During my battle with acne as a teenager and now adult, I have tried zinc for acne in several forms. I mainly used my zinc as an oral supplement in addition to my other natural acne treatments. I did see results with consistent use, however, now I have expanded to using a more overall vitamin that includes the daily zinc amount I need to keep my acne at bay while trying to balance my body and create optimum results.
In a rush to get rid of your acne now? My biggest recommendation of a zinc supplement for acne is the HUM Daily Cleanse. One of the best zinc supplements for acne and a daily detoxifier.
Why Use Zinc for Acne?
Zinc is a mineral powerhouse. It plays a role in several vital systems including immunity, brain and memory development, preventing vision damage, etc. When it comes to zinc for acne, it is one of the most extensively studied minerals for treatment. Why? Because it works with your own immune system to fight acne naturally.
Think of it like a cold: when you get a cold, your body sends your immune system into overdrive to clear it up.
Acne is very similar. Once acne gets trapped in your pore, it multiplies and creates a minor infection. When this happens, your immune system sends cells to kill the bacteria but sneaky acne releases a defense chemical that confuses the immune system.
This actually creates a much more difficult infection to defeat, causing a never-ending war on acne. Zinc helps clear things up for both your immune system and your skin.
- Antioxidant Benefits: Acne is often caused by a buildup of dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria in the skin. Zinc plays a huge role in the renewal of fresh cells and sloughing off residual cells. Zinc for acne helps to stabilize a normal cell life cycle and stabilizes to prevent an acne breeding ground.
- Antibacterial: Zinc has the ability to gradually kill off acne-causing bacteria with fewer potential side effects than typical prescription antibiotics.
- The Zinc + Vitamin A Partnership: Zinc works in tandem with vitamin A. It converts the vitamin A you may already be using into a more active form of retinol, which helps clear acne lesions and inhibits bacterial growth.
However, because our bodies don’t naturally produce zinc, it’s important to get it from your nutrition with zinc-rich foods or supplements. Zinc for acne has been shown to have a significant impact on 10 different types of acne including:
- Acne vulgaris – The most common type of acne breakouts.
- Cystic acne – These are sac-like pockets that are often filled with pus or liquid.
- Pustules – Red, swollen, and painful acne that often erupts with yellow puss if picked or squeezed.
- Melasma – Patches of skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation
- Rosacea – Extreme redness, visible blood vessels, and pink eruptions on the face.
- Comedones, Whiteheads and Blackheads – Pores that are clogged with dead skin, sebum, or makeup and form a white or blackhead on top.
- Papules – Inflamed or infected comedones that are red and tender to the touch.
- Nodules – Inflamed, painful bumps just beneath the skin’s surface.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – Flaky patches on the surface of the skin
- Eczema – A visible rash, inflammation, swelling, or blisters.
How Do I Increase My Zinc Intake?
There are several ways to increase the amount of zinc in your body to help fight acne. However, be careful and choose your methods carefully (zinc-rich foods versus zinc supplements for acne). Ingesting too much zinc can cause side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and ironically, a weakened immune response.
How Much Zinc Do I Need?
According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, the daily recommended amount of zinc depends on your age and sex. For women over the age of 18, 8mg of zinc is the recommended daily dose. This increases if you are nursing or pregnant. For men over 18, the recommendation is 11mg. The maximum amount of zinc for any adult is 40mg. If you go over this amount, you can create gastrointestinal effects, neurological problems and compromise your immune system.
- Through Your Food: Getting enough zinc in your diet means ensuring you’re getting enough zinc-rich foods which include beans, dairy products, fortified cereals, nuts, oysters, poultry, red meat, whole grains. The body finds it easier to absorb zinc from animal-based foods than from certain plant-based foods.
Eating zinc-rich foods should be an everyday habit. With the lack of nutrition in most foods, you don’t need to fret that you are getting too much zinc in your diet. This is why I also recommend a supplement like the HUM Daily Cleanse to get a balanced amount of zinc and other minerals into your diet
- Zinc Supplements: Zinc is available over the counter either on its own or combined with other minerals, such as calcium. It’s also in some multivitamins. Several studies have reported oral zinc to be effective for mild to severe inflammatory and bacterial forms of acne. When you look for a zinc supplement, there are several types and it’s important to know the difference:
- Zinc acetate – Also known as zinc salt, this is a food additive you simply shake on your regular food.
