“Take some Zinc and Echinacea,” seemed to be my moms standard reply whenever I felt a cold coming on. More often than not, I didn’t listen and then spent several, miserable days trying to recover. Truth is, Zinc is great for you. In addition, it does some amazing things for your skin.
People who have immune disorders or certain types of skin disorders tend to have less zinc in their body. Is this zinc because our body naturally uses it to fight off the infections or because we naturally have less zinc in our bodies which causes the infections in the first place? No one knows, really. But, zinc plays a major role in overall health of the skin.
Zinc works to heal and rejuvenate the skin in addition to reducing harmful free radical formation by protecting the skin when it’s exposed to UV light, pollution and other aging triggers. In healthy skin, we naturally have a cell turnover process of about 21-28 days which is called apoptosis. When we have a zinc deficiency our cells don’t turn over, and instead sit on the surface and stick together. All of this causes a buildup of sebum, bacteria and blocks the pores – which causes irritation and then acne. With a healthy amount of zinc, it can reduce clogged pores in the first place.
So, how much zinc is needed to stop acne? Men are supposed to take about 11 milligrams a day which women only need 8. Some of the best natural sources for zinc include various meats, and seafood’s – such as crab, oysters, lobster, etc. Allergic to seafood and not meat eater? Good news is that you can find zinc in beans, cheese, lentils, yogurt and fortified cereals. But, to increase the absorption – you definitely would want to stick with animal based products. (And grass fed/hormone free if you can!) If you eat a high diet of legumes, nuts, or seeds you increase your Phytate consumption and therefore also reduce your absorption of zinc.
If you are unable to eliminate some of these things from your diet or add them in if you are deficient, you can always take a zinc supplement to level you out. Most of the time, simple health and skin care issues can be improved by just taking a few small steps to better nutrition.