Acne is a widespread skin condition. It usually transpires during puberty, but people of all ages can develop it.
Zinc is an essential mineral that your body needs for multiple body functions. This article will assess the role of zinc in treating acne, along with the risks and benefits of using zinc for this purpose.
Is Zinc Effective?
Zinc is a vital mineral required by your body to perform important functions, and zinc sulfate supplements give the best results. Zinc is vital for the following bodily processes:
- Growth in puberty and childhood
- Wound healing
- Enzyme activity
- Immune system functioning
- DNA synthesis
- Cell division
- Protein synthesis
Zinc is also known to treat acne, a common skin disorder.
Acne is caused by the overproduction of an oily secretion from the skin called sebum. An article explained that the overproduction of sebum can lead to inflammation and clogged pores which can further lead to the development of lesions on the skin.
Common symptoms of acne are:
- Papules: These are small red bumps.
- Pustules: These are small red bumps with a white tip filled with pus.
- Nodules: These are large masses that accumulate under the surface of the skin.
- Blackheads: These are black zits on the surface of the skin.
- Whiteheads: These are small white spots or bumps at the surface of the skin.
A review of some studies demonstrates that zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties make it well-suited for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. The type of acne that makes pustules, nodules, and cysts is inflammatory.
Researchers believe that zinc can help treat acne by subduing sebum production and fighting acne-causing bacteria. These markers would authorize it to treat non-inflammatory acne.
Use of Zinc for Acne
Doctors can prescribe zinc medication to treat acne, and a person can take it orally or apply it topically.
A person can also increase their zinc intake by changing or supplementing their diet.
1- Topical Medication (Ointment)
Topical treatments are often in the form of pastes, gels, and creams. Anyone can apply them directly to the parts of the skin affected by acne.
Following are some common topical zinc-based medications:
- Zinc sulfate
- Zinc acetate
- Zinc octoate
2- Oral Medication
Sometimes, acne can impact large regions of the skin or body parts that are difficult to reach. In such cases, topical treatments can be impractical and produce no results.
Oral medication is much easier to assist in this regard, and it often comes in the form of a tablet or capsule.
Following are some common oral zinc-based medications:
- Zinc sulfate
- Zinc gluconate
- Zinc salts
3- Dietary Changes
You can easily boost your intake of zinc by making certain dietary changes. Note that oysters have the highest zinc content per serving of any food.
Following are some other common foods that are good sources of zinc:
- Red meat and poultry
- Dairy products
- Whole grains and fortified breakfast cereals
- Some seafood, such as crab and lobster
Your body finds it more accessible to absorb zinc from animal-based foods than foods derived from plants. Moreover, some plants and grains possess phytates, which are known to inhibit better absorption of zinc.
Likewise, dietary supplements can also help anyone increase their zinc intake. Some supplements contain zinc as part of a multivitamin, while others contain only zinc.
Benefits of Zinc
Some evidence suggests that zinc supplements may be effective in treating acne. For example, one study reports that oral zinc gluconate can relieve acne symptoms.
The authors also note that oral zinc medications may be a safer treatment option for pregnant women than some acne medications that don’t contain zinc.
A different study found that oral zinc sulfate is specifically more effective in treating severe acne, although more research is still required. Some research shows no improvement in acne symptoms after the use of zinc, though other researchers have observed some improvements in some individuals.
Risks of Taking Zinc
Zinc can be toxic when consumed in higher doses. It is dangerous to ingest excessive amounts of it.
Common symptoms of zinc toxicity are:
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Hematemesis, which is blood in vomits
One study has reported that the overuse of dietary supplements can lead to zinc toxicity. Oral zinc sulfates are connected to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Researchers have also observed that these salts can promote nausea and vomiting as well.
Therefore, people with sensitive skin should be careful when using topical zinc medications because they can induce skin aggravation.
Anyone wishing to use zinc medications or increase dietary zinc intake should first consult a healthcare professional
Although acne rarely leads to severe physical complications, researchers know it can affect mental health.
If a person discovers that acne has psychosocial effects, they should talk to a doctor about treatment options. They may also find it helpful to speak to an advisor.
It is best to keep an expert with you in your journey for better guidance. Book an appointment with the skin specialist through Marham for more information.