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Is Zinc The Missing Ingredient In Your Anti-Acne Skincare Routine?

Add it to your arsenal of blemish-busting products!

Anyone who has acne-prone skin knows that a multi-pronged approach is usually the best way of dealing with zits. You bust out your patches, creams, and clay masks in the hopes of making them disappear by tomorrow. You also bring out the big guns, aka the best blemish-busting skincare ingredients like salicylic acid and tea tree oil. And if you're searching for another option to add to your arsenal, zinc is one you can further look into. Below, we discuss everything it can do for your acne, plus some of the best products worth the try:

What is zinc?

Zinc is a mineral that can be found in food, supplements, and topical creams. According to Jennifer Herrmann, M.D., zinc is needed for numerous healthy bodily functions, including boosting the immune system, healing wounds, and assisting in protein synthesis. 

You probably only know zinc as part of your daily multi-vitamin, but did you know that it also has *major* anti-acne benefits? It works in tandem with Vitamin A, which helps convert it into an active form on retinol (which is a tried-and-tested zit-zapping treatment, btw). Aside from that, it also stunts bacteria growth in your sebaceous glands. And as we all know, having clean pores equals fewer breakouts!

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What are the benefits of zinc on my skin?

  1. It reduces inflammation.

    Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, zinc is highly-beneficial for people with acne-prone complexions. Using a zinc-infused product can help soothe irritated skin.

  2. It protects your skin against the harmful rays of the sun.

    Another place you've probably seen zinc in is in the ingredient list of your fave SPF product. Zinc oxide falls under physical sunscreens, which means that it deflects sunlight so the UV radiation does not penetrate the epidermis. Aside from protecting your complexion from the harmful rays of the sun, it's non-comedogenic so it won't clog your pores and cause acne.

  3. It slows down signs of aging.

    Zinc is a great supplement to your anti-aging skincare routine because it stimulates the immune and antioxidant defenses. It is especially helpful in preventing oxidative stressthe imbalance between the production of free radicals, and the ability of the body to counteract its harmful effects.

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Do zinc-infused products have any side effects?

Even though zinc may sound like this ~amazing~ cure for acne, too much of a good thing can be bad. When you ingest too much of the mineral, you may develop symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and headaches. It may also lead to a weakened immune response. This is why it's always best to consult your physician to figure out the best dose for you.

What is the best way to introduce zinc into my routine?

There are two ways you can incorporate zinc into your routine: Topically and orally. Although both are effective, you'll find that the first one works faster. According to Purvisha Patel, M.D., "With topical products, when used twice a day, there should be a decrease in acne within two weeks. When taken orally, there should be a difference in four weeks."

What are some zinc-infused products I can use?

Ready to incorporate zinc into your routine? Check out our top picks below! (Editor's note: As always, consult with your dermatologist and/or physician first before introducing a new ingredient in your routine.)

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  1. Best Zinc-Infused Product: Puritan's Pride Zinc for Acne

    To supplement your skincare products, add these zinc tablets from Puritan's Pride to your diet. Aside from its star ingredient, they are also infused with Vitamins A, B6, C, and E. These can help in reducing pimples and improving the overall appearance of acne-ridden complexions. 

    Best Zinc-Infused Product: Puritan's Pride Zinc for Acne
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    Puritan's Pride Zinc for Acne, P549, BeautyMNL

  2. Best Zinc-Infused Product: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

    If you're looking for a great anti-acne serum, try this one from The Ordinary. It contains a high concentration of niacinamide, which is great for banishing blemishes and brightening dark spots. It's also infused with zinc that can help regulate sebum production. (This is TikTok-famous, BTW!)

    Best Zinc-Infused Product: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
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    The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, P740, BeautyMNL

  3. Best Zinc-Infused Product: Sunglow by Fresh Creme Tinted Sunscreen

    Yes, you still need to wear SPF, even if you spend most of your time at home. If you're not into the white cast that most sunscreens give, try using a tinted one. The pigment can help even out your complexion and give you a healthy glow. This one from Sunglow is well on its way to becoming a cult-fave, thanks to the second-skin finish it grants.

    Best Zinc-Infused Product: Sunglow by Fresh Creme Tinted Sunscreen
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    Sunglow by Fresh Creme Tinted Sunscreen, P429, Watsons

  4. Best Zinc-Infused Product: Dermaid Calamine + Zinc Oxide

    If you constantly suffer from insect bites and rashes, apply this lotion from Dermaid to the affected areas. A thin layer will grant your complexion instant relief. Apply it three to four times throughout the day or as needed.

    Best Zinc-Infused Product: Dermaid Calamine + Zinc Oxide
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    Dermaid Calamine + Zinc Oxide, P81, Watsons

  5. Best Zinc-Infused Product: Bioderm Ointment

    For an all-around treatment, check out this ointment from Bioderm. It's infused with zinc oxide, benzoic acid, sulfur, and salicylic acid—all of which are proven to be excellent anti-acne treatments. 

    Best Zinc-Infused Product: Bioderm Ointment

    Bioderm Ointment, P74, Watsons

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