You may have first seen zinc on a summer day at the beach or your local swimming pool. Lifeguards traditionally use the thick, white cream to cover their nose and cheeks to prevent sunburn. You may have learned then, that it was the strongest sunblock available – it just wasn’t very attractive.
In the eighties, zinc sun protection got a makeover, with bight neon colors. Applying wacky colors all over your face was fun and it blocked out the sun’s rays. Almost completely, and it stayed on - almost too well.
Today, thankfully, formulations have improved and zinc is no longer the eyesore it once was. It does, however, still protect your skin from sun damage and wrinkles and recent findings have shown zinc offers anti-microbial benefits that also reduce acne and breakouts.
So, what exactly is zinc and how does it work?
Zinc is a natural mineral, minced and refined to a fluffy white powder. Zinc becomes Zinc Oxide after the mineral is oxidized. Oxidation allows the mineral to be slightly changed giving it new properties. Zinc Oxide is used widely in cosmetics and natural skin care products and is quickly replacing the use of Titanium Oxide in sunscreens.
beneficial properties were known, Zinc Oxide was initially used in cosmetics as a whitening agent to moisturizing lotions, facial creams and most sunscreens.
Zinc Oxide has been the ingredient of choice for sunscreens, sun protection and cosmetics. Zinc Oxide is categorized as a physical sunscreen, therefore SPF labels are not given to the mineral. SPF or sun protected factor only relates to chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens such as PABA and Oxybenzone absorb the suns rays; where as Zinc Oxide actually blocks the rays. While some chemically-based sun protection products include zinc, they can not claim zinc as their primary component and must be labeled as such.
How does Zinc Actually “block” the Sun’s Rays?
Zinc Oxide works much like a diamond to bend (or refract) light. It is the only known element that can block both UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays). Zinc Oxide has been approved and labeled by the FDA as safe for the skin as sun protection. It is important to note that Zinc Oxide is not an organic compound as it has undergone oxidation. Zinc Oxide should be 20 to 25 percent of ingredient in cosmetic or sunscreen to properly inhibit sun damage to the skin and prevent wrinkles from forming. As we all should know by now, one of the primary causes of aging skin and wrinkles, is the sun.
If blocking sun rays, preventing wrinkles and aging skin weren’t enough, pure zinc has also been found to be very effective in the treatment and care of acne prone skin. Zinc regulates production of oil glands and hormone levels, two main triggers of acne. Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A which promotes healing and fights bacteria. As with any acne treatment results may vary depending on diet and other environmental factors. It is always important to consult a dermatologist prior to any acne treatment. Zinc is commonly used in ointments for diaper rash, minor scrapes and burns, dry scalp and irritated skin.
In addition to the benefits on the skin zinc helps maintain many healthy body functions. Zinc plays a role in strengthening the immune system by assisting white blood cell development, protecting the body form infection. Lack of zinc to the body can result in a week immune system. As zinc plays a vital role in the immune system it is imperative to acquire the proper amount of zinc while pregnant. Zinc helps reduce inflammation and infection. Proper amounts of zinc in a diet have shown to contribute to proper growth, strength, and endurance. Zinc is also involved in stimulating many enzymes which play an essential role in metabolism. Zinc has been found to benefit the inside and outside health of our bodies and can be found in many topical creams, like Vivoderm’s zinc repairing cream, as well as in many nutrient rich foods.
According to the American Zinc Association, zinc seals and protects the skin. “Zinc is essential for healthy skin. As a drying agent and astringent, zinc oxide has been used for generations to soothe diaper rash and relieve itching. And zinc is a natural sun screen, protecting chapped lips and skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Zinc sulfate is effective in treating some cases of acne. And in a water-based solution, zinc sulfate helps remedy cold sores. Zinc also improves healing of wounds, like surgical incisions, burns and other skin irritations. Used as an anti-inflammatory, zinc soothes skin and skin tissue. Poison ivy, sunburn, blisters and gum disease are all improved when treated with zinc. It is even a natural insect repellent. And zinc stimulates the transport of Vitamin A from the liver to the skin, helping to protect body tissue from damage.”
