Zinc oxide and acne
Research shows people with acne have lower levels of zinc than people with clear skin, and that supplementing can reduce acne by 50%. In this post I’ll go over these, and other, reasons why anyone with acne should consider zinc.
We’ll also talk about the best form to supplement with, how much to take, and why zinc creams are best used for trashcan basketball practice.
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Acne patients are low on zinc
Turkish researchers compared zinc levels in acne patients and people without acne. Their study included 56 people with clear skin and 94 acne patients, who were further divided into two groups based on acne severity: mild/moderate and severe.
This graph shows the results
Data from: Ozuguz et al. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2013 Jul 5
As you can see, zinc levels go down as acne severity goes up. On average people with acne have 24% lower zinc levels than those without acne. Vitamin E levels follow a similar pattern whereas acne has no effect on vitamin A levels.
Does zinc help acne? Let’s see what the science says
To date 12 studies have looked at the effect of zinc supplements on acne. Most, but not all, studies show at least some positive effects from zinc supplementation. A handful of studies showed that zinc is more or less as effective as antibiotics available in the 70s and 80s. More recent studies show that modern day antibiotics are more effective than zinc.
was done by Dr. Breno and colleagues. They gave 332 acne patients either zinc gluconate (equivalent to 30mg of elemental zinc) or 100mg of minocycline.
Treatment success rate (as defined by more than 2/3 decrease in inflammatory pimples) was 63.4% for minocycline and 31.2% for zinc. Clearly, the antibiotic was more effective, but the results in the zinc group are nothing to sneeze at.
A French study published in the 1990 showed that zinc gluconate (200mg/day) was as effective as minocycline (100 mg/day).
that the form of zinc used in studies explains the difference in results. They showed that studies using forms of zinc with better bioavailability yielded better results.
The same authors published a in 2010 showing 80% reduction in acne using zinc supplement with high bioavailability (zinc methionine). However, it seems to me that the authors are a bit too much in love with a zinc, and I remain skeptical of their speculation and results.
Regardless, there’s fairly good evidence to show zinc supplementation indeed reduces acne. It’s not a miracle solution but certainly worth trying out.
How zinc help acne
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