If you’re asking yourself “Is zinc really good for acne?”, you came to the right place! It’s natural to be a bit skeptical of natural remedies like supplements and vitamins, but zinc therapy in dermatology needs no introduction. Research shows the benefits of zinc for skin and its effectiveness to treat acne vulgaris. It’s not a cure-all for pimples (because there is no such thing!), but it’s definitely worth your consideration because zinc really can help. But should you be using zinc as a topical on your face, or taking zinc as a supplement? And what else can you do, besides taking zinc, to get control of your acne? Here’s what you should know before you start using zinc.
Bacteria called p. acnes are involved in the formation of acne, but they’re not all bad. Most strains always live on the surface of our skin and are called “commensals,” which are helpful microbes living in or on our bodies. Their main energy source is the oil our skin produces, which means they may help manage acne by preventing the oil buildup associated with pimples.
However, not all strains of p. acnes are good. Once certain types get trapped in a pore or follicle, they start to multiply until they create a minor infection. Infection stimulates an immune response, and this is where zinc therapy shines.
1. Zinc Supports the Immune System.
While this essential mineral has many functions in the body, strengthening the immune system is one of the most important. On a cellular level, zinc regulates immune cell response in a way that reduces inflammation drastically, thereby addressing one of the root causes of acne formation.
That’s why a supplement that includes zinc plus other acne-fighting vitamins and minerals, like Exposed Skincare Probiotic Complex, can help with severe inflammatory acne. The body doesn’t produce zinc, so we can get it via the food we eat, but sometimes our reserves need supplementing. Usually, this mineral is not associated with side effects, but this can depend on the zinc supplement.
2. People with Moderate to Severe Acne May Have a Zinc Deficiency.
One study shows that people with severe acne are more likely to have a zinc deficiency than those who don’t. In developed countries, this is not a common deficiency, but your diet still needs to be balanced, not laden with junk food.
Not sure if you are zinc deprived? Look for these symptoms that may indicate a zinc deficiency:
- Low body temperature
- Hair loss
- Low blood pressure
- Taste abnormalities
- Delayed wound healing
- Abnormal nervous system, reproductive system or skeletal system functioning
If you experience several of these symptoms, you should mention them to your doctor or dermatologist and ask for advice.
3. You Can Get Zinc from Supplements, Creams, or Your Daily Diet.
Some ways to make sure you’re getting your recommended daily zinc allowance are taking oral supplements, applying topical zinc, or ingesting certain foods. Taking zinc orally as a supplement will have a greater impact on your body as a whole. You can also get more zinc in your diet by following a diet for acne-free skin. Shellfish, meat, some cereals, and legumes (like chickpeas or beans) are all rich in this mineral.
For a more foolproof way to get your daily dose of zinc, oral zinc supplements are an easy solution. This Probiotic Supplement is a good place to start because its formulated with other acne-fighting vitamins and minerals, like probiotics and Vitamins A and E, to tackle acne from the inside out.
4. There Are Several Types of Zinc You Can Try for Acne.
So far we’ve been talking about zinc in general, but there are actually several different forms of zinc. They’re very similar, but there are some minor differences in price and effectiveness for various skin types.
Many dermatologists recommend zinc gluconate because it is good for any skin type or budget, but zinc oxide can also be helpful for fair skin, while those with sensitive skin may want to try zinc ascorbate.
Zinc sulfate in capsule form seems to benefit only pustules, according to one study, and it may be associated with many side effects.
Not much clinical data is available on zinc acetate for acne, but it enhances the absorption of antibiotics such as erythromycin. This combination is available in topical antibiotics like the brand Zinerit.
Is Zinc Safe for Dark Skin?
Some topical acne treatments, like hydroquinone, are not safe for dark skin because they can cause discoloration or hyperpigmentation. However, zinc gluconate is safe for all skin types, dark to light, oily to dry. It is also absorbed easily in the digestive tract, if you decide to take it as a supplement. It is a reasonable option for most people’s budget and good value, because a little money buys a lot.
You may have heard of zinc oxide before—it’s the stuff in certain sunscreens that makes them completely white, the kind you can’t rub in. Because of this, you won’t want to use zinc oxide during your morning routine. However, it is not recommended in any form for dark skin because one of its side effects is creating white spots.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Zinc ascorbate is a good option for sensitive skin because it fights free radicals, thereby acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. One study also showed that it inhibited the growth of all strains of the acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes. The “ascorbate” part means that this form contains some vitamin C, which can also reduce acne scarring, but might not be safe for dark skin. It’s also the priciest of the three options.
