Acne – it’s a condition suffered by a huge number of teenagers, and even some adults are inflicted. Although there is no known cure for acne, decades of research have provided those suffering from the condition with a range of options to keep symptoms at bay and minimise any nasty marks or scarring.
Over the past four decades, extensive research on acne has proven that those suffering from the condition tend to have much lower levels of zinc in their system than people who have clear, smooth skin. A Turkish research study of 96 acne patients and 56 people who did not have acne showed that those with clear skin had the highest levels of zinc in their bloodstream, whilst those suffering from the most severe acne had the lowest zinc levels. Thanks to these results, many acne patients are discovering that taking zinc supplements is helping to rid them of their acne sooner.
How Does Zinc Help Acne?
As one of the most studied natural remedies for acne, there’s definitely no doubt that zinc can be hugely beneficial in reducing the symptoms of this condition. Although zinc has not been proven to be more useful than some antibiotics in treating acne, it is a safer remedy to take as it does not have any of the dangerous side effects associated with taking antibiotics for a long period of time. A number of test tube studies have shown that zinc reduces the symptoms of acne by killing the acne causing bacteria in the body. Since zinc occurs naturally in a number of foods and is perfectly safe to take as a long term supplement, it is an ideal long-term remedy for managing and reducing acne.
Zinc and Keratinocytes
Keratinocytes are cells which produce keratin, a tough protein substance which is required in the body to bind skin cells together. Although needed in the body, too many keratinocytes can lead to blocked pores by preventing the cells from separating, one of the leading causes of acne. Taking zinc regularly as a supplement helps to keep keratinocyte activation down, allowing the pores to stay open and reducing the symptoms of acne and other problems such as tight or dry skin.
Zinc has been proven to reduce the skin’s inflammatory response to bacteria. Those suffering from acne tend to have blocked skin pores, which can become severely inflamed and irritated when bacteria invade the pore; this is what makes acne pimples and spots red and often painful. Studies show that skin affected by acne reacts stronger to bacteria than normal skin. Taking supplementary zinc can reduce the effect that bacteria have on the skin by keeping this inflammatory response to a minimum.
Zinc and DHT
A number of acne issues are hormone-related, which is why it is a condition that is very often seen in teenagers and those going through puberty, as the hormones in the body are changing. Hormones can have an effect on the amount of sebum (oil) that the skin produces, and those with particularly oily skin can often suffer from blocked pores leading to acne symptoms. As a DHT blocker, zinc has some effect on the amount of sebum produced by the skin, minimising blocked pores.
Which are the best forms of zinc to take for acne?
Zinc is a very powerful antioxidant, which can help to reduce the amount of inflammatory damage to sebum – one of the leading causes of acne. Available in a range of different forms, those looking for supplementary zinc to take in order to treat their acne symptoms should be looking for a supplement which has the highest bioavailability. Studies indicate that zinc methionine and zinc picolinate both have the best bioavailability, making them ideal choices for acne sufferers. Avoid zinc sulphate and zinc citrate, which have the lowest bioavailability and therefore the least effectivity for dealing with acne.
Zinc Creams – Yes or No?
When taking zinc for acne, you might be tempted to try a zinc topical cream to apply to the affected area. However, are they worth purchasing? Studies which evaluate the usefulness of topical zinc creams in order to treat acne have not produced the best results, indicating that zinc as a dietary supplement is the better option.
Whilst certain studies have showed slightly positive results, there is no comparison to the extremely positive results showed in studies which examine the use of dietary zinc to treat acne. In fact, one study did not show any difference in results when a topical zinc cream was compared to a placebo.
There have been many studies on the effects of zinc for acne, many of which have hugely positive results. With studies indicating that zinc levels in the bloodstream are higher in those without acne, it makes sense for acne patients to turn to this supplement, which can reduce acne symptoms by up to 50%.