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How to Reduce Acne with Zinc

Updated on May 19, 2014

The Secret to Get Rid of Acne

So, you have tried almost everything to get rid of acne: face lotions, juice fasting, bedtime yoga – the list goes on and on – but your acne still persists.

I used to be in the same boat, until I found the silver bullet: supplementary zinc.

On this page I'll tell you how much you should get zinc to cure acne, where you can get it, and when you should take it. I'll also give you nifty tips and tricks so you can effectively cure acne with zinc.


The picture is from Flickr by BlatantNews.com (with Creative Commons license).

Do You Have Acne?

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First: Zinc Is Not Magic

If you start taking supplementary zinc, don't expect to see results in just a couple of days. Depending on your acne and the amount of zinc you take, it may take some months to see any effect.

Zinc is really effective for acne, but it's not magic either. I want you to be aware of this so that you don't give up too soon.

Also don't solely rely on zinc. Add these points to your zinc fighting plan:

  • Don't stress
  • Get enough sleep
  • Move – be active!
  • Be patient

How Much and When to Take Zinc

Many foods contain zinc. However, you need more zinc than what you can get from everyday food to reduce acne. That's why you should take supplementary zinc. But how much?

I'd say that anything between 30 and 50mg per day is fine and effective.

The sad thing is that the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for zinc in the USA is much lower than that – you can confirm it here:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Now, I don't think you'll die if you take more than it's recommended, but you should be aware of it. Always conduct a doctor if you are unsure.

I personally take 100mg – and yes, that's quite a lot! (But it works really well.)

Psst... You Also Need Copper (Maybe)

Because zinc weakens the absorption of copper (and vice versa), you need to take copper as well to avoid copper deficiency.

Taking copper might not be necessary if you take less than 50mg of zinc, but if you do take zinc at least 50mg a day, I suggest taking also 2mg copper (RDA for copper is 2mg).

I take 100mg zinc plus 2mg copper daily.

When to Take Zinc (and Copper)

Don't take zinc and copper at the same time because they weaken the absorption of each other. You could, for example, take copper every morning and zinc every evening (that's what I do).

Because many foods contain fiber and calcium which weaken the absorption of zinc as well, don't take zinc with meals. It's good to take zinc in the late evenings when you haven't eaten anything in two hours or so.

The same goes for copper: take it on empty stomach, but only if you can: some people, including me, get nausea. Luckily, I have found drinking lots of water and eating chewing gum to help a bit.

Where to Get Zinc

Like stated above, many foods contain zinc, but not enough to be powerful against acne. That's when supplementary zinc steps into the game.

You can check your local supermarket or drugstore since they probably sell supplementary zinc. However, I recommend ordering zinc from Amazon as Amazon is trustworthy and affordable. Below are links to good zinc and copper supplements. I always order just the same products so I know the stuff is great.

Psst... If you find your skin to be too dry after taking supplementary zinc, you could (and should in any case) take vitamin D. I included a product link below if you are interested.

NOW Zinc Picolinate,120 Veg Capsules
NOW Zinc Picolinate,120 Veg Capsules

Take supplementary zinc to cure your acne. If you take one per day, this will last for four months.

 
NOW Vitamin D-3, Structural Support 2000 I.U., 240 Softgels
NOW Vitamin D-3, Structural Support 2000 I.U., 240 Softgels

Vitamin D might prevent your skin from drying too much. 2,000 I.U. equals 50 micrograms.

 

Do You Take Supplementary Zinc?

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Please note that I'm not a medical professional, and all provided content here is for informational purposes only. Always double check the information you obtain from internet, and always conduct a doctor if you are unsure about certain things.

Done reading? Also read my other lenses How to Create Your First Website and Funny Dog Photos (and dozens more).

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    • profile image

      shimla 2 years ago

      I am 30 and I am from India. I have acne which flares up after ovulation and before periods. I have been taking Nature's Life Zinc picolinate (30 mg) which also has 2 mg of copper in it since the last 22 days.

      Though, I can't say for sure but I feel that the breakouts are lesser than earlier as some zones on my face have cleared up. The jawline is still having the problem. But I will continue to try it for another month before giving up.

      In your article, you have said that zinc and copper should not be taken together. Does it imply that I should change the brand and take zinc and copper separately?

