Zinc & Skin Care


Best Taken: AM or PM 40mg max doseCaution: Indigestion with high dosesBest for: Acneic skin

Useful for acne

Mode of action: Anti-inflammatory. Anti bacterial.Science Score: ****


What is the science behind zinc and skin?

Zinc is an essential mineral which boosts immune function. It can reduce the inflammatory response seen with acne. Because zinc regulates cell production and turnover and can help reduce the amount of natural oil your skin produces. This reduces congestion, in turn preventing pores from clogging.

What type of zinc should I take for acne?

A dose of between 80 to 140 mg elemental zinc is recommended for the treatment of acne. The RDI (recommended daily intake) ranges from 10 to 15 mg. Some studies have shown that zinc sulphate is the most effective type of zinc supplement for the management of acne. Higher doses can cause side effects such as abdominal upset. 

How long will it take for zinc to clear acne?

It can take 6 to 8 weeks before you see the benefits of zinc, with maximal effectiveness around 10 to 12 weeks. Combinations with erythromycin or clindamycin (antibacterial & anti-inflammatory) work faster. Frequent application of the above has been proven to reduce acute lesions of acne by drying out pimples within 48 to 72 hours. 

Davin’s viewpoint on zinc and skin care

Dermatologists are notoriously slow in the context of accepting & practicing naturopathic medicine. The use of zinc however is well known. Zinc oxide sunscreens are possibly one of the highest SPF whilst having a very low sensitivity rate. Zinc paste is also used for the management of eczema, cuts, fissures & other skin concerns. Zineryt was one of my favourite topicals when I treated acne in the NHS over 20 years ago! Another favourite is zinc sulphate for the management of viral warts as this element can modify skin immunity. 

A sensible starting dose is 80 mg of elemental zinc, increasing to 140-160 mg as tolerated. A rough guide is double doses of zinc from a health food shop. Add glycolic acid peels, or salicylic acid washes, a strict acne diet & azelaic acid to breakouts, and you may have a winning combination.

*Disclaimer: I do not manage acne as my work is strictly procedural. For an option on acne management, consult my team Cutis Dermatology.

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