zinc oxide

Surfing's original sunscreen, used as protection against sunburn and skin cancer. Chalk-colored zinc oxide products, with the shiny bluish-white zinc metal mixed into a wax- or petroleum-based ointment or cream, were first used in Europe in the early 20th century as a balm for irritated skin. In the late 1950s, lifeguards in Australia began rubbing ultraviolet-ray-blocking zinc oxide onto their lips, noses, and cheeks in what looked like a kind of ritual tribal war painting; American lifeguar...