Zinc Supplements for Acne Treatment: Separating Facts from Fiction

You are currently viewing Zinc Supplements for Acne Treatment: Separating Facts from Fiction

Zinc supplements have a range of wonderful benefits. From boosting immunity to muscle growth, zinc can help you lead a healthy and fit life. But do zinc supplements work for acne?

Scientists have conducted ample research on the effectiveness of zinc for acne treatment. Most of the research, fortunately, has turned out to be promising. Science shows zinc to be a reliable solution to complement acne treatment methods.

Let’s explore how you can use zinc supplements to eliminate those dreaded eruptions on your skin.

How Zinc Works for Acne Treatment

Zinc works in two main ways to help you lead an acne-free life.

Here is a roundup of why zinc turns out to be a good option for fighting acne:

Zinc Acts as an Antibacterial

Studies show zinc to be an effective antibacterial agent against many pathogens. You can use zinc to fight many infections caused by bacteria. Additionally, zinc may be more beneficial for bacteria that live on the skin.

Acne is sometimes caused by skin bacteria. As zinc is effective against bacteria, it can also fight acne brought on by bacterial activities. Zinc supplements will be able to kill acne bacteria and give back your healthy skin.

Zinc Targets Inflammation

Inflammation can be the cause of acne and even make it worse. Many of us get inflammatory acne, where clogged pores become red, swollen, and inflamed. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians calls acne a “chronic, inflammatory disease.”

Zinc works to reduce inflammation and inhibits the development of inflamed acne. Scientists also found consumption of zinc supplements a good choice to fight inflamed and bacterial acne.

Additionally, zinc regulates our immune responses and helps in acne treatment. You can reduce acne swelling and redness and even bring down your acne scars.

Applying topical zinc ointments too can provide some relief from acne.

Zinc Reduces Skin Oil Production

Acne shows up on our skin when bacteria get trapped in skin pores. Your skin oil can feed the bacteria and provide the perfect conditions for multiplying. It is a common trend for people with oily skin to suffer from acne and various skin problems.

Zinc can be a great mineral to reduce your skin’s oil production. Researchers have evaluated many studies and came up with the interesting conclusion.

So, zinc reduces acne also by helping your skin produce less oil and discouraging bacteria growth.

Zinc supplements can work in another way to treat acne. We will take discuss more in our next section.

Relationship between Zinc Deficiency and Acne

Research links zinc deficiency to acne. People who have severe acne often have low levels of zinc or suffer from zinc deficiency. Getting their zinc levels back to a healthy amount will naturally reverse the growth of acne.

You can fulfill your zinc requirements from your diet. If you can’t, zinc supplements can be a good way to gain back healthy zinc levels and get relief from acne.

So, zinc can help you treat acne by:

  1. Acting as an antibacterial agent
  2. Reducing acne inflammation and redness
  3. Cutting down skin’s oil production
  4. Helping you attain healthy zinc levels

Zinc vs. Antibiotics: Which is Better for Treating Acne?

Some scientists believe zinc to be more effective than antibiotics in treating acne. Additionally, using antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is a stage where harmful bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Or in other words, antibiotics are no longer able to kill or stop the growth of bacteria. As a result, taking antibiotics turn out to be futile.

Zinc can be a good alternative to treat acne and prevent antibiotic resistance. However, zinc must be supplemented with other acne treatment methods for best results.

You can talk to your doctor about using zinc for your acne instead of antibiotics.

Zinc Supplements vs. Zinc Lotions and Ointments: Which is More Effective?

Zinc comes as dietary supplements, skin creams, lotions, and more. You can even get zinc supplements as tablets from your local pharmacy. Now, the question comes, which is best for treating acne?

Scientists have found the oral consumption of zinc to be most effective against severe acne. Taking zinc by mouth can also bring relief from mild acne. As a result, the consumption of zinc is the best way to treat your acne.

Topical creams or ointments are not as effective as oral zinc in fighting acne. Additionally, some of them lose their effectiveness after a while you put them on your skin. You may even need to wait for up to 3-months for topical zinc creams to clear your acne fully.

So, consuming zinc is best if you want to get rid of acne.

Food is the best source to fulfill your daily zinc requirements. We only need a small amount of zinc on a daily basis.

