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Zinc Oxide Side Effects

In general, it is uncommon to experience side effects of zinc oxide when using skin creams or ointments that contain zinc oxide. However, side effects are always possible, and these products may cause side effects such as burning, stinging, or itching. When using zinc oxide in the form of nutritional supplements, possible side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth. Taking too much zinc oxide by mouth can also lead to zinc toxicity, which can cause serious complications.

An Introduction to Zinc Oxide Side Effects

Side effects are possible with zinc oxide. However, not everyone who uses zinc oxide will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. In many cases, side effects occur when too much zinc oxide is taken.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with zinc oxide. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of zinc oxide side effects with you.)

Possible Side Effects of Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is most commonly used in skin creams or ointments (such as in diaper rash ointments or sunscreens). These products do not typically cause side effects. However, the zinc oxide side effects that are possible for such products include:
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Dark discoloration of the skin.
Zinc oxide can also be taken by mouth (such as in nutritional supplements). These products may cause side effects such as:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A metallic taste in the mouth.

Signs of Zinc Toxicity

Taking too much zinc oxide (in the form of oral products) can lead to zinc toxicity. Problems associated with zinc toxicity include:
  • A copper deficiency
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Kidney problems
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and a fever
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • Coughing
  • Mouth and throat irritation.
Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs of zinc toxicity.
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