How Zinc Helps in Acne Treatment

Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.

It is characterized by frequent outbreaks of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and inflammations marked by scarring and redness of the affected area.

The primary cause underlying acne breakouts is the rise in the level of androgens. High levels of androgens induce the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (oil-like substance).

There might be other reasons which contribute towards the breakouts ranging from exposure to local pollution, naturally occurring oily skin to stress.

This article shall talk about one of the essential mineral present in our body in trace amount that fights acne by regulating the enzymes present in our body. This mineral is zinc.

About Zinc

Zinc is a metal essentially required by our body in very trace amounts.

Minerals are very essential for the overall growth and development of our body and zinc, being one of the minerals required by the body, is present in cells throughout the body and is responsible for the activation of approximately 3oo critical enzymes.

Zinc is responsible for strengthening the immune system and participates in cell division and cell growth. It further repairs damaged tissues thereby healing wounds and cuts.

The presence of zinc is essential for our senses of smell and taste to function properly. It also assists the proper development of a fetus and is, therefore, an essential intake for pregnant women

How does it treat acne

Zinc directly helps in fighting the P.acne bacteria by strengthening the immune system as it forms an essential mineral for strong immunity.

It further tends to repair the skin damage caused by acne breakouts and restores your skin to a healthy condition.

It is also known to reduce inflammation and scarring caused by acne.

It has also been suggested by some researchers that zinc helps in reducing the excess of sebum from our body .

The same researchers have established the lack of zinc in our body as a prominent cause of these acne breakouts.

Research to seek results for the same theory was done by feeding some young men with diets deficient in zinc and within 12 days, a marked change was noticed in the skin health of those people.

It had caused rashes and sores. However, one this essential mineral was re-introduced in their bodies, the health of the skin started recovering again.

Zinc can either be taken orally or applied topically to deal with skin problems, specifically acne.


Taken orally its dose can range between 30 mg to 135 mg every day. However, this quantity must not be exceeded. When applied topically, its concentration should be limited to 1.2%

Inclusion of zinc in regular diet

The WHFoods recommends a daily amount of 11 milligrams zinc.   Oyster is one of the major sources of zinc as a one-ounce oyster will have typically 8 to 9 milligrams of zinc.

However, other than, being a mineral, there is not nay one food source that can satisfy our daily zinc intake independently. As a result, we need to scatter its intake among various food items.

Here is a list of some of the dishes that can contribute towards increasing our zinc intake:

  • Red meat (beef, lamb, pork, liver)
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Egg
  • Oysters and other shell fish
  • Nuts including peanuts and cashew
  • Legumes and beans
  • Cereals
  • Whole grains

Other Benefits of zinc

Apart from being beneficial for your skin health, zinc is also essential and helpful towards maintaining your bodily health in general. Enumerated below are some of the benefits that zinc incurs on your body:

Improves immunity: Lack of zinc affects the immune function adversely by impairing cell activity and neutrophil functions.

Activation of T-lymphocytes also requires zinc. As such its lack can severely hamper the immune system which in turn will make you more susceptible to infections and diseases

Healing: It is effective in binding the skin and membranes and therefore effective in healing wounds and cuts. It is further used in patients with skin ulcers.

Diarrhea: Various researches have shown that zinc reduces the severity and duration of diarrhea in zinc-deficient patients or otherwise. WHO and UNICEF also recommend zinc supplementation in such cases

Common cold: Not only does it strengthen the immune system against cold, it is also known to reduce the severity and duration of cold by inhibiting rhinovirus, replicating the nasal mucosa and suppressing inflammation

Muscular degeneration: It has been suggested that zinc, like various other anti-oxidants, tends to delay the progression of age-related cellular damage. It is effective against AMD (age-related muscular degeneration) and ARED (age-related eye disease).

It prevents vision loss by preventing or rather delaying the muscular damage in the retina.

Possible Issues and side effects related to zinc application and ingestion:

Though zinc is essentially required by the body to activate certain enzymes, its overdosage might incur certain severe health issues. Some of these problems are enlisted below:

  • High amount of zinc might cause fever, cough, stomach pain and fatigue
  • Taking more than 100 mg of zinc daily might increase your risks of prostate cancer over the years
  • Independent doses of 10 to 30 grams of zinc can be fatal
  • Taking more than 450 mg of zinc  daily can cause problems with blood iron
  • Over dosage might result in kidney and stomach damage
  • Application on broken/damaged skin might cause burning and itching sensation
  • Zinc nose spray can cause loss of smelling ability


You must take the following precaution while using zinc:

  • It is safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers when taken in the right recommended quantities. However, they must not take more than 40 mg of zinc on an everyday basis
  • In case you are suffering from HIV/AIIDS, taking zinc might shorten your life
  • Topical zinc should not be applied on broken or burnt or open wounds, otherwise, it might result in burning or stingy sensation

Drug Interaction

When taken with other supplements or food items, the ability of the body to absorb zinc might be reduced. Here is an elaboration of food items and medicinal supplements that might interact with zinc:

  • Taking zinc sulfate with black coffee reduces zinc absorption by the body. There is, as of now, no scientific explanation for this occurrence
  • Calcium reduces zinc absorption which would mean that consuming too many dairy products would do the same since it also contains calcium. The body, however, gets adapted to it and its absorption power for zinc increases with time
  • Eating fiber can also reduce zinc absorption
  • Phylate, a molecule found in grains like corn or maze can also reduce zinc absorption
  • Zinc binds protein and protein, therefore, helps in the absorption of zinc by the body
  • Zinc absorption is likely to be low if your vegetarian diet is high on legumes or grains
  • Large amount of supplemental iron can decrease zinc absorption
  • High zinc in takes can reduce copper absorption

How Effective is Zinc for Acne - Customer review

We did an online analysis of reviews by consumers who were taking zinc supplements either orally or topically for the benefit of their skin health.

Here is a summary of how effective they think it was and what they liked and disliked about it:

What they liked about it:

Inexpensive: Most consumers were able to try this treatment at all because of their easy availability and inexpensiveness.

One of them said that most of the time you are reluctant to try out any new stuff because you will have to put in so much effort in obtaining that medicine or supplement and bear the burden of cost.

However, zinc supplements can be found in any medication counter. It is also inexpensive, you can get 100 tablets just for 10$.

Immune system: Many of the consumers were of the view that in strengthening the immune system, zinc tends to fight the problem from the very core of it, thereby making them strong to fight other kinds of infections and diseases too rather than concentrating on one to ignore the others.

What they did not like about it:

Affects menstrual cycle: A few consumers faced this problem where their menstrual cycle became irregular and the bleeding reduced significantly. This happened because zinc might be affecting the hormone level to deal with sebum production.

However, this mostly occurs due to over dosage and will probably cause no harm if taken in the right quantity.


Taking zinc supplements is like adding to your body what it essentially needs, externally.

Zinc will attack not only the acne breakouts but also other infections or diseases that you might be facing by simply triggering the immunity system give a better, stronger fight.

It is inexpensive, easily available and essential for your body. If you do not want to go on supplements, you can generally increase the zinc in taking by going on a specific high zinc diet.

It will not cause you much effort or treatment to try this out and if other treatments are not helping you might give this one a try.

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