Think Zinc: What Is It, and How Will It Help Me?

No longer relegated to the nose of your friendly neighborhood lifeguard, zinc is crucial to the health and wellness of your whole body, skin included.

In the alphabet of minerals, antioxidants and other skincare ingredients, it’s easy to stop before you get all the way to the end. After all, there is so much potent goodness to be found before you even make it to D (vitamins A, B and C…oh my!). But trust when I tell you it’s well-worth it to stick it out to the final letter, for that’s where you’ll find zinc.

What is zinc?

No longer relegated to the nose of your friendly neighborhood lifeguard, zinc is crucial to the health and wellness of your whole body, skin included. One of the 16 essential nutrients needed to survive, it keeps company with other minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium. And while you only need a small amount (it’s a “trace mineral”), it plays a serious role in the health of your immune system and, therefore, your skin.

How does zinc work? Why should I care?

Zinc works according to how you’re using it. If you want to go the topical route, zinc contains  anti-inflammatory and calming properties, which makes it an ideal way to treat pimples and skin sensitivity. It helps with cellular turnover and regulating oil production, thereby preventing spot flareups and calming the appearance of conditions like rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. And, of course, it can function as a physical sunscreen in zinc oxide form.

Internally, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet — think whole foods like oatmeal, chickpeas, eggs and red meat — for your daily dose of zinc. When your body has the zinc it needs, your immune system is boosted (studies have actually found zinc can reduce the length of a cold), your body has an easier time healing itself, your breath may stay fresher for longer (yes, seriously), and internal inflammation is reduced.

And like any antioxidant worth its weight, zinc also protects against free radicals and other pollutants for a zinc-flavored cherry on top of this healthy sundae.

How do I use zinc?

First things first: get your diet in order. Like we already covered, whole foods and plants are the first step to giving your body the zinc it needs. So load up. You get some whole grains! And you get scallops! And you get legumes!!!

When your grocery-store-Oprah moment is over, reach for products. Of course, load up on zinc-based sunscreen: the zinc oxide in products like Salt & Stone’s SPF 30 and {SIMPLE as that}’s 100% Natural Sunscreen absorb and reflect UVA and UVB rays to protect against sun damage, prevent premature aging, and support healthy, happy, untouched skin. And make sure the sun protection extends beyond your face — take care of your exposed scalp with the Poof Part Protector from Supergoop! and your mouth with a physical (and beautiful!) lip tint. After you’ve protected yourself from the sun’s rays, treat your skin to some tender love and care with a zinc-based calming mask, acne treatment or healing balm.


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Thank you for the informative post! So helpful ❤️✨

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

4 years ago

What are all of the 16 essential nutrients needed to survive?

4 years ago
Reply to  Taina

Hi Taina,
Thank you for your question! There are 16 minerals essential for optimal human health: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride. Keep these in mind as you curate your grocery list, and don’t forget your vitamins, too!