You’ve probably heard a lot of stories about how zinc has helped different people heal their acne, who literally swear by it and recommend it to anyone they meet. Can zinc really eliminate any kind of zit? Does it work the same for all people? Does it depend on the gravity of the case? Which form of zinc should you seek? Do you need topical or supplemented zinc?
If you are looking for answers to some (or all) of these questions, read on. Today we will thoroughly investigate zinc and determine its effectiveness in dealing with acne.
What does zinc mean for us?
Zinc is one of the essential nutrients that protects the immune system by blocking harmful cells. It is also one of the most studied items in many areas including skin care and especially acne.
Zinc is mainly absorbed by the body through food. The foods that contain the highest levels of zinc are beans, dairy products, fortified cereals, nuts, oysters, poultry, red meat and whole grains. Depending on your gender and age, the recommended daily zinc daily intake of 8-13 mg per day will make you more resistant to disease as a prevention, while the high dose will be 25-50 mg used to treat various health conditions, including acne.
However, it is not so easy to eat enough oysters or beans every day to achieve and maintain the desired levels of zinc. People are very different and the amount of zinc absorbed by the food and entering the bloodstream varies from case to case. In addition, zinc is removed from the body mainly by sweating. So, if you do sports three times a week or go to the gym, dieting alone may not be enough for you. This is where zinc supplements take effect.
Types of zinc
When we talk about the daily dosage, we always refer to elemental zinc, which is the weight of the zinc molecule itself. Whenever you buy zinc as a dietary supplement, you should look at the amount of elemental zinc in each capsule.
To facilitate the absorption of zinc into the body, supplements normally chelate the chelates (binding the atoms of zinc to another compound) to organic and amino acids. Depending on the manufacturer and production method, different types of zinc contain different amounts of elemental zinc. Depending on the case, you may need to consume different doses of capsules to achieve the desired daily dose.
Here are the most common types of zinc supplements – zinc acetate, zinc sulfate, zinc picolinate, zinc glycerate, zinc monomethionine and zinc gluconate.
Although there is no specific indication as to which type of zinc is best absorbed, it is believed that although zinc sulfate is the most beneficial, it absorbs very poorly and can cause side effects when taken in high doses, while zinc picolinate is the most readily absorbed , The absorption also depends on other ingredients that are available in the given manufacturer’s formula, so if you buy zinc supplements, your best bet is to try the one recommended by most number of people.
Zinc and acne – what science says
Scientific research suggests that people with acne-prone skin on average have 24% less zinc in their blood. The severity of the outbreaks also plays a role – the zinc levels decrease with increasing intensity of the outbreaks.
One of Dr. Breno’s study showed that in a sample of 332 people who consumed zinc gluconate for three months, the total number of pimples fell by 50%. The same study showed that antibiotics (in the form of minocycline) helped reduce acne by 66%. While the difference is quite large, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Antibiotics can potentially have many side effects and harm your health if taken in high doses over a long period of time and require the supervision of a professional physician, while zinc supplements are safer and easier to use.
- Some acne causing bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics after some time, making them less effective, whereas in the case of zinc this is not the case.
- Zinc supplements are cheaper than most antibiotics.
- Your body may be allergic to antibiotics.
How exactly does zinc fight acne?
After more than 40-50 years of study and experience, we know that zinc has been shown to reduce almost all known causes of acne. Here are the details:
Zinc eliminates acne-causing bacteria
Several studies have shown that zinc is effective against acne-causing bacteria. Although it is not as strong as antibiotics, it is still highly effective and does not cause any side effects.
Zinc has high anti-inflammatory properties
When bacteria are trapped in a closed pore, they cause severe irritation in the area, causing outbreaks. While inflammation is a natural reaction of the body, acne-prone skin responds to bacteria much more than healthy skin. In addition, zinc has the ability to reduce the amount of inflammation and reduce redness, irritation and itching, which ultimately calms the skin.
Zinc reduces the activity of keratinocytes
Keratinocytes are skin cells that produce the protein keratin, which is responsible for the elasticity, durability and firmness of the skin. However, too much keratin prevents the separation of the cells and causes the pores to clog, creating a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria. Zinc regulates the activity of the keratinocytes, keeping the pores open and breathing.
Zinc is a DHT blocker
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone responsible for hair growth and sebum production. Although zinc is not one of the most effective DHT blockers available, it still helps a good deal.
Zinc has strong antioxidant properties
Antioxidants have been shown to reduce acne breakouts, and zinc plays a major role in this process.
Depending on the severity of your case, you will need to consume 30-50 mg of elemental zinc per day. However, be careful because too much zinc (especially if you take chemically derived versions of supplements) can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and upset stomach.
How good is topical zinc?
According to various studies, topical creams with zinc may be effective in treating acne, but the effect is very small. Some manufacturers are adding zinc to antibacterial creams to improve the effectiveness of acne, but in fact most of it is just marketing with no real benefits.
Overall, there is plenty of evidence (clinically, scientifically, as well as by the user experience) that zinc can be helpful in treating acne. While no study indicates that it works 100% and will erase your acne forever, there is a fair chance that it will reduce acne by 50% and strengthen your immune system, which in turn will help prevent future outbreaks. Zinc is also an essential nutrient that the body needs for a number of different surgeries, making it even more attractive.
If you have been suffering from acne and zinc supplements for a long time, there is no reason why you should not. At least it will improve your immune system and provide a bit of relief in terms of outbreaks, or it may well prove to be the most effective treatment for your specific case.