To zinc or not to zinc? That is the question. When it comes to looking after your skin the first product you think to reach for probably isn’t going to be zinc, but this trace mineral can leave you looking gorgeous and glowing.
Whether it’s taken as a supplement or found in your moisturiser, make-up or food, a little bit of zinc goes a long way. While zinc is naturally found in cells throughout the body some people have low levels – the World Health Organization says 31 percent of people worldwide are deficient in zinc – or could just use a boost.
Here are five reasons why upping your zinc intake could do wonders for your skin.
Pardon the pun but you’ll be able to ‘spot the difference’ if you suffer from breakouts and start eating more zinc rich foods or taking a supplement.
Zinc helps regenerate skin cells and reduce the amount of oil your skin produces, meaning it could help prevent skin from getting clogged up and causing spots in the first place.
A Swedish dermatological study claims doctors found the severity of spots was drastically decreased in just 4 weeks after acne suffering patients were given zinc supplements 3 times per day. Within 12 weeks 87 percent of the patients were totally cleared of their pimples. They branded the results “remarkable”.
If you’ve got cuts and wounds that seem to take an age to heal, you may be suffering from zinc deficiency. Zinc boosts your immune system and produces new cells to make an infection heal quickly.
A 2007 study by the U.S Library of Medicine found that applying zinc directly to the wound helped it to close. It also acts as an antibacterial agent and it’s anti-inflammatory effects reduce swelling too.
Health coach and nutrition expert Karen Cummings-Palmer says: “When we are under stress from illness or a wound zinc rallies to help us heal so it makes sense to boost intake for short periods of time when the pressure is on.”
Zinc oxide has long been considered the safest option for sunscreens. It scatters, reflects and absorbs UVA and UVB rays because the powdered mineral sits on the top of the skin. In other words, it physically blocks the harmful rays. Plus it prevents those pesky ageing brown spots.
Karen agrees: “Zinc oxide is a fantastic natural SPF that will both protect and soothe. Zinc is an unsung hero!”
On top of everything else zinc could help you to look younger.
Karen adds: “Zinc really is an all rounder which supports skin conditions from breakouts to premature ageing as it helps calm inflammation and protects the skins fibroblasts, the cells responsible for producing what I call face scaffolding – collagen. By the time we hit our 40’s most of us would have lost about 40% of our collagen and I really believe it is loss of facial structure not the odd fine line that is the biggest game changer, so embrace anything that will boost your bodies own ability to produce more.”
It’s not just the skin on your face that you need to look after – the skin beneath your hair is equally important. Zinc pyrtithione helps relieve itchy scalps and therefore reduces dandruff. It’s an active ingredient in most anti-dandruff hair products and in the same way it helps flaky scalps it can also treat skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, athletes foot and simply dry skin.
If you’re looking to get your extra zinc intake from food alone, tuck into the likes of pumpkin seeds, garlic, chickpeas, dark chocolate and shellfish – just not all together!
NOTE: The recommended daily zinc intake for men is 11mg and 8mg for women.
Makeup and beauty expert Candice Meggan recommends these beauty products that contain zinc.
Ren Skincare: ClearClam Range formulated especially for blemish prone skin types
LaRoche-Posay – Serozinc Face Toner Mist – Zinc Sulphate Solution for oily, blemish pronte skin
SkinCeuticals – Mineral UV and SPF 30 protection that enhances sin tone. Designed for delicate eye areas
Badger Organic Sunscreen Base – In addition to being organic, with the base of Sunflower Oil Beeswax, Seachuckthorn and Vitamin E, Badger’s formula is environmentally friendly and biodegradable.