      I feel that I should take copper because I have some symptoms of copper deficiency like visible veins, premature greying etc.

      Do I need to increase the dosage of zinc or should I continue with the same dosage?

    • profile image

      ChrisLowery 3 years ago

      So I have always wondered how I can make and optimize my personal regimen on taking care of my skin more efficient on what it does for me. I came across good information regarding diet at clearupacne dot org and zinc supplement from your lens. I'm considering this as an option however I'd like to know what is the recommended zinc supplement mg? Does 20mg a day help?

    • viktorija mikal profile image

      viktorija mikal 3 years ago

      Great article! ;) I myself have created the lense about my personal acne experience, please check it out ;)

    • jesslynn1990 profile image

      jesslynn1990 3 years ago

      I have tried zinc supplements for my past acne and there were some improvements to my skin but not enough to my liking. I think that this treatment would be best for people with mild acne and some small breakouts but for people who have cyst acne and possibly PCOS like I do this may not be that effective. The only thing that has work for me personally is Accutane treatment. I have even tried zinc face creams which have been ineffective. It's always worth a try these things as they are more on the natural side and probably wouldn't do much harm if they do not work out.

    • profile image

      jesse-wehner 4 years ago

      What kind of zinc supplement is the best?

    • TheMakeupAdvisory profile image

      TheMakeupAdvisory 4 years ago

      A couple of people have mention using zinc to me. I had not heard of it until recently. I get the odd breakout but I am not sure it would be classified as acne. But I will try it out. At the moment I am getting good results with Mario Badescu products as are my beauty clients. I will keep going with them and hopefully that with the zinc I might clear them up for good!

    • TheMakeupAdvisory profile image

      TheMakeupAdvisory 4 years ago

      A couple of people have mention using zinc to me. I had not heard of it until recently. I get the odd breakout but I am not sure it would be classified as acne. But I will try it out. At the moment I am getting good results with Mario Badescu products as are my beauty clients. I will keep going with them and hopefully that with the zinc I might clear them up for good!

    • TheMakeupAdvisory profile image

      TheMakeupAdvisory 4 years ago

      A couple of people have mention using zinc to me. I had not heard of it until recently. I get the odd breakout but I am not sure it would be classified as acne. But I will try it out. At the moment I am getting good results with Mario Badescu products as are my beauty clients. I will keep going with them and hopefully that with the zinc I might clear them up for good!

    • profile image

      helpmyacne 4 years ago

      Great Lense Some really good ideas zinc has always been as far as im aware a great source to reducing acne its more of a long term remedey and don't help every user but it worth a try

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I noticed no one mentioned this, but Source Naturals OptiZinc comes with supposedly the correct ratio of Zinc to Copper. Supposedly Optizinc is really good for acne, although I just started taking it so I have no idea. I'm also pretty sure Zinc will help wounds heal and will help acne, but you'll notice it more if your acne is caused by zinc deficiency. I've been taking zinc with food but all this talk of all these things that inhibit zinc absorption is so confusing I might try on an empty stomach.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Check out progesterone to balance out too much estrogen for PCOS. I use progesterone cream and it has worked wonders on my pcos and acne!

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, always be careful and talk with your doctor if unsure. Not consuming

      supplementary zinc for short periods from time to time is also a nice idea

      - you know, like having occasional breaks.

      Thanks for the heads-up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You do know that taking more than 40 mg of zinc/day can be bad for you right? This is why the RDA of zinc is only 15 mg. Plus it affects more than your absorption of copper. It also affects your absorption of iron and magnesium. Too much zinc has a negative effect on your immune system and it lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol. It also prohibits your metabolism from correctly functioning. Please, please do not go over 40 mg or so without a doctor telling you to do so.

