By Dr Davin Lim
Best Taken: AM or PM 40mg max dose
Caution: Indigestion with high doses
|Best for: Acneic skin
Useful for acne
Mode of action: Anti-inflammatory. Anti bacterial.
Science Score: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
What is the science behind zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral which not only boosts immune function but can reduce the inflammatory response seen with acne. Zinc works to regulate cell production and turnover and can also help reduce the amount of natural oil your skin produces. This leads to less congestion therefore prevents pores from clogging.
What type of zinc should I take for acne?
Elemental Zinc! Although the RDI (recommended daily intake) ranges from 10 to 15 mg, a dose of between 80 to 140 mg elemental zinc is recommended for the treatment of acne. In saying this, there are studies out there that have shown that zinc sulfate is the most effective type of zinc supplement for the management of acne. be cautioned that 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. Combining zinc with antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin (antibacterial & anti inflammatory) will help it 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.
Is zinc good for hormonal acne?
Yes! Since zinc is a mineral that can help decrease acne spots by reducing oil production, it can work for adult hormonal acne. This is especially true if combined with an anti-inflammatory antibiotic such as erythromycin... You can take it as either an oral supplement or as a topical treatment.
Is zinc cream and lotion an effective treatment for acne?
Yes. In fact one of the best topical creams/ lotions/ gels for acne contains zinc with an anti-inflammatory antibiotic called erythromycin. This preparation is available in the United Kingdom and goes under the name of Zineryt.
The antibiotic Erythromycin contained in Zineryt solution works to kill bacteria in the oil glands. This action stops the spread of the infection, reducing the inflammation of the sebaceous glands and allowing the skin to heal naturally. Zineryt solution also contains zinc acetate. This mineral has skin-healing & oil reducing properties making an ideal companion to erythromycin.
What vitamins are good to treat hormonal acne?
A, B & C. You might have heard be talk about the ABCs of skincare, and this is because they're so effective in treating acne! Retinoids are classified as derivatives of vitamin A and this group includes retinol, retinaldehyde & retinoic acid. Vitamin B3 or niacinamide can also improve inflammatory acne, whilst vitamin C or ascorbic acid reduces skin colour changes associated with inflammatory acne.
What are other natural methods to treat acne?
The following natural product have been shown to be effective in the fight against acne...
- Essential oils such as tea tree oil. This is derived from the eucalyptus plant & has potent antibacterial as well as antiinflammatory properties.
- Azelaic acid acts as an anti inflammatory agent that also kills c.acnes, the bacteria implicated in acne.
- Witch hazel has been shown to be of limited value.
- Glycolic acids such as lactic & glycolic acid can reduce blackheads & congestion.
- A diet high in grains & low in dairy and sugar can make a huge difference in the management of both teenage & adult acne.
- Sensible phototherapy can help clear up pimples. Visible light in the blue & red spectrum activates chemicals produced by acne forming bacteria.
I suggest that if you would like natural ways to treat your acne, do so before seeing a medical dermatologist. I have referenced many papers throughout the website & in countless IG posts as to how to approach acne prior to seeing my colleagues. The majority of these solutions are available over the counter.
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 sulfate 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 @cliniccutis.