When you think of skin health, zinc is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.
But you’d be surprised at how this mineral plays an important role in combating skin ailments and acne and enhancing the wound-healing process.
Zinc is known as the “trace element” because small amounts of it can go a very long way.
Zinc has powerful properties that make skin cells dependent on it. In fact, the epidermis (outermost layer of your skin) is concentrated with 6 times more zinc minerals than the dermis (lower layers of your skin). That said, zinc stabilizes cell membranes in the skin and is essential for defending your skin against free radicals, protecting its fats, and cells that produce collagen. Think of zinc as your Wonder Woman who defends your skin from all types of evil UV rays, pollution, and other skin-villains.
What’s more, is that zinc heals the skin from cuts and burns. It goes to work when you cut yourself by protecting against infection and regulates cell production and turnover. It can also help in reducing the amount of oil your skin produces because it lowers the number of androgens (male hormones) that lead to oily skin, and prevents your pores from clogging up.
The big jackpot is that zinc is effective for treating acne. Research suggests that people with acne have lower skin levels of zinc and may even be zinc-deficient. Zinc serves as an antioxidant and has a calming ability on the skin, so it directly combats the inflammatory disorder resulting from acne and plays the role of an acne-fighter. Though it usually isn’t as effective as other acne treatments, at the very least it can help minimize acne-related redness.
Naturally, zinc is found in red meat, seafood, poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. That said, vegetarians and vegans tend to get lower amounts of zinc in their diets.
If you are zinc-deficient or want to treat your acne, you can either take oral zinc supplements or apply it topically through creams and serums, though research suggests that the former is more effective than the latter. If you’re looking for a natural acne treatment, this may be a good alternative to mainstream skincare for you.
Keep in mind that not everyone who breaks out will respond favorably to zinc supplements, so be sure to consult your healthcare provider or doctor beforehand. If you exceed the necessary amount of zinc intake, you might suffer from side effects like an upset stomach and nausea.
All in all, while zinc may not be a one-stop-shop for an entire skincare solution, it does certainly pose benefits to inflamed and irritated skin. For those seeking a simple skin boost, or just looking to try something new in their skin routine, adding zinc into the regimen could certainly be beneficial and something to consider!
Written by: Adi Tzadok