Zinc and Acne

Zinc and Acne

I’m important to remember how many bodily functions require zinc in some way shape or form. One issue is that we generally don’t get enough zinc thru diet alone, and common lifestyle choices do their part to deplete our body’s zinc levels.  Zinc deficiency is very common, and one of the ways this deficiency manifests itself is with oily, inflamed skin and acne.

Research shows that those with acne have lower levels of zinc than those without.

For reference, here’s a Turkish study from 2013: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15569527.2013.808656

zinc and acne study results

As you can see, zinc and acne have a relationship. When zinc levels below optimal range, acne is more prevalent. When zinc levels are in an optimal range, ance problems occur less often.

How Does Zinc Kill Acne?

  • Zinc reduces inflammation. When bacteria blocks a pore, the area will become red and inflamed. Zinc can blunt the immune response of inflammation, reducing redness and pain. This is especially helpful for those with severe acne.
  • Zinc is a (mild) DHT blocker. Some DHT blockers have shown an ability to regulate oil production in the skin. Less oil means less clogged pores.
  • Zinc diminishes keratinocyte production. Keratinocytes are cells that produce keratin. This tough protein is designed to bind skin cells Too much keratin prevents cells from separating and leads to blocked pores, which creates the painful redness and pimples.
  • Studies have shown zinc kills acne causing bacteria with the efficiency of antibiotics. Zinc is a cheaper, natural alternative. Another benefit of using zinc to kill the bacteria is the bacteria will not gain an immunity to zinc.
  • Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, and some studies shown antioxidants can reduce acne. The studies showed a relation between systemic reduction of inflammation from zinc and lower amounts of acne.
  • Zinc increases absorption of vitamins A and E, which play a role in skin health
  • Zinc assists apoptosis – Apoptosis is natural skin renewal via cell death. A zinc deficiency can delay this process, causing skin cells stick together and clog pores


Zinc is powerful against acne because it treats the condition as well as the symptoms. Red, inflamed skin or whiteheads/blackheads are what we have to deal with, but the reasons they exist lie under our skins. Zinc assists in processes that help keep pores clean and unclogged while also working to limit inflammation if a pore does get clogged.


All of these factors  add up to an effective, safe, inexpensive and easy solution for acne. It is not a miracle cure, but zinc and acne are enemies, and zinc normally wins that war.


How much should you be taking? A dose of 25mg per day is safe for most individuals. If you are deficient, you can alter your diet and supplement intake to meet your requirements. Coffee, alcohol and stress can deplete zinc over time. Rigours exercise can as well. Therefore zinc must be replenished to avoid side effects like acne.

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