Zinc Oxide: A First Aid Kit Essential

Zinc Oxide
Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide ointment is a must have item that every hiker needs in their first aid kit. This simple white ointment provides fast relief for chafed skin and diaper rash, also known as monkey butt amongst backpackers. It can be applied as sunblock and helps dry out the oozing and weaping of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. According to dermatologists, zinc affects the cells that induce inflammation, which accounts for its soothing properties.

Small 1/2 oz. or 1 oz. tubes of  zinc oxide can be purchased online and provide sufficient ointment for your first aid kit. It is available generically, but is also available under the following brand names: Desitin, Bottom Better, Flanders Buttocks Ointment, or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

Written 2008. Updated 2018.

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  1. And I forgot….if you look in the baby section at places like Target you can get it in travel size as well.

  2. This is also what doctors recommend to women if you end up with a skin yeast infection in your creases or under your breasts (anywhere it’s warm and damp). It works great to both soothe and heal.

  3. I found it humorous when I applied Zinc Oxide for sun blocking while hiking the AT over the “Superfund” site above Palmerton PA. The mountain was deforested by fumes from Zinc refining in the valley below the site: In my hot,almost sunburned mind I found the irony in the situation!!

  4. Carlton ("Chip") Clardy

    What percent of zinc oxide do you find works best in ointments used primarily to prevent/treat chaffing?

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