Nowadays, many drugstore products that are marketed as solutions to acne-prone skin contain some really suspicious ingredients. But as most of us already know, all of those harmful chemicals can easily find their way through the skin and into the bloodstream. Parabens are a perfect example of something like that happening, as they have been shown to have an effect on our hormonal balance.
However, even with all of those harmful or ineffectual ingredients, even drugstore products tend to get something right. For example, vitamins A, C, and E are usually a great addition to any acne treatment. Furthermore, zinc is another ingredient we like to see in our skincare. In fact, time and again, research has confirmed the beneficial effects of zinc for acne-prone skin.
Still, instead of staking the health of your skin on a drugstore acne cream, you can just start taking zinc supplements. Today, we’ll talk about the benefits of taking zinc supplements and the things you need to know before you purchase them.
The team of dermatologists at the American Acne Foundation put 22 different zinc supplements to the test. Here are our top 5 picks for the best zinc supplements for acne, available on Amazon.
- Carlson ACES + Zn
- WellPath SOOTHE Adrenal Support & Thyroid Supplement
- New Chapter Zinc Supplement
- Cos de BAHA Niacinamide + Zinc Serum
- Sky Organics Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Powder
#1: Best Zinc Supplements for Acne — Soft Gels: Carlson ACES + Zn
Aside from providing you with your daily dose of zinc, the Carlson soft gels also contain many of the vitamins your skin needs to thrive.
Why we like it:
- 60, 120, 180, or 360 soft gels
- Contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are great for the skin
- Selenium is an antioxidant that also helps maintain thyroid health
- 15 mg of zinc per serving
You might want to choose Carlson ACES + Zn if:
You usually have trouble swallowing hard tablets. The Carlson ACES + Zn soft gel pills which are made of beef gelatin, glycerin, and beeswax, among other things. Because of the beef gelatin the manufacturer used for the shells, this supplement isn’t suitable for vegetarians. Inside, the gel shells are filled with oils that carry various vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and C are particularly helpful for brightening and evening skin tone. Furthermore, vitamin E and selenium also contribute with their antioxidative abilities. And, of course, the 15 mg of zinc is enough to supplement anyone’s zinc intake.
#2: Best Zinc Supplements for Acne — Capsules: WellPath SOOTHE Adrenal Support & Thyroid Supplement
This blend of vitamins and minerals will help you establish a hormonal balance — which will make your acne disappear!
Why we like it:
- 60 capsules
- Vitamin B12 improves mood and supports bone and muscle health
- Also contains iodine, magnesium, selenium, and other minerals and herbal extracts
- 10 mg of zinc per serving (2 pills)
You might want to choose the WellPath SOOTHE Supplement if:
You want something designed to bring balance to both your body and your mind. Unlike the previous product, this one is suitable for vegetarians. It’s jam-packed with nutritious ingredients. We’ve already said why we liked the addition of vitamin B12 in the pills. If you take two capsules with your breakfast, they’ll give you enough energy to last through the day. The iodine and zinc in the capsules will also promote wound healing, which is exactly what you need if you’re dealing with acne scars.
#3: Best Zinc Supplements for Acne — Tablets: New Chapter Zinc Supplement
The New Chapter Zinc supplement contains zinc, copper, and a blend of probiotics that’ll strengthen your immune system and clear your skin in one fell swoop.
Why we like it:
- 60 tablets
- Contains various probiotics and herbal extracts
- You can take it on an empty stomach
- 15 mg of zinc per serving
You might want to choose the New Chapter Zinc Supplement if:
You want to strengthen your stomach while working on clearing your acne. These vegetarian tablets contain all of the zinc you need during the day and most of the copper you’ll need, too. According to the manufacturer, the zinc will also help your skin barrier defend itself against bacterial infections. Furthermore, it’s also full of various microorganisms that are supposed to balance your gut flora and strengthen your immune system, which will also help you avoid inflammation.
#4: Best Zinc Supplements for Acne — Serum: Cos de BAHA Niacinamide + Zinc Serum
Now when it comes to topical application of zinc, we’re all used to applying it in sunscreen. However, this serum delivers a much gentler version of the mineral.
