Acne may not always be a problem stemming from the outside; like other skin-related symptoms, it may actually be reflective of an imbalance or deficiency within your diet. In fact, several studies suggest that there may be a connection between acne and zinc deficiency. This means that some acne sufferers could easily aid their situation by taking steps to ensure that they get an adequate dosage of zinc in their diets — one of the best natural acne remedies.
Sources of Zinc
Many of us, including (and perhaps especially) those who are vegetarian or semi-vegetarian, do not consume enough zinc. This is because some of the best sources of zinc include red meat and fish. If you don’t eat those foods, you must take special care to make up for lost zinc.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
How do we recognize that zinc deficiency is the cause of the acne we’re suffering from? Well, there are several telltale signs. Review this list of symptoms; if you experience several in addition to moderate acne, you may consider consulting a physician to evaluate you for zinc deficiency and discuss holistic natural acne remedies.
- Stretch marks
- Frequent infection/swelling
- Sleep disturbances and/or insomnia
- Hair loss or poor hair growth
- Hangnails, white spots on nails, or poor nail growth
- Diminished sex drive
How Does Zinc Work in the Body?
Zinc works to fight acne by regulating hormones in your body, including testosterone. It’s also involved in protein synthesis and collagen formation, both of which directly affect the skin. In addition to these properties, zinc is also antibiotic in nature, acting in effect like tetracycline. This will help in reducing the inflammation of acne that’s already present. However, the zinc supplement will work over time; it won’t have overnight results, so don’t be worried if you begin a zinc supplement regimen and fail to see an outcome in less than a week.
However, there are several warnings against an overdose of zinc, which can lead to excessive fatigue and low blood cell count (anemia), resulting in less oxygen traveling throughout the body. When taking a zinc supplement, be sure to always follow the dosage on the bottle. Zinc is not like vitamin C, which will get flushed out if taken in excess. It collects and can have an adverse effect.
Also, zinc elimination from the body is a slow process, so a buildup can take months to clear away from the body and zinc levels may remain high for an extended period of time. For these reasons, it’s important to follow the guidelines. Adult males should strive for 15mg of zinc a day and adult females for 12mg. For an acne solution, you might want to combine a topical treatment such as tea tree oil with zinc supplements.
Herbal Cures for Acne
Herbs provide a natural and healthy way to treat your acne and one should always strive to try natural remedies before using any medications that may have side effects. Here are some herbs for acne:
- Tea tree oil
- Milk thistle
- Burdock root
- Aloe gel
- Walnut leaf
- Witch hazel
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.