Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, is a disease of the sebum-producing sebaceous glands. The tiny glands on the skin could be excessively activated by the androgen hormones. This usually occurs during adolescence and early youth.
The overactive sebaceous glands produce excess sebum. It also affects the normal bacterial balance on the skin and triggers keratinization. The excess sebum and keratin plug the tiny openings in the skin. The bacteria living on the skin might multiply in the clogged pores, producing acne lesions.
How Zinc Deficiency Causes Acne
The role of diet and acne flare-ups is often unclear. However, studies show that zinc deficiency might exacerbate acne breakouts. A low zinc diet would trigger acne breakout within 10 to 14 days.
This is especially noticeable in people plagued by pustular acne. Researchers have found that teenaged boys with severe acne tend to have low serum zinc.
However, mild acne might not be linked to a zinc deficit diet. Researchers speculate that zinc deficiency might enlarge the sebaceous glands, leading to excess sebum secretion, creating a favorable environment for the bacteria to thrive and produce the pus-filled zits.
Causes of Zinc Deficiency
It is estimated that almost a third of the global population suffers from some form of zinc deficiency. People living in the developing countries are more susceptible to zinc deficiency. Insufficient bioavailability of zinc in plant foods might increase the risk of zinc deficiency in vegetarians and vegans.
Certain gastrointestinal diseases might impair absorption of zinc in the intestines. You might even lose excessive zinc through your feces during diarrhea. Bacterial, fungal and protozoal infections of the stomach might increase zinc loss through bowel.
Fight Acne With Zinc Rich Foods
Adult men need at least 11mg of zinc each day, and 8 to 9mg of zinc should be consumed by women above the age of 13. The daily zinc requirement slightly increases during pregnancy and lactation. Oyster is one of the richest sources of zinc.
Beef, crab, pork, chicken and lobsters are good sources of zinc. You will also find this essential trace mineral in beans, peas, cashews and almonds. Milk and dairy products are moderate sources of zinc. Breakfast cereals fortified with zinc could supply your body this essential mineral needed for fighting acne breakouts.
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Vegetarians and vegans could meet their daily zinc requirement from spinach, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, sea vegetables, asparagus and grains. However, zinc obtained from plant foods are not easily absorbed in the intestines.
Most of the plant foods with zinc contain phytates that bind with zinc and impair its absorption. To increase the bioavailability of zinc present in plant foods you can consider soaking the beans and seeds for several hours in water before consuming them.
Consuming sprouted beans could increase the bioavailability of zinc. Leavened grain products such as bread should be preferred to unleavened grain products such as crackers.
If you suspect that your acne breakout is triggered by zinc deficiency, you can take zinc supplements. However, under no circumstance your total zinc intake through supplements should be more than 40mg per day.
Zinc Topical Treatment
Zinc oxide or zinc cream could be directly applied on the acne. It rapidly heals the acne and reduces acne breakouts by reducing excess sebum secretion.
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