      Never assume going over what is recommended of a medication or supplement is okay. Vitamin A is toxic, Tylenol can cause liver damage at just 1000 mg... Don't play with meds & supplements. Acne is far preferable to liver disease.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Ricky, I think it will suffice. 2mg is a good amount.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My multi-vitamin has 2mg of copper. Will this suffice when supplementing with extra Zinc?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi. I am 24 years old, also with PCOS and have had acne since I was 8 years old. Quite a few years ago the doctor placed me on monocycline, and then doxycycline- (both are considered to fall under the 'tetracycline' category. I have been taking 2 pills a day for the past 5 years. I find that the doxycycline is becoming less effective, and is generally reducing my body's response to antibiotics. . . So today, I decided to stop taking it, and instead am going to ttake 50mg of zinc, daily. I noticed in the past that when I used doxy and zinc together, my skin was clearer than on the days I would only use doxy. So, I'm hoping and praying that the zinc alone will be strong enough to kill the bacteria without using the antibiotic. I am also using Epiduo topical gel. . . I'm very nervous about stopping. the doxy, and I really really hope I don't get pus bubbles on my face again... Please pray for me! Thankyou :)

    • profile image

      charliex93 4 years ago

      Good article.You have good insights by using zinc,indeed,vitamins are good for the skin,but still it is important to get details from expert dermatologist to know what is the write treatment for you.You can't just prescribe treatments to yourself without knowledge,My friend did it once and failed.It is a good thing that Schweiger Dermatology is there to treat him.

    • profile image

      SkinCareExpert 4 years ago

      Hmmm, very curious Lens. I wonder as to way people are seeing results with this? I wonder if the liver is in a more active state, and thus cleaning more toxins out of the body...? Very curious, very curious....

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Acne is NOT genetic. My clients who never experienced acne were in need of detoxing. Much to their surprise, detoxification removes sludge and toxins that are trapped in the intestines, skin (pores), and to add the overproduction of testosterone in women although low in doses. Read below..

      Naturally, when you get stressed, things get worse. So one day, I sat back and thought about things. Perhaps it was not product related. Perhaps it was internal. The weather had been very hot, perhaps I had not been drinking sufficient water to flush out toxins. Perhaps I had not been eating enough fruits and vegetables. Perhaps it was constipation and a digestive problem. So I took stock of the situation and did a bit of a lifestyle change.

      Surprisingly, it helped!

      What prompted this thought was when I decided to look up possible causes of acne around the chin, mouth and jawline area. It turned up information on various websites that said it might be either hormonal or linked to the digestive tract. Poor digestion might result in chin and jaw acne, as well as possibly constipation.

      I latched onto that thought, because I was having a bit of a problem there. Also, eating out a lot means not eating enough fruits and vegetables so I wasnât getting a lot of fibre. To solve this problem, I started eating out less, and when I did, made sure that I had a healthy amount of vegetables included in every meal. I also made sure my house was stocked with fruits.

      Iâd go to the local market once a week and stock up on both fruits and vegetables, where they are cheaper and fresher than buying in the supermarkets. Iâd make sure to eat them too. I also made sure I had enough water throughout the day. More than the regulation 8 glasses because the weather here has been baking hot.

      Another thing I did was to cut out dairy almost totally from my diet, as well as go on a low gluten diet. I realised that dairy products gave me digestive problems which led me to believe that in my dotage, Iâve developed lactose intolerancy. No more cheesecake, cheesy pizza and ice-cream! I also cut back on foods like breads and cakes and started a diet of breakfast oats in the morning.

      The results were two-fold. Firstly, I became more regular (whew!) and secondly, I started seeing benefits for my skin. It took a little while for the acne spots to go away, but new ones stopped sprouting. Over the course of about 2 weeks, my chin and jawline area cleared up from the worst of the breakouts. Going on a purely hydrating skincare regiment helped clear up the rest and deal with the marks.

      This little experience taught me that while sometimes, I might break out from using a new product, not every breakout may be caused by topical contact. Sometimes, it is a sign that something is wrong internally and that you should check your internal plumbing for blockages. Sometimes, it might be certain foods that cause you problems or a health problem.

      If you are suffering from breakouts along your jawline or chin area, do consider if you have been having digestive problems, slow digestion or poor digestion or constipation. A small lifestyle change may help more than all the topical acne creams or antibiotics in the world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @CristianStan: There is truth to your statement.

      If one does not suffer from or has experienced acne, this presents there is something going on within the body. When the body feels that of foreign substance or attacking the system, it will try to rid of toxins within.

