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Should you be taking Zinc for your skin health?

There is no magic pill when it comes to acne or better skin, but zinc is a first line treatment when it comes with skin conditions like hormonal acne, breakouts and oily skin. 

Let's take a look at what zinc does..

Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for numerous healthy bodily functions, like supporting the immune system, healing wounds, and assisting in DNA/protein synthesis and growth.

Zinc and your skin

Zinc is one of the most widely studied forms of acne treatment. It can help balance oily skin that is prone to pimples and break out by reducing sebum. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. This may help relieve some of the redness and irritation associated with moderate-to-severe acne. It may even help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Zinc has also been used for other inflammatory skin conditions, including:

  • melasma
  • rosacea
  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • eczema

One 2012 study reported that oral zinc was effective for inflammatory and bacterial forms of acne. An earlier study found oral zinc was effective for people with mild acne, too. 

how does zinc improve skin health

Add zinc to your diet 

According to the Australian Nutrient Reference Values, the daily recommended amount of zinc depends on your age and sex.

For girls and women:

  • ages 9 to 13: 8 milligrams (mg)
  • ages 14 to 18: 9 mg
  • ages 14 to 18 and pregnant: 12 mg
  • ages 14 to 18 and breastfeeding: 13 mg
  • ages 18 and up: 8 mg
  • ages 18 and up and pregnant: 11 mg
  • ages 18 and up and breastfeeding: 12 mg

For boys and men:

  • ages 9 to 13: 8 mg
  • ages 14 to 18: 11 mg
  • ages 18 and up: 11 mg

The following foods are rich in zinc:

  • Legumes such as chickpeas, edamame, and black beans 

  • Vegetables such as mushrooms and kale

  • Nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, cashews and pecans 

  • Oysters

  • Poultry

  • Red meat

  • Whole grains such as whole wheat and quinoa

  • Fortified breakfast cereals (but watch out for the high sugar content)

  • Dark chocolate (what a sweet surprise!)


Try a zinc supplement

For teens, the maximum daily amount is 34 mg. For adults, this goes up to 40 mg.

Chat to your Health Care Practitioner for advice on choosing the right type of zinc, how much to take, and if it's right for you.

If your acne is mild and you’re getting enough dietary zinc, you may consider topical products. Topical zinc isn’t as effective for severe acne nodules and cysts.

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps the body inside and out. It can even help maintain the health of your largest organ: your skin. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, zinc is especially beneficial for inflammatory acne and related scarring.

Talk to your Health Care Practitioner about the best form for you. They can determine whether you’re getting enough zinc through your diet and if supplementation is safe for you.

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