Top 7 Benefits of Zinc for Skin and Hair Health
You must have heard of using zinc for boosting your immune system, treating diarrhea or even improving memory and cognition. It has been widely used for decades to promote health and well being, but zinc benefits for skin and hair often get overlooked.
Zinc is a mineral and a potential antioxidant which helps in reducing the production of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the biggest enemy of your skin as well as hair. Zinc is important for clear skin and helps to reduce effects of sunburn and premature aging from the skin. It also plays a crucial role in hair regrowth and division of hair follicles.
These are the several reasons whether it should be consumed orally or applied topically to get beautiful skin and healthy hair. This mineral can do wonders for your skin and hair. So why not try zinc for your skin concerns and hair loss?
Just spare a few minutes to explore all the potential benefits of zinc and what it does for your skin and hair?
In this blog, you will know;
- What is Zinc?
- How does Zinc benefits your skin?
- How does Zinc benefits your hair?
- How to incorporate Zinc in your skin care and hair care routine?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
What is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral which is required in a number of cellular processes occurring in the human body. It is needed for various health benefits such as cell growth, division, immunity, hormone production, wound healing, thyroid function, blood clotting and eye health.
The term ‘Essential’ means it is not produced in your body and therefore it needs to be supplemented either through Zinc rich foods or supplements. Both plant and animal based foods are good sources of zinc. Any deficiency of zinc in the body can lead to delayed wound healing, skin damage, dermatitis, and hair loss.
How does Zinc benefit your skin?
You must have noticed the presence of Zinc in your personal skincare products such as sunscreens, lotions, toners, soaps, and moisturizers. Zinc shows antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties which accounts for a number of benefits for maintaining healthy skin.
Using right skin care products along with healthy lifestyle can help you to achieve healthy and youthful skin. Here’s how. Here’s how.
Below are the top 6 benefits of Zinc for skin care!
1. Skin Photo-protection
Sun rays can cause deleterious effects on skin, causing photoaging, hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Zinc oxide (ZnO) has the ability to reflect sun rays, acting as a shield to protect your skin from its harmful UV radiations. It is often included in mineral sunscreens and sun block creams to provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UV B radiations.
Dry Touch Sunscreen enriched with Zinc oxide offers multiple benefits and does not causes any skin irritation, therefore suitable for people with sensitive skin. Know more about zinc based dry touch sunscreen.
2. Reduces excess sebum and acne
Acne develops when oil, dirt and bacteria buildup in skin pores, causing the skin around the pore to turn red, swollen and tender. If left untreated, can cause comedonal acne.
Zinc possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which helps to reduce acne breakouts. There are tons of research studies that show promising results of zinc in inhibiting the growth of acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. It also regulates the production of oil, excess sebum and male hormones that are implicated in the development of acne.
3. Prevents clogging of pores
Skin cells called keratinocytes produce keratin and also forms a barrier between skin and environmental aggressors. Production of keratinocytes, in excess, can lead to blocked pores and acne.
Zinc has been shown to regulate the production of keratinocytes. It acts as a mild astringent and decreases the chances of dirt and grime buildup in pores, thus preventing clogging of pores and future breakouts.
Also learn, 5 most effective means to clean out open pores
4. Fights signs of aging
Skin aging depletes the collagen and elastin levels in skin, which reduces skin renewal capacity, elasticity and firmness. It makes aging signs (dull skin, discoloration, blemishes, sagginess, fine lines and wrinkles) more noticeable.
Zinc encourages the production of collagen and elastin and helps to support the underlying structure of skin. This, in turn, reduces the appearance of aging signs.
Related: What is Collagen?
5. Promotes skin healing
Zinc is known to support wound healing. With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it enhances skin repair function and reduces redness and inflammation. It helps to relieve eczema, acne rosacea, irritation, dermatitis, itchy and dry skin.
If you are constantly struggling with itchy skin (especially on face), here’s what you can do.
6. Keeps skin moisturized and hydrated
As you age, the skin’s natural ability to regulate moisture decreases. Zinc is known to prevent and decrease transepidermal water loss (TEWL) from skin. It also improves the barrier function of skin, and helps to keep it hydrated and moisturized. It is effective for people with dry skin.
While improving your skin’s natural barrier function and keeping it moisturized, you should also focus on tips to avoid dry skin.
Research studies have demonstrated the positive effect of zinc on reducing hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanocyte stimulating factors. Melanocytes are cells responsible for production of dark pigment, melanin. Higher levels of melanin leads to darkening of skin, pigmentation and uneven skin tone.
Wondering- How melanin affects your skin tone?
Zinc also inhibits the production of tyrosinase enzyme (a key enzyme in the melanin production pathway) which again reduces the production of melanin.
How does Zinc benefit your hair?
Link between Zinc and hair health was established when studies revealed that zinc deficiency can lead to deterioration of the protein structure that forms the hair follicles. This weakening of follicles can in turn retards hair growth.