- Zinc gluconate – This is a tablet form of zinc.
- Zinc methionine – A combination of zinc and the amino acid methionine used to better utilize zinc within the body.
- Zinc picolinate – Highly absorbable salt form of zinc.
- Zinc sulfate – Compound version of the mineral used to treat only severe zinc deficiency.
Out of all the forms of zinc, the best zinc supplement is Zinc Picolinate for acne. It is the most absorable form of zinc and it is a zinc that is bound to the organic acid picolinic acid, which is naturally made in the body from the amino acid L-Tryptophan.
So what next? If you already take other vitamins, then try adding in Zinc Picolinate for acne in separately for awhile and see how you react.
If you aren’t taking any other supplements for acne, then consider the HUM Daily Cleanse – it has the right form of zinc for acne and also other beneficial ingredients to help detoxify your body from the imbalances that are causing your acne.
- Topical Zinc: If your acne is more mild, topical zinc may be all that’s needed to help clear your breakout. Mild acne includes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and pustules. You can find topical zinc in patches, scrubs, creams, and ointments. You should always follow the instructions on the product label. Some products need to be applied less frequently than others, to start, or in the evening only.
My recommendation would be to use a topical cream at night like this one that has Zinc and Niacinamide. These main ingredients are good to help minimize pores, balance oil production, and help slow down the signs of aging. Remember, keeping your skin dry is bad for acne and the aging process!
FAQs About Using Zinc
Just How Effective is Zinc for Acne?
Purvisha Patel, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and MOHS and cosmetic surgeon. She is also the owner of Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates and the founder of Visha Skincare. She recommends zinc for acne and sees it as one of the best ingredients you can use.
She said it is a “high-performance ingredient” that helps to address many of the common acne symptoms like redness, irritation, and inflammation in addition to killing the bacteria and fungus at the source.
How Much Zinc Should I Take for Acne?
For teens, the maximum daily amount is 34 mg. For adults, this goes up to 40 mg of zinc for acne.
Some studies show that people with acne are more likely to have a zinc deficiency. This is why I suggest a 30mg supplement of Zinc Picolinate for acne to allow some room if you eat zinc-rich foods on the same day too.
How Does Zinc Compare to Antibiotics?
Patel said zinc for acne certainly isn’t a replacement for antibiotics in the big picture, but it can be a much better treatment option in some cases. Antibiotics can still be used for moderate to severe acne, however, it can be a much more natural and easy way to get clear skin without all of the nasty side effects.
Antibiotics can mess with your gut microbiome, in the long run, which can possibly make your acne last longer. I highly recommend trying a natural approach before you accidentally extend your battle with blemishes.
If you can devote the next 90-days to creating a more natural approach to your health and acne routine, then I just know that you will see results and feel completely different. Check out my natural acne guide for more info on how to make those healthy lifestyle changes for clear skin.
Can You Use Zinc With Other Products?
Yes, side effects associated with zinc for acne in topical form are nominal. You can take a supplement as well as a topical treatment, just be sure not to go over the daily recommended dose. However, using multiple topicals may reduce the efficacy because zinc topicals are typically thick and can hinder the absorption of other products.
Are There Any Side Effects?
If you eat or otherwise ingest too much zinc, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or an upset stomach.
The Verdict About Using Zinc To Clean Your Skin
The vitamins and minerals available to us are here to help our bodies work their best. There has been a surprising amount of research done on the effectiveness of using zinc for acne treatment. No one single product can magically cure acne, unfortunately.
Zinc can help reduce acne, but it isn’t meant to be used on its own. Zinc for acne can be used as a supplement or topical cream, but it should always be added to a skincare regimen that cleanses, treats, and moisturizes the skin with care. Give it a try and see what a difference it can make for you.
Be patient and give it time. Topical zinc treatments typically take 2-3 weeks of consistent use to see a difference whereas internal supplements may take up to 30 days to see real change.
And don’t forget on a daily basis to eat more zinc-rich foods. Not only are they high in zinc for acne treatment, but they are rich in other minerals that will help balance and make your body happy.
Everything is all about balance – and a healthy diet, don’t forget!