Zinc

Zinc Supplement

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is required by many human enzymes and cellular processes. Zinc is one of the most common supplements used in the Naturopathic treatment of acne. Both topical and oral Zinc formulations are used as acne treatments. Zinc is one of the most extensively researched nutritional supplements for acne, and their have been several research studies and clinical trials that have reported Zinc supplements to be effective at decreasing the severity of acne symptoms.

Elemental Zinc
Elemental Zinc

Zinc is a popular nutritional supplement is purported to help boost the immune system.  Zinc ions are essential for many key molecular processes, such as gene expression and cellular differentiation. Zinc is one of the primary ingredients in many Naturopathic cold and flu treatments. Zinc deficiency has been shown to suppress the immune system, and several studies have found that important immune functions can be enhanced through regular consumption of Zinc supplements. Although the observed effects of zinc function on the immune system tend to be relatively mild, it is clear that healthy levels of Zinc are important for a healthy immune system.

Relationship of Acne Severity and Blood Levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Zinc (Ozuguz)
Relationship of Acne Severity and Blood Levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Zinc (Ozuguz)

There are several different versions of oral Zinc supplement available, including zinc acetate and zinc gluconate.  A few research studies have found that individuals with moderate to severe acne symptoms tend to have lower levels of Zinc in their blood than individuals without acne symptoms. Because of this relationship, many people believe that Zinc supplements can help improve acne symptoms. In the 1970’s several clinical trials were conducted to investigate whether oral Zinc supplements were effective acne treatments. The results of these trials were mixed, but overall they did tend to find that oral Zinc supplements helped reduce the severity of acne symptoms for some patients.

Zinc can also be used topically as a treatment for acne. Zinc salts can be added to topical Naturopathic anti-acne formulations. Zinc has antimicrobial properties that may help control the growth of acne-causing P. acnes bacteria. Several Zinc acne treatment creams are available, some of which also contain antibiotics. However, most of the clinical research studies on topical Zinc acne treatments have found that they are not very effective.

Overall, oral Zinc supplements are one of the nutritional supplements that is most likely to help improve acne symptoms (according to the available evidence). Zinc supplements are not expected to completely cure acne symptoms for most people. However, they can be combined with many other types of acne treatments. Zinc supplements are generally safe when consumed at recommended dosages, but consuming large quantities of Zinc supplements can be toxic and cause permanent damage.

Zinc Images

References

Zinc @ Wikipedia
Low doses of zinc gluconate for inflammatory acne. Dreno, et al. 1989.
Serum zinc in acne vulgaris. Amer, et al. 1982.
Oral zinc in acne vulgaris: a clinical and methodological study. Göransson, et al. 1977.
Topical erythromycin and zinc therapy for acne. Schachner, et al. 1990.
Topical zinc therapy for acne vulgaris. Cochran, et al. 1985.
Clinical evaluation in acne. Liden, et al. 1979.
Effects of oral zinc and vitamin A in acne. Michaelsson, et al. 1977.
Comparison of oral treatment with zinc sulphate and placebo in acne vulgaris. Hillstrom, et al. 1977.
Multicenter Randomized Comparative Double-Blind Controlled Clinical Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of Zinc Gluconate versus Minocycline Hydrochloride in the Treatment of Inflammatory Acne vulgaris. Dreno, et al. 2001.
Evaluation of serum vitamins A and E and zinc levels according to the severity of acne vulgaris. Ozuguz, et al. 2014.
Zinc in skin pathology and care. Nitzan, et al. 2006.
Acne treatment with topical erythromycin and zinc: effect on Propionibacterium acnes and free fatty acid composition. Strauss, et al. 1984.
The role of zinc in acne and prevention of resistance: have we missed the “base” effect. Sardana, et al. 2014.
Oral zinc sulphate therapy in acne vulgaris: a double-blind trial. Verma, et al. 1979.
The role of zinc in rosacea and acne: further reflections. Gessert, et al. 2014.
Correlation between the severity and type of acne lesions with serum zinc levels in patients with acne vulgaris. Mogaddam, et al. 2014.
Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review. Gupta, et al. 2014.
Therapeutic evaluation of 2% tea lotion in comparison with 5% zinc sulfate solution in the treatment of acne rosacea. Sharquie, et al. 2014.