5. Using Zinc for Acne Is Almost as Effective as Antibiotics.
This is true. Zinc for pimples is nearly as effective as antibiotics, but the issue is that antibiotics aren’t actually all that effective.
When antibiotics were first introduced as an acne treatment, they cleared a little over 60% of acne. While that can make a world of difference, the success rate is not as high as you might have expected.
Many doctors unfortunately still prescribe antibiotics as the go-to for acne, even though its efficacy is questionable. So much research demonstrates that antibiotics for acne are now even less effective due to antibiotic resistance.
What Is Antibiotic Resistance?
Antibiotic resistance occurs when some bacteria randomly mutate when exposed to antibiotics, in ways that prevent them from being killed by the medicine. These resistant bacteria reproduce until there is an entire colony of them that can’t be killed by the antibiotic. Because we have been using antibiotics for so long now, and often not finishing the course as prescribed, most of us carry some form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This means antibiotics have become even less effective in treating acne.
So, for acne vulgaris, antibiotics alone aren’t as effective as other options, and they have to be discontinued after three months to prevent antibiotic resistance from getting worse. In combination with other treatments, however, they might have a positive effect. So if you are taking antibiotics, you should ask your doctor about taking zinc for acne as well. Used alone, zinc for pimples has the same effect as antibiotics, but when they are combined, your skin could see fast and drastic improvement.
As previously mentioned, studies have found that zinc can cause certain antibiotics to be absorbed into the skin more easily. Also, it can help make the transition from antibiotics to no antibiotics smoother after that three-month point. Some people see a resurgence of acne when they stop taking their antibiotics, which can be very disheartening after three months of clearer skin, but the zinc should prevent some acne from returning.
6. If You Are Increasing Your Zinc Levels, Watch Your Copper Levels, Too.
Zinc is an essential mineral, meaning it’s something your body needs for proper functioning, but it has a twin mineral: copper. Our bodies absorb zinc and copper together. It works like this: imagine you had an individual jar for each of your essential minerals, and every time you ate something with that mineral or took a supplement, it got added directly to the jar. Copper and zinc share a jar. If you take a lot of copper one day, then there’s less room in the jar for zinc.
This is something to watch out for if you decide to start taking zinc supplements or adding zinc to your diet. If you start taking more zinc for pimples, your body can’t absorb as much copper. Without enough copper, you can develop anemia, muscle weakness, mental fatigue, and psychological symptoms.
7. Zinc Shouldn’t Be Your Only Acne Treatment Product.
So is zinc good for acne? Zinc can help reduce acne, but it isn’t meant to be used on its own. Experts recommend a multi-pronged approach to treat acne. Ideally, your routine includes consistent use of high-quality products that contain effective actives to fight acne and natural ingredients to soothe and improve skin. Here’s how zinc can fit into an overall acne routine:
- Daily Supplement: Taking a daily supplement like this Probiotic Complex that includes zinc, as well as other vitamins and minerals proven to help the skin, will help battle acne internally.
- Daily Skin Routine: Establish a simple and gentle skincare routine that’s easy to repeat each morning and night. Use our skincare kits to take the guesswork out of which products to use and when. Not sure where to start? Take this quiz to determine your daily routine.
- Weekly Clarifying Mask: Use the purifying and detoxifying mask once a week as part of your acne routine to keep skin ultra-smooth.
- Healthy Diet & Water: Eating well and staying hydrated can help not only your skin, but overall health.
The Best Zinc Supplement For Acne Prone Skin
Now that you understand how zinc can help acne-prone skin, it’s time to choose the best zinc supplement. We recommend trying our Exposed Skincare Probiotic Complex. It’s made with the best scientific and natural ingredients—all responsibly sourced—to balance the body and nourish the skin from the inside out. Probiotic Complex supports a strong immune system and improves skin’s clarity.
Tackle your acne with a 360-degree approach by using the Exposed Skincare Ultimate Kit. This nine-piece acne set contains complexion boosting solutions designed to work together to support clear skin, including the Probiotic Complex. Plus, with the best guarantee in the industry, you can try the Probiotic Complex risk-free. If you don’t see improvements to your skin within one year, you can return it for a refund!