So, remember, if you are interested in protecting your skin from the sun, preventing wrinkles and aging skin and reducing your acne breakouts – zinc might just be the all in one treatment for you. Look on the back of cosmetic and food labels to see if you are getting the benefits of zinc in your diet and beauty routine
There has been a lot of press recently about Zinc and Zinc Oxide in skincare and cosmetic products. Zinc can be found in many natural sunscreens ans well as moisturizing lotions and creams. Zinc - or Micronized zinc oxide - is produced by high temperature processing of minerals that contain zinc. Some brands contain micronized zinc oxide, combined with an inert ingredient derived from silica. The result is a naturally protective product to protect you from the sun’s damaging UV and UVB rays.
Zinc is a mineral and it is also believed that it has curative properties on a skin where there are acne growths and can reduce the symptoms of acne. Many alternative studies have indicated that this is not the case. So is there a connection between the two?
According to research carried out in recent years, zinc has the same properties of antibiotics such as tetracycline and it can fight the acne bacteria efficiently without the negative effects of antibiotics. Reportedly, zinc also enhances the immunity of the body when ingested as a supplement. So what is zinc and what is the zinc acne connection all about? How does the zinc acne treatment affect the sufferers and what is the best way to use this treatment?
You will find traces of the zinc mineral in various food items such as mushrooms, soybeans, legumes, fish, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, soy lecithin and also in whole grains. Zinc is also present in many herbs such as dandelion, eyebright, cayenne, chamomile, mullein, nettle, milk thistle, alfalfa and in the burdock root. Zinc forms a part of insulin and can be found in the tissues.
There are many useful properties of zinc like providing the person with energy, prohibiting blindness, aiding the process of digestion by being a part of enzymes, supporting the reaction of more than 30 enzymes, strengthening the immunity, regulation of Vitamin E in the blood, helping the body absorb Vitamin A and B, speeding up the process of healing, regulating insulin, and it also fights bacteria. Zinc is also present in estrogen, testosterone and growth hormones.
So how does zinc help a person suffering from acne? Zinc moisturizers and sunscreens may be a good first step to taking care of your skin from the outside.
The causes of acne are all internal and they are imbalance in the level of hormones and build up toxic materials within the body. The hormones are responsible for producing oils, and the zinc can regulate the oil glands, and so if you can take them correctly (that is in the right quantity, quality and the correct essential fatty acids) you will be able to have some control over the level of hormones and this will ease the symptoms of your acne greatly.
Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A, and fights the bacteria that causes acne by strengthening the immune system, helps the body heal wounds and contains anti oxidant properties. All these are useful in tackling the secondary causes of acne and will help you greatly reduce the symptoms of acne.
Another ability of zinc for acne is that it can regulate the production of hormones, which is a main reason one acquires acne. However for this to happen, it needs to be taken in the correct quantity and in combination with essential fatty acids. This mineral needs to be properly absorbed within the body and work together with other nutrients for the hormones to be balanced.
While zinc as an acne treatment may be effective, it is very important however to take care and not mix it with some chemical substances, supplements and food items because they will make the zinc less effective. You should always consult your doctor or research a supplement before taking any internal treatments.
There are some food items, ( inhibitors) like supplements and physical conditions that can prevent zinc from being properly absorbed in the body. This may significantly reduce the impact of zinc on the acne.
One of these inhibitors is Phytic acid. Usually found in high levels in grains. The acid can reduce the absorption by about 15%. And thus, those who are suffering from acne need to reduce their grain consumption to one to two servings a day. Grains may lead to mucus and acidity and taking them with zinc for acne can be a challenge.
Another zinc inhibitor is soy protein. If you are using zinc for an acne treatment, you need to eat less soy as it can bind to minerals and lead to less zinc absorption. Then there are other minerals like copper and inorganic iron. They also come in the way of zinc for acne bio-availability. However this issue can be solved easily, unless of course you are suffering from copper toxicity. Try not to take copper more than 2-3 mg a day and also do not take inorganic iron supplements.
Too much of physical exertion may lead to an increased demand by the body for zinc and thus, when you are exercising, you need to also take more zinc for acne treatments.
Following these tips and zinc guidines should have you well on your way to beautiful skin in no time!