Is it greasy like a BenGay (minus the menthol)?

What about when you go to bed and snug up your mummy sleeping bag.... does it get all over the place? Do you remove it before bed? (If you do, I hear it is not water soluble, so you need some sort of cleaner)

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
What it looks like on 07/23/2012 08:47:59 MDT Print View


You've seen me wear it when we went paddling and I sometimes wear it hiking if I'm not in the green tunnel.

It goes on white like a clown until you rub it in. If you put in on heavy, you will have white blotches. Your skin will also feel greasy.

I find that if I put on just enough to barely feel greasy, I won't have the blotchy white look and I will not sunburn, even on the water all day.

I have yet to get sunburned this year and I burn easily. I have only used 20% zinc oxide and I often spend 4 or more hours at a time in bright sunlight on reflective water.

I found I would often burn in the past when I used those expensive sunscreens.

The greasiness goes away soon after application, especially if rubbed in well.

I will sometime put it only on my nose and lips when hiking in my neck of the woods, to keep my nose from turning red and to keep my lips from cracking and bleeding.

I apply to all exposed skin while hiking in the Southwest or any place without tree cover.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Grease on 07/23/2012 08:50:30 MDT Print View

A side note, I usually only apply zinc oxide as a sunscreen early in the day, maybe twice, so by evening all greasiness is gone and my skin feels normal.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
What does it take... on 07/23/2012 08:50:42 MDT Print View wash off? Water? Soap? Wipe it on your buddies towel?

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Easy to wash off on 07/23/2012 10:08:12 MDT Print View


Old school zinc oxide has a petroleum jelly(Vaseline) base. Any greasiness can be washed or wiped off, but I usually just rub it in.
Also, since it seems the greasiness disappears after a short while, it's always gone before I need to wash it off.

The petroleum jelly base helps to fight windburn, which often accompanies multiple days in the outdoors. So having a slight greasiness is often a plus.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Treatment for Jungle Rot/Athletes Foot on 07/23/2012 19:18:23 MDT Print View

Military issue of zinc oxide was part of your medical kit when departing for Vietnam. Helps prevent/cure "Jungle Rot" aka athletes foot of the worse kind. Don't leave home without it when doing your next hike.

Tony Fischer
(adfischer) - F
Odorless on 07/23/2012 20:08:30 MDT Print View

Has anyone found any without a scent at Walgreens, CVS, etc? Can seem to find any that doesn't smell like baby.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Odorless on 07/24/2012 03:55:37 MDT Print View

The odorless version is often not in stock. I realized that I was running low so headed to CVS to find the shelf empty.
I went on to Duane Read and also found the shelf empty.

I did eventually find a new stock of them in Right Aid. They were out of stoke last time I checked.

Note, sometimes you have to look hard. I've found it in the strangest sections.
The ones I found last week were on a back wall far away from the other ointments.