      Once toxins have been removed, the body recharges, although acne may still present itself.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Great to hear your experiences, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I take 50 mg twice daily- I stopped taking it for a few weeks because I was feeling nauseous and wasn't sure if that was it. needless to say my nausea didn't go away (another issue) and I started to break out. Now that I'm back on my zinc, I have NO active lesions. I love it. I have PCOS so acne comes par with the course. I wish my dermatologist would have enlightened me about zinc, but I guess I wouldn't keep coming back to her. I have been on accutane TWICE. Total body poison. It worked for a while, but nothing compares to zinc. It can take a while to work, but I have seen great results with it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When I was in high school I had pretty bad acne and then I heard about zinc. I agree that it takes a while to get results but it helped to clear up my skin a lot. I did still get pimples but my skin improved a lot. So I also agree that zinc is not magic, but it really does help.

      I'm 24 now and I still do get a few pimples and occasional acne (especially around that time of the month). I've become a bit slack on taking my zinc in the past 6 or so months and my skin seems to be suffering because of it. I guess it's time for a trip to the store to buy a new bottle. I didn't know about the effects it has on copper absorption though so I think I might grab some copper supplements too.

    • NuttSoRuff profile image

      NuttSoRuff 4 years ago

      Great lens! I totally agree! Zinc is great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @CristianStan: Don't be ridiculous. Acne is genetic. I eat healthier and take care of myself better than anyone I know.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @CristianStan: Hmm, interesting. And what's the best way to detox the body? :-)

    • profile image

      CristianStan 5 years ago

      Best way to reduce acne is by detoxing the body; because the skin only shows what is actually on the inside

    • profile image

      LimuBayAreaGroup 5 years ago

      Thank you, I love the information, simply and sweet! Also for acne check out Fucoidan it's the main component in seaweed- look on my site to find it :)

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @Thamisgith: Nice tip, hadn't heard of it!

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 5 years ago

      I use zinc sometimes when I get bad razor burn after shaving. It's amazing how effective it is. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      A very interesting lens. Thanks for sharing.

      TonyB

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Sarah,

      I'm sorry but I just can't remember how soon I began to see results. Maybe a week or two?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: after a few days actually you'll see results get a good form of zinc not zinc oxide which doesn't absorb quite well

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @itsallgoodha: PleSe let us know after how long of taking 30 mg of zinc you started seeing effects... I have been having 15 mg of zinc tablet morning and night and i have seen a difference in the severity and number of cysts forming so i feel good about it alrady!

      I do think 100 mg a day isn't good for long periods as zinc toxicity can be fatal !

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Your best bet might be to consult a doctor. I don't even know what kind of pills you are taking.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i am currently on a pill 2 times a day as well as a cream in the night and morning. I am seeing very slim results. I have tried almost everythibg besides this. I am going to try this, but i want to know if i can do it with the pills that i take? Can anyone help?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Going to try it.. Hope it works

    • profile image

      ChristopherNguyen2012 5 years ago

      Zinc is actually good to use. Thanks for the info about the copper and so.

    • acnesolution1 profile image

      acnesolution1 5 years ago

      Great tips!

    • profile image

      itsallgoodha 5 years ago

      you're so right man zinc and fish oil is the only thing that cured my acne...after years of struggling with acne,now i only take supplemental zinc and it works for me my skin is clear and acne free i take 30 mg daily with meals usually in the morning and it works ...since acne is due to hormonal imbalance and zinc helps with hormonal imbalance....

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @premjayaram: i dont think replacing real milk for soy milk is a good idea to me since soymilk has phytoestrogens wich is the equivalent of estrogen female hormones,which will eventually lead to hormonal imbalance which causes acne....but you can get plenty of zinc from meat,pultry,nuts etc.....

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @premjayaram: Thanks for the tip!

    • premjayaram profile image

      premjayaram 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      Talking about using zinc to reduce acne, there is also a natural way supplement zinc diet into our daily lives which would great help in the fight against acne.

      Replace milk with soyabean drink or get a cup of free / low fat yogurt as your nighttime snack - mix it with muesli or wheat germ.These food contains zinc that revitalizes your skin and keeps you looking young.

      Hope this simple tips helps and keep up the good work!

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow!! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and experience! It's much appreciated, and I will definitely make changes to the content on this page based on your input.

      Here's a working link for anyone interested:

      http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfes...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I took Accutane ten years ago but the effect seems to have worn off and at 30 I had acne again. I've been taking 30mg zinc daily on an empty stomach at night for about eight months now and my acne is much better, totally manageable. It may be that my vegetarian diet caused a zinc deficiency? I got the zinc idea because I had used a zinc topical treatment in my teens that was very expensive but effective.