Why we like it:
- Deeply hydrates the skin and shrinks pores
- Only 10 ingredients, no harsh chemicals
- 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc
- 1 ounce of product
You might want to choose the Cos the BAHA Serum if:
You want to deeply hydrate your skin while using zinc’s natural wound healing properties. The Cos the BAHA serum is mostly made up of aloe leaf extract and niacinamide, which is an intensely hydrating, skin plumping ingredient. It also contains other hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronate, in addition to cleansing ingredients like zinc and witch hazel extract. Even though this particular product only had 1% of zinc in it, it is still a pretty effective acne treatment for mild cases.
#5: Best Zinc Supplements for Acne — Powder: Sky Organics Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Powder
Lastly, we wanted to include an unconventional zinc product — so let’s see what you can do with zinc oxide powder.
Why we like it:
- For topical application in all acne-prone areas, including the scalp
- Excellent for DIY sunscreen and acne treatments
- 16 ounces of non-nano zinc oxide powder
You might want to choose the Sky Organics Zinc Powder if:
Your skin is too sensitive for most other topical zinc products — you can simply make your own. On its own, zinc really couldn’t harm anyone’s skin. So if you ever broke out because of sunscreen or a zinc acne treatment, one of the other ingredients must have been at fault. With a zinc powder, you’ll be able to add your own ingredients. You can use water, coconut oil, mango butter, or one of the many carrier oils that won’t cause you to break out. We can vouch for grapeseed oil and tea tree oil for spot treatments. And, you can even add the zinc into your shampoo, if you’re struggling with scalp acne.
The Health (and Beauty) Benefits of Zinc Products
While drugstore acne treatments tend to be useless at best and harmful at worst, prescription medication tends to be a bit too aggressive in dealing with acne. Usually, dermatologists recommend retinoids for treating acne and evening skin tone.
However, vitamin A derivatives usually leave the skin feeling pretty sensitive — some even cause redness and irritation. Zinc doesn’t come with such disadvantages, although there are consequences to ingesting too much of it.
Before we talk about those consequences, though, let’s discuss the benefits of using zinc supplements. Essentially, zinc has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which means that ingesting it should help you fight off some of the acne-causing bacteria that roam freely on our faces.
Furthermore, zinc is also anti-inflammatory, which should alleviate any redness and irritation. Still, while studies have shown it effective for treating mild and moderate acne, the jury’s still out on whether it’s useful for treating more serious skin conditions.
Thanks to these properties, zinc also plays a crucial role in regulating our immune system, which is why pregnant and lactating women need to increase their intake. Aside from using supplements, you can also get zinc from eating beans, peas, pork loin, lobster, beef, yogurt, peanuts, and oysters, among other things.
Zinc Supplements and Products
Even though our immune systems need zinc to fend off bacteria and heal open sores and wounds, taking zinc supplements can quickly become too much of a good thing. As with many other dietary supplements, there is a maximum daily intake for teens and adults.
Namely, teens can take up to 34 mg of zinc, while adults can take up to 40 mg. However, most of the supplement tablets only contain about 10–15 mg of zinc — and you’re only supposed to take a single pill, anyway. If you overdo it, you might experience stomach aches, headaches, and nausea. Ultimately, you should talk about all of the supplements you’re taking with your doctor, so they might determine whether anything you’re using is counteracting other medications.
Now, only three of the five products that are on our list of the best zinc supplements for acne are oral tablets or gel pills. The last two products are a topical serum and a zinc powder, which you can mix with a carrier oil or just a bit of water to make a topical acne treatment.
Naturally, the topical application won’t have any effect whatsoever on your immune system. However, you’d be able to apply it as many times as you’d like, and it should at least help with a mild case of acne.
Give Your Immune System the Boost It Needs
Aside from being able to protect your skin from harmful UV rays when applied topically, zinc is also a hugely important nutritional ingredient. Having a zinc deficiency can be very dangerous, as it can weaken your body’s natural defenses against viruses and bacteria. In addition to making you sick, which is bad enough, a weakened immune system can also lead to more acne. So be proactive — get one of the zinc supplements we’ve mentioned here.