Healthy skin makes us feel radiant both on the outside and from within. When we are at peace with our skin, it has an impact on our overall well-being.
However, our skin operates on a very delicate system that can easily get off balance. When our skin suddenly gets too dry or greasy and more prone to pimples, this can also put strain on the psyche. Like a trusty sidekick, zinc might be able to get us on our way back to healthier, more radiant skin.
Zinc and our skin
Zinc is a trace element, which means it only occurs in small quantities in our body. Yet it shouldn’t be underestimated: Over 300 enzymes require zinc for their activation and stability, and zinc also plays a key role in cell division.
Skin is already known for its ability to regenerate again and again, and zinc can support that process in two ways: internally as we ingest foods with zinc that’s then absorbed into our bloodstream, and externally as we apply topical creams with zinc that’s then absorbed through the skin. It would be practically unthinkable to skip the zinc in our sunscreens, burn creams and all sorts of other important protective creams for adults and babies.
How does zinc affect our skin?
Numerous studies (e.g. here, here or here) suggest that zinc is effective at treating inflammatory acne.
In essence, pimples are nothing more than an inflammatory response from the body — a kind of defense mechanism against bacteria and dead skin cells that lie on the skin’s surface. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, zinc might be able to help mitigate when the body overreacts with inflammation.
Zinc might also be able to regulate the production of sebum, the oily and acidic substance that naturally coats our skin to protect it from harmful substances, such as bacteria and fungi. Sebum production is often stimulated when our body converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), another powerful hormone. Lower levels of DHT can lead to a lack of sebum — which, in turn, results in dry, flaky skin. An excess of DHT has the opposite effect, resulting in oily skin. Both situations are uncomfortable and zinc might be able to help by regulating the conversion of testosterone to DHT, and thus the production of sebum.
Zinc can also help the body process vitamin A, which is involved in the formation of new skin cells. A study on the treatment of acne with zinc suggests that zinc is associated with higher levels of vitamin A in the body and can decrease the number of blemishes, which might be why some acne medications already contain Vitamin A.
Where to find a good source of zinc?
Since the body cannot produce zinc itself, nor can it store zinc in large quantities, it must be consumed rather consistently. By following a balanced diet, you can make sure that your body — and thus your skin — gets plenty of zinc.
Animal products such as chicken or beef not only contain large amounts of zinc, but also the zinc found in these products tends to have a higher bioavailability — which basically means that the body absorbs it rather well.
For vegetarians, there are many options such as beans, chickpeas and nuts that contain lots of zinc. However, it’s important to note that plant-based sources of zinc also contain phytates, which can reduce the body’s absorption of nutrients, making it harder for the body to absorb zinc. For these foods, the zinc content is often also given as a function of the phytate contained within the product.
To shed more light on this topic, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), has published a guide to zinc that includes an overview on how to get more zinc into our diets, especially for those of us who are vegetarian, vegan or consume very few animal products.
How to get clear skin
When it comes to our zinc diet intake, there are a few factors to consider because not all zinc is equivalent or equally effective. Moreover, there are also differences between the types of zinc found in different cosmetic products.
The common kind of zinc we find in our topical products is zinc oxide; it’s mainly used in sunscreens and wound protection creams. However, ointments with zinc oxide tend to have a rather heavy and sticky consistency — which might make already blemished skin even more prone to breaking out.
Products with what’s called ‘zinc-pyrrolidone carboxylic acid’, also known as ‘zinc-PCA’, are likely a better option for blemished skin. Zinc-PCA is considered to be like our skin's natural moisturizing factor — a secret weapon even! — and has been shown to reduce acne.
Make our skin glow
Here at This.Place, we believe in a holistic approach to skincare. While we know that a balanced diet with zinc can support our body and skin from the inside out, we also know that zinc applied externally can be beneficial too — especially when it’s part of a feel-good ritual to help us calm down and relax our body and mind.
Our special formulation of The Glow cream combines the high-quality zinc-PCA with other powerful herbal ingredients. Together with CBD, cinnamon bark and hyaluronic acid, The Glow makes your skin positively radiant — and its natural fragrances offer you an experience for the senses along the way.
- Zinc is an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Agent: Its Role in Human Health More Info
- Multicenter randomized comparative double-blind controlled clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of zinc gluconate versus minocycline hydrochloride in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris More Info
- Oral zinc in acne vulgaris: a clinical and methodological study. More Info
- Oral zinc sulphate therapy in acne vulgaris: a double-blind trial. More Info
- Comparison of oral treatment with zinc sulphate and placebo in acne vulgaris More Info