Let’s discuss some of the major benefits of zinc for healthy hair
- Reduces hair loss by accelerating hair follicle recovery. It also plays an important functional role in hair follicle division and cycling. (You can also try to control hair fall and get stronger hair with some remedies at home along with hair care products.)
- Regulates hair growth by inhibiting entry of hair follicles in catagen phase (also called as hair follicle regression) and also leads to an improved anagen stage of hair growth cycle.
- Helps to treat androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI). This enzyme converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), associated with enlarged prostate and hair loss.
Learn more about what causes alopecia areata and how it can be treated?
- Effective for reducing hair loss associated with hypothyroidism, by improving the production of thyroid hormone and its functions
- Shows beneficial effects on alopecia associated with polycystic ovary syndrome in women
- Calms irritation and relieves itchiness, thereby effective to treat eczema, scalp pruritus and seborrheic dermatitis. To know more about seborrheic dermatitis, be sure to check out our guide.
- Controls dandruff as Zinc pyrithione is effective against the Malassezia (fungus which causes dandruff) on the scalp. Reduction in fungi reduces free fatty acids, scalp flaking and itch and thus treats the cause of dandruff.
There are plenty of zinc PCA infused hair products available to get rid of dandruff, but natural remedies can be effective too. You can also try top 5 home remedies for dandruff
How to incorporate Zinc in your skin care and hair care routine?
As mentioned before, zinc is commonly used in your skin care and hair care products in the form of zinc pyrithione, zinc oxide, zinc gluconate, or as zinc PCA (L - pyrrolidone carboxylic acid). This makes adding zinc to your skin care routine, a simple process.
What makes zinc most suitable for use in your skin care and hair care products is that it is suitable for all skin types and has no potential to cause irritation or sensitization. Below are a few ways you can incorporate zinc into your daily skin care routine:
You can apply Zinc PCA based oil free foaming cleanser for reducing acne breakouts, if you have oily acne prone skin. It regulates excessive sebum production and gently cleanse off dirt and impurities.
You should use this cleanser on the entire face and rinse it thoroughly to give you an oil free refreshing look
You can apply astringent containing Zinc oxide. It will help to shrink skin pores and can absorb excess oil. It will keep your skin dry
- You can apply mineral sunscreen enriched with Zinc oxide. This sunscreen will provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB radiations. You should use it regularly at daytime before sun exposure, and reapply it at least every two hours
You can apply Zinc pyrithione based anti dandruff shampoo which significantly reduces dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and also relieves itchy scalp.
You can also apply hair serum containing Zinc to rejuvenate and nourish your hair follicles, ensuring optimum hair growth and reducing hair loss. You can use a hair growth serum twice daily at affected hair to limit hair thinning.
Should I consider Zinc supplements?
Munching down a healthy diet rich in all vitamins and minerals such as zinc is the best solution for great skin and healthy hair. Getting a balanced diet is the key to healthy living and is quite beneficial for achieving radiant skin and lustrous long hair.
But, if you are not getting enough essential nutrients, you definitely need a supplement which can nourish your hair and rejuvenate your skin as well. So, consider supplementing zinc in the form of tables to ensure your skin and hair gets the nutrients it needs.
Last but definitely not the least, zinc has a number of benefits to offer for healthy skin and hair. As a key ingredient in cleansers, astringents, sunscreen, shampoo and tablets it definitely works wonders to provide healthy hair and beautiful skin while enhancing your immunity. And you don't have to pay dollars to get this lovely ingredient into your skin care and hair care routine.
Now that you have an idea on how to use zinc in your hair and skin care routine, it’s time to give a try to skin and hair care products containing zinc. You don’t have to completely overhaul your current skin and hair care regime and buy all zinc products.
But you can use certain products combined with others to bring about an improvement in appearance of your skin and hair. However, it is always better to consult your dermatologist prior using a zinc supplement or high concentration zinc topical product
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Is it ok to consume Zinc daily?
Zinc in the human body is not produced and stored in large amounts, therefore regular zinc intakes are essential. The daily requirement of this nutrient can be fulfilled by either diet or nutritional supplementation.
The plant based sources of zinc are beans, nuts, pulses, legumes, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, oats, fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables (and dark chocolate). You can also eat zinc rich foods like- red meat, oysters, crab, lobster, steak, beef, pork, poultry and egg yolk, as they are excellent sources of zinc.
How much Zinc should I take daily for skin and hair health?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc depends on several factors such as age, sex, weight, and phytate content of diet. The US Food and Nutrition Board recommends intake of 11 mg/day for adult males and 8 mg/day for adult females.
Is Zinc safe for use?
Zinc, whether administered orally or used topically, is safe. But if doses of zinc is pushed over minimum tolerable levels, it can cause mild side effects such as allergic reactions in some people. It is advised to consult your doctor or dermatologist prior using any supplements or topical products.