  • Adult men need 11mg of zinc every day
  • Adult women need 8mg daily
  • Pregnant women need 11mg of zinc

You should go for zinc supplements only if you can’t get enough from your diet. People with zinc deficiency can also try zinc supplements to treat acne. Additionally, speak with your physician for a safe dose and type of zinc supplement that suits you.

Pro tip: Topical zinc creams or lotions may be more effective if you pair them with an antibiotic. You may find topical zinc creams that contain antibiotics for acne treatment.

Which Form of Zinc is the Best for Acne?

Zinc supplements are available in many forms. It pays to know about the different types of zinc supplements to make a safe decision about your health. As you will see, some forms of zinc supplements don’t suit specific people or skin types.

Here is a short glimpse of which form of zinc to use for your acne:

Zinc Gluconate

Zinc gluconate is a common supplement used to treat common colds and infections. It is also ideal for use in acne treatment.

Additionally, zinc gluconate ointments and lotions are suitable for all types of skin.

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in many sunscreen lotions and rash creams. You can also get it in the form of tablets and supplements. Zinc oxide oral supplement is good for treating acne, and you may also apply it as a cream.

However, people with dark skin should not go for zinc oxide as it can lead to white skin spots. Consequently, people with fair skin can safely use zinc oxide for acne.

Zinc Ascorbate

Zinc mixed with vitamin C comes as zinc ascorbate. It is quite effective in treating acne and is also administered in combination with antibiotics.

Zinc ascorbate is suitable for sensitive skin and can even reduce inflammation. However, it may not be ideal for dark skin.

Zinc Sulfate

Zinc sulfate is a good choice to treat your acne and skin problems. You can also apply zinc sulfate ointments to your skin directly.

Consuming zinc sulfate supplements may lead to side effects like bloating in some people.

Zinc Orotate

This is another common zinc supplement found in the market. Zinc combined with orotic acid is available as zinc orotate.

It can be an affordable way to treat acne.

Things to Keep in Mind

Zinc shouldn’t be the primary means of acne treatment. Instead, you should use it to complement professional acne treatment methods, like cleansing your face regularly.

Consult a dermatologist for professional guidance in selecting the best form of zinc supplements. Additionally, do not take high amounts of zinc, more than 30-grams in a day. It can lead to unpleasant side effects like:

  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loose motion
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and fever

Additionally, zinc influences your body’s ability to absorb copper. Taking too much zinc may hamper the absorption of copper. So, a doctor is the best person to guide your dose and choice of zinc supplements.

Final Thoughts

You can surely use zinc supplements for acne treatment with the assurance of proven results. Zinc acts as an antibacterial, reduces inflammation, and inhibits oil production to fight acne. You can get improved results by taking oral zinc supplements than using topical creams or lotions. Consult your physician to choose the right form of zinc and lead an acne-free life.


How much zinc to take for acne treatment?

You can take 30mg of zinc per day to treat acne. People with severe acne may need up to 40mg of zinc every day. Ask your doctor for a safe dosage based on your health and medical background.

Should you take zinc for acne?

Zinc has turned out to be a great treatment option for acne. It can inhibit the growth and activities of bacteria that cause acne. Zinc can also reduce redness, swelling, and help in preventing acne scars.

Which zinc is best for acne?

Zinc sulfate is a good choice to treat acne but can cause side effects. So, you can try zinc gluconate to avoid any discomfort. Additionally, ask your doctor for a safe dose.

How zinc causes skin problems?

Zinc deficiency or not having healthy levels of zinc can result in skin problems like acne. Studies have established the relationship between zinc deficiency and the emergence of acne.

Is it okay to take zinc every day?

You can take zinc every day if you don’t get enough from your diet. The healthy dose of zinc is 11mg for adult males and 8mg for adult women. However, don’t take more than 30mg of zinc per day to stay safe.

How long does zinc take to work on acne?

You may need 1 – 2-months for zinc to clear your acne. Oral zinc supplements are more effective than topical creams and can provide quick relief.

Can I take vitamin C and zinc together?

You can safely take vitamin C and zinc together. Otherwise, you can go for zinc ascorbate containing ascorbic acid or vitamin C. Then you won’t have to take the two separately.