      When I started taking a zinc supplement I saw an improvement in my acne quickly, certainly within a month. My skin became less oily. But I agree that zinc should not be tried as an over-night fix.

      One thing that would be good to add is a note that the recommended daily intakes and other information are listed at http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfes... It's important to consider the zinc that comes in your diet when deciding how much zinc to take. I'm glad you mentioned the interaction with copper.

      Finally, I should mention that a friend of mine who tried this found her skin felt really dry. And I for quite a while after I started taking zinc (a few months) I had a metallic-bitter sort of taste in my mouth much like when my doctor put me on prescription vitamin D. That effect has faded. I'm hoping the clear skin never does!

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @GreenfireWiseWo: Thanks :-)

    • GreenfireWiseWo profile image

      GreenfireWiseWo 5 years ago

      Interesting lens -Thank you.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I wanted to include that sentence so that people don't think supplementary

      zinc as "hey let's eat zinc and cure acne overnight." So if you are not

      seeing results soon (after days and weeks), don't be discouraged. Zinc is

      good for your overall health and can cure your acne, but it's not magic

      either.

      Did that answer your question? :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @dogface lm: You said maybe it takes some months in see any effects. What you mean? Less oily skin once your body has the proper zinc amount it requires? In the long term, it could be compared to accutane the ingestion of zinc?. Thank you for your answer.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: It's good. :P If compared to times when I even hadn't heard of zinc, it's

      great.

      I did have a short pause some time ago as I ran out of zinc so my skin is

      not as good as it used to be, but it's not bad either.

      Remember these other tips for curing acne as well: no stress, enough sleep,

      regular exercise. :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I will try for some moths with 30mg zinc per day. How is your skin now?

    • profile image

      DecoratingMom411 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the information.

    • profile image

      oiloflife 5 years ago

      Very good information. Thanks for sharing!

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Woah, that's helpful, Dion. Thanks! I agree with everything you said.

      BTW, I take 5,000 IU (125 mcg) vitamin D every day. : )

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Superwriter711: You should try to take Magnesium as well, also take Vitamin D daily too. Take about 400-600UI of V-D twice a day, and one magnesium. It's best to take the V-D with a meal to help it absorb better. It is best to take them with healthy fat foods such as olive oil, peanut oil, nuts (Almonds, peanuts, hazlenuts, pecans), avocados. Try a spinach salad with a nice vinaigrette.

    • Superwriter711 profile image

      Superwriter711 5 years ago

      I've been taking zinc for awhile but still get acne. Any tips?

    • profile image

      fish-oil-expert 5 years ago

      Great tips on here. A friend of mine has really bad acne, so I will suggest Zinc supplements to here.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Skin like a tractor seat, what's good for that? Short of rust, I don't know what can help, I know it can't hurt. THanks for sharing even for me.

    • profile image

      Merlo 5 years ago

      The food you eat really plays a big part in the health of your skin, and reduces acne when done right. get rid of pimples fast

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice treatment for removing acne.I never heard about that zinc helps to remove acne.I have some acne on my face and i would like to try zinc supplement.Thanks for sharing.

      -http://www.drtroell.com/procedures/skin-treatments...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is an interesting information.Intake of Zinc containing food may reduce the chance of occurrence of Acne.I would surely include more Zinc in my food for sure..thanks for sharing :)

      visit :http://www.facedoctor.ca/acne_treatment_rosacea_so...

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      @darciefrench lm: Yea, and it's actually really powerful way to fight against acne.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      what a great treatment for acne - nice to know there are natural things like zinc that can help.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      @phoenix arizona f: I'm glad it worked! Thanks for the compliment.

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      My daughter had bad acne, she tried zinc and it worked. Good reading here.

    • dogface lm profile image
      Author

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I have read that zinc helps with many other things, too, like achieving/maintaining good immune system. At least zinc helps with acne, and it also probably helps with the things you mentioned in your post.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      zinc is also good for prevention of cold sores, and other mouth related sores, brought on by drinking a lot of acidic beverages. Also zinc oxide in powder form is great for healing rashes and bringing relief to people with psoriasis.