If you understand the cause of acne then it makes sense that taking zinc and selenium for acne is beneficial. The good news is that when zinc and selenium are taken in combination with other acne products and treatments that your dermatologist recommends, you’ll see better results.
That’s because these minerals help boost your skin’s health. Read below to learn why zinc and selenium should be part of your acne treatment plan and how their daily usage will bring back that glow you love.
What Causes Acne?
Acne develops in a structure of the skin called the pilosebaceous unit. The central canal of this unit is called the follicle, which includes a hair shaft and an opening to the skin or a pore. In the follicle are small sacs called sebaceous glands which secrete sebum, a skin and hair lubricant.
The adrenal hormone testosterone stimulates the production of sebum as well as keratin, a fibrous protein that lines the follicle. In acne, these skin cells shed excessively and stick together. When combined with excess sebum, an enlarged follicle or microcomedo is formed. The result? A non-inflammatory comeodome that when partially blocked is called a blackhead (the lipids or sebum involved oxidize and turn black); or when completely closed, is referred to as a whitehead.
In this ideal environment, Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes, a bacterium that normally reside on the skin, proliferate. Their overgrowth causes a destruction of the pore lining and cellular debris enters the surrounding area, leading to inflammation.
What are Common Acne Treatments?
Common acne treatments used for mild to moderate acne include prescription topical retinoids (Retin-A, Tazorac, Differin), benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, topical and oral antibiotics and oral contraceptives. While these prescription medications display potent activity they can have significant side-effects. Natural medicines like zinc and selenium tend to be milder, safer and are far less likely to cause negative reactions.
Supplements to Help Acne
A wide variety of supplements are available that address acne. These include acne vitamin supplements, acne minerals, acne supplements and herbs. An ideal acne management program combines topical acne treatments with natural acne supplements to achieve the best results.
Minerals for Acne
When you think about minerals for acne what probably comes to mind is mineral makeup. While mineral makeup can help cover up your acne, it is the oral ingestion of minerals like zinc, selenium and chromium that can help treat the actual cause of your acne.
Zinc and Acne – Studies show zinc reduces the severity of acne
- Zinc is involved in the proper metabolism of testosterone, the principal hormone involved in the genesis of acne.
- Zinc is very important for the health of the skin. Low levels of zinc can be a cause of acne. Zinc deficiency plays a major role in many cases of adolescent acne.
- Zinc can help prevent acne because it aids in regulating the activity of your oil glands.
- Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for protein synthesis and collagen formation.
- Zinc plays a role in wound healing and fortifies your skin tissue to help prevent scarring.
- Zinc is also an antioxidant that protects against damage from free-radicals.
- In conjunction with vitamin A, zinc helps to promote wound healing, immune system activity, anti-inflammatory control and tissue regeneration.
- Look for zinc supplements for acne that have at least 20 mg/day of chelated zinc.
Selenium and Acne – Helps prevent inflammation of acne
- Research has shown that a deficiency in selenium may play a role in inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
- Selenium functions in glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme which is very important in preventing the inflammation of acne.
- Selenium is an antioxidant that works to protect other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
- Look for natural acne supplements that include at least 45 mcg/day of chelated selenium.
Chromium and Acne – Improves metabolism of skin cells
- Chromium is a trace mineral that works with insulin in the metabolism of sugar and is needed for energy.
- Chromium improves glucose tolerance and enhances insulin sensitivity. This becomes important for acne patients who do not metabolize sugar properly.
- When purchasing a chromium supplement for acne select those that are formulated with at least 150 mcg/day of chelated chromium.
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.