Your Cart

Discounted Addons

Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
Clarifying Mask (Special Offer)
$13.98 $27.95

🔥PRIME DAY SALE! Add an extra 10% savings + Free US Shipping over $50: Code: PRIME🔥

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


5 Reasons Not to Use Zinc Pyrithione for Acne

You've probably heard of zinc pyrithione if you had dandruff, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis in the past. It's a well-known ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos and creams and has been lauded for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. But what about using zinc pyrithione for acne treatment?

Though it may seem like a promising ingredient to help with acne, this popular antimicrobial might not be the best choice for everyone. Below, we explore five reasons you might want to think twice before incorporating zinc pyrithione into your acne treatment regimen.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Zinc pyrithione is mainly effective for dandruff treatment, and its efficacy in acne treatment is still under debate.
  • While zinc may have potential benefits for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, it is not a comprehensive solution for treating acne.
  • Using a cleanser with pyrithione zinc is a subject of ongoing debate due to concerns about its effectiveness and potential side effects.
  • Exposed Skin Care provides a specialized and comprehensive approach to acne treatment, which is suitable for complex skin issues and goes beyond the limited scope of zinc pyrithione.

Woman holding drop of Zinc Pyrithione cream near face

It Might Not Address the Underlying Cause of Acne

Zinc pyrithione is commonly used to treat skin and scalp conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Its effectiveness is largely due to its ability to kill fungi and bacteria that cause these issues. But is it beneficial for treating acne?

What the Research Says

Unfortunately, research on whether zinc pyrithione is effective for acne treatment is limited. Factors such as hormone fluctuations, bacteria, and excessive oil production can cause acne.

While zinc pyrithione might have some antimicrobial properties that help combat the growth of yeast and bacteria on the skin, it doesn’t necessarily address the underlying cause of acne.

Potential for Skin Irritation

Zinc pyrithione products, like anti-dandruff shampoos and creams, are often formulated with a high concentration of the active ingredient to combat fungal and bacterial issues effectively. Using topical zinc pyrithione for acne may burn or sting, leading to unnecessary redness and irritation.

Young girl experiencing skin irritation

Sensitivity Factors

This is especially concerning for individuals with sensitive skin. Redness and irritation can exacerbate the appearance of acne, leading to patches on the skin that look more inflamed.

Not Effective for All Types of Acne

Zinc pyrithione is commonly recommended for conditions like fungal acne due to its antifungal properties. However, most acne isn't fungal; it's bacterial. Even if you treat fungal acne, zinc pyrithione might not be enough.

In some cases, a stronger antifungal agent like ketoconazole might be required to treat the affected area effectively. Ketoconazole shampoo, for example, is stronger and irritating but is often more effective at killing fungus than zinc pyrithione.

So, products containing more targeted ingredients are likely a better fit if you're dealing with common skin issues like bacterial acne. Conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis may benefit from zinc pyrithione, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all acne solution.

May Dry Out Your Skin

Zinc is an essential mineral that can help balance oil production in the skin. While this might sound ideal for oily skin types, the effects of zinc pyrithione might be too extreme.

Products like zinc pyrithione face wash or shampoo can strip the skin of natural oils. Dry, flaky skin can result, leading to a flaky scalp or face, which in turn can increase oil production as your skin tries to compensate.

Ironically, the dryness induced by these products can reduce the risk of clogged pores but simultaneously cause flaky patches on the skin, which might contribute to the problem you’re trying to solve.

Worried woman due to dry skin

Unsuitable for Long-Term Use

Zinc pyrithione isn’t generally recommended for long-term use. It's more of a short-term solution for conditions like dandruff or fungal scalp and skin infections.

While you may experience temporary relief from your acne symptoms, frequent use of zinc pyrithione products like creams and shampoos may lead to other skin issues like irritation, redness, and even rare allergic reactions.

Considering that acne is often a long-term concern requiring a sustained treatment approach, the temporary nature of zinc pyrithione’s effectiveness makes it a less ideal choice.

The Exposed Skin Care Advantage: A Comprehensive Solution for Acne

While the efficacy of using pyrithione zinc or ZPT for acne treatment is still under debate, Exposed Skin Care offers a specialized range of products explicitly designed to tackle various acne issues.
Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Here are the benefits of Exposed Skin Care:

  • Comprehensive Treatment: Unlike pyrithione zinc, which primarily focuses on dandruff treatment, Exposed Skin Care addresses multiple root causes of acne. Exposed Skin Care kits contain cleansers and serums that effectively medicate and treat different acne causes, from oil buildup to bacteria.
  • Balanced Moisture: Many acne treatments dry out your skin, leading to itchy, scaly patches on the skin. Exposed's Moisture Complex hydrates without leaving greasiness, making it suitable for both eczema and psoriasis-affected skin.
  • Gentle Yet Effective: Some dandruff shampoos and zinc pyrithione creams may be too harsh when used topically for acne, affecting the skin adversely. Exposed Skin Care uses a balanced formula that's gentle on sensitive skin.
  • Dual Action: Exposed Skin Care goes beyond to target blackheads and other acne forms.

In essence, Exposed Skin Care doesn’t just help treat your acne; it helps prevent future outbreaks and offers a comprehensive skincare routine tailored to your needs.


Zinc pyrithione shampoo has been a go-to for dandruff treatment, and it's interesting to see how it's being touted for acne control. However, the specificities of acne treatment require a more nuanced approach than what zinc pyrithione alone can offer.

Zinc may have some promising properties, but the jury is still out on how well it compares to other specialized treatments, especially regarding acne. There is often debate about using a cleanser with pyrithione zinc versus other active ingredients, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

While zinc pyrithione can also be used for conditions that cause similar symptoms, such as seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dandruff, it may not offer the comprehensive treatment that complex skin issues like acne often require. 

Specialized treatments like Exposed Skin Care offer a more tailored approach to acne treatment. Their products are designed to treat the symptoms and handle the root causes effectively. This is particularly crucial for those with complex skin issues beyond mere acne or dandruff.

While zinc pyrithione may have its place in skin care, particularly for treating dandruff, it may not be the most effective or comprehensive solution for acne. Therefore, it's essential to explore targeted treatment options specifically designed for complex skin issues.


Is zinc pyrithione effective for treating acne?

While zinc pyrithione is mainly used for treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, its efficacy in treating acne is still debatable.

Can I use zinc pyrithione for eczema and psoriasis?

Zinc pyrithione may offer some benefits but is not a comprehensive solution for eczema or psoriasis.

What is the debate about using a cleanser with 2 percent pyrithione zinc vs. other active ingredients?

The debate centers on the efficacy and side effects of using a cleanser with pyrithione zinc compared to other active ingredients specifically formulated for acne.

What are the side effects of using zinc pyrithione?

Common side effects include skin irritation, redness, and a burning or stinging sensation.

How does Exposed Skin Care compare to zinc pyrithione for acne treatment?

Exposed Skin Care offers a more specialized and comprehensive approach to treating acne. It focuses on treating the root causes and offers balanced moisture, making it suitable for complex skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.