Seems like lately, everyone is talking about zinc. It just recently popped up on Dr. Oz! Why is it gaining popularity and notoriety? Well, simply put, zinc is a skin superhero! Zinc is an essential trace element, which helps repair damaged tissues and heal wounds. In fact, without zinc your body has a hard time repairing damaged tissues, both internally and externally. Some research suggests that zinc might be particularly effective in treating topical irritations and skin imbalances, such as acne, skin sores and minor wounds, by helping cells to regenerate.
How does zinc help acne-prone skin?
Many of the benefits of zinc in skin care are being discovered these days. Using zinc topically and taking it orally has shown significant success in healing and alleviating acne-related scarring and inflammation. Zinc may also be helpful in stopping the formation of zits before they even arise by reducing the amount of natural oil, or sebum, produced by the skin. In fact, research has shown that acne results in part from a lack of zinc in the diet. Several studies indicate that dietary zinc may reduce acne, even as effectively as antibiotics such as tetracyclines. This may be because it interacts with vitamin A as a component of retinol-binding protein, which is necessary for transporting vitamin A in the blood.
How can I use zinc?
Dietary sources of zinc are most easily absorbed from animal sources. Organs such as kidney and liver, red meat such as beef and lamb, and seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish are the highest dietary sources of zinc.
Plant foods such as pumpkin seeds and other nuts can also be high in zinc as well, but they are less bioavailable (meaning that they are not as easily absorbed), as the zinc is bound to plant based matter. To achieve higher level of Zinc in your diet, eat shellfish, organ meats, and red meat on a regular basis.
Although more research is needed, studies have shown that zinc may aid in the treatment of several other skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, burns, boils and leg ulcers. It seems clear that zinc does yield many potential health benefits for you and your skin. At the very least, zinc has positive effects in tissue healing and is essential for regular cell growth and regeneration.