Let’s get straight to it: zinc has been used, topically and orally, to cure all kinds of skin issues. Genetic zinc deficiency has been linked with various skin problems including dermatitis and adult acne. Many studies have shown that test groups having the worst adult acne often suffered from lowest serum zinc levels than others in the group.
Can Zinc cure acne and give you clearer skin?
Some studies have also shown that taking oral zinc supplements can help manage adult acne if not completely cure it. Zinc is known to reduce inflammation that results in acne; but the doses of orally taken zinc have to be high to see positive results. The main concern of skin specialists is that such high amounts of zinc could lead to copper deficiency. So, most dermatologists recommend taking moderate amounts of zinc (in the form of zinc gluconate supplements no more than 30 mg per day) to treat adult acne.
Research has proven that nearly 50% of acne sufferers benefit from zinc supplementation. Nearly 332 acne sufferers in a study were given 30mg of elemental zinc daily. After a period of 3 months, this group noticed 49% less acne flare-ups. The other control group was given antibiotic (minocycline) which showed reduction in acne of nearly 66%. Naturally, the researchers concluded that the antibiotics were more effective than zinc to help clear skin, but the latter had more advantage as there were relatively fewer side effects. Later, a study conducted in France in 1990 proved that 200 mg of zinc gluconate produced similar results as that of 100mg of minocycline.
Could zinc rich foods eliminate acne scars?
Zinc is a trace element which should only be taken in small amounts along with other vitamins and minerals as recommended by the doctor.If possible, it is best to consume zinc rich foods to overcome zinc deficiency. These include: oysters, liver, lamb, cheese, and nuts and seeds such as sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts etc. All these help in cell replication and cellular growth and also facilitate wound healing. Acne scars could also benefit from zinc supplements and zinc rich foods since they allow the skin to heal faster.
People who consume more whole grains and beans often suffer from zinc deficiencies as these foods flush out zinc from the body leading to depleted levels. So, do discuss your diet with your doctor and specifically determine whether you must supplement using zinc tablets or cut down (or include) certain foods to prevent zinc deficiency triggering adult acne.
How does Zinc reduce acne?
- Zinc has antibacterial properties which can eliminate P.acnes, the bacterium that triggers acne. Instead of taking antibiotics, which, over a period of time become ineffective in killing bacteria, zinc can do the job without our bodies developing resistance to it.
- As stated above, zinc has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps in terminating the response that acne-prone skin creates when the skin pores are clogged with sebum and bacteria. This reduces probability of acne flare ups. Zinc is also a natural antioxidant that can reduce acne by reducing inflammation. It is no surprise, that Zinc is a necessary component of anti ageing creams and sunscreen products.
- Keratins are often responsible for acne. Zinc helps by reducing keratinocyte activation that blocks pores of the skin.
- A natural DHT blocker, Zinc helps reduce adult acne in women while also preventing hair fall. Both acne and hair loss can be attributed to dihydrotestosterone (or DHT ) hormone that triggers excess sebum production.
Topical Zinc: Can it cure acne?
Several studies have shown that applying creams containing zinc might not work in eliminating adult acne. The study used Zinc sulfate or zinc oxide creams which showed no difference in results seen in groups using placebo creams.
What are the typical symptoms of zinc deficiency?
Zinc deficiency can cause one or several of following symptoms:
- Skin hypo-pigmentation
- Nail discoloration- white spots on nails
- Loss of hair or alopecia
- Low libido
- Frequent stomach problems such as diarrhea
Which Vitamin Z should you take for Acne?
It is evident that people with low levels of Zinc often suffer from skin issues like dryness, acne etc. If you are suffering from repetitive acne flare-ups and also have these or other signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency as described above, do talk to your doctor about supplementation. You could use zinc picolinate or zinc methionine supplements (both of which have greater bioavailability than zinc gluconate). Avoid supplements containing Zinc sulfate or citrate as they have least bioavailability. Also steer clear of products that do not list the exact dosage of zinc in them. The optimum dosage of zinc to cure acne must not be more than 50mg per day as any higher could lead to stomach cramps and gut irritation.