Will Zinc Improve My Acne?

With the current enthusiasm for products and treatments that are considered to be "natural", I've had a number of patients ask me whether zinc can treat their acne. I've also recently seen zinc added to over-the-counter moisturizers intended for oily skin.  Does taking zinc tablets or using zinc-containing skin care products lead to improvement in acne? Let's review a little background about zinc and its role in treating skin conditions.

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How do I choose an over-the-counter product for my acne?

If you have mild acne that is not causing scarring it is reasonable to try an over-the-counter (OTC) product before seeking medical attention.  Most over-the-counter acne products contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Acne products are found in drugstores as washes, astringents/toners, medicated pads, lotions, gels and creams.  The product you choose should depend on the type of acne you have and how oily or sensitive your skin is.

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What is the difference between acne scarring & hyperpigmentation?

Many people who have dark skin develop brown patches where they once had acne bumps. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and is not true acne scarring.  Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when pigment is deposited in the skin after injury.  This can be any type of injury; trauma, acne, inflammatory skin diseases, infections or virtually any other factor that leads to skin inflammation. 

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