Zinc Has Skincare Benefits Beyond Its Acne-Fighting Reputation

Zinc is an essential nutrient and something we all need in our diet to function. Most of us get enough of it by eating beans, nut, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. And if you're a big fan of Buck a Shuck, then the world is your oyster (hehe, see what we did there?), because you're probably swimming in zinc, as those pearl-making bad-boys are chock-full. For a long time, zinc's acne-fighting properties have long been touted as its main benefit. Acne, as we all know, is often caused by oil build-up in our pores. When taken topically, such as in a moisturizer, zinc can help balance our skin's oil production, thereby reducing instances of acne. It also fights bacteria, is an anti-inflammatory, and can work as an astringent, per The Independence Australia: all things we need when we're suffering from a zit breakout.


But hark! Zinc does more than you think. Apart from shrinking zits, zinc is amazing for your skin and not just on your face. Do you suffer from eczema or rosacea? What about folliculitis? Do you want to prevent sun damage when you sun yourself at the beach? Do you want to quickly heal abrasions and lacerations on the skin? Turns out, to aid these maladies, you can just zinc it.

Zinc helps heal fungal acne or folliculitis

If you have red bumps on your upper thighs, booty, or other areas of your body, you might think it's acne, and those bumps even are colloquially known as "fungal acne." However, "fungal acne" actually refers to folliculitis (where the hair follicle is plugged with fungal yeast), and can be difficult to treat. Fear not, because if you've got a bottle of Head & Shoulders lying around the shower, you might already have the cure. The anti-dandruff shampoo is loaded with zinc to help prevent flakes, but it can also treat folliculitis. "Using dandruff shampoos as a face or body cleanser to treat fungal-related skin conditions such as fungal acne or seborrheic dermatitis is actually something I recommend to my patients," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ramya Garlapati told CNN


If you suffer from other skin ailments, like eczema or rosacea, that could be due to a zinc deficiency in your body, per Itchy Baby Co. Increasing your zinc intake through your diet is one way to combat it, or you could also take a zinc supplement. Topically is also great, according to Medical News Today, as the anti-inflammatory properties of zinc reduce the chronic inflammation of the skin, aiding eczema and rosacea, and even help heal small cuts and abrasions (like those pesky papercuts).  

Zinc oxide protects against cancer-causing sunrays

On April 3, "Wolverine" star Hugh Jackman took to his official Instagram to share that he had two biopsies on his nose due to suspected basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. In his caption, he stated that he's on a mission to educate his followers on the importance of sunscreen. To prevent skin damage from the sun's harmful rays, get yourself a sunscreen containing zinc oxide, because it turns out it's a wonder element that helps prevent damage from harmful UV rays. 


Molecular biologist Ee Ting Ng told Byrdie that sunscreens containing zinc oxide provide a "physical sun filter ... capable of deflecting UV rays, protecting skin from sun damage." Michigan State University's Center for Research on Ingredient Safety agrees, as they published that zinc oxide in sunscreen creates a barrier between your skin and the UVA and UVB rays. UVA and UVB rays, the outlet says, can increase your risk of developing — you guessed it — basal cell carcinoma, in addition to squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and other cancers. So listen to Wolverine, and zinc your sniffer!