The Uses and Benefits of Taking Zinc for the Skin

While we may not have found the secret to eternal youth, we've discovered something just as beautiful – the key to a radiant glow that will leave you with healthy, supple skin. Imagine if the secret wasn't a secret at all, but rather, a natural powerhouse nestled within a single, nourishing mineral.

Zinc is an essential nutrient that nourishes your skin cells and leaves you with many different benefits for your overall skin health. But what exactly is this mineral, and what does it have to do with your skin? 

Let’s look at what Zinc is, why people use it, the health benefits of Zinc for the skin and ways to supplement with Zinc.

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is a chemical element naturally occurring in the environment as a brittle metal at room temperature. It is a particularly important element for humans because it is a mineral, which means it is an essential nutrient that our bodies require to carry out important cellular functions.

Even though Zinc is essential to our health, our bodies cannot produce it naturally because it is a chemical element. So, even though our bodies need Zinc to work properly, they cannot make it and need us to get Zinc from outside sources.

Moreover, Zinc is not just a mineral but a trace mineral. A trace mineral is a nutrient that our bodies only require in very small, or trace, amounts. At the same time, though, on top of our bodies being unable to make Zinc, they also cannot store this mineral for very long periods in our cells. 

So while Zinc is present in every single one of our cells and is needed constantly for normal, healthy cellular functions, it also does not stay in our cells for long. So we need to source it daily to best support our health. 

What Does Your Body Use Zinc For?

As a nutrient, Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in your body, and your cells need a consistent, steady supply of this element. 

Each of your cells uses Zinc for many different processes, including: 

  • For gene expression
  • To catalyze enzyme activity 
  • To help synthesize proteins and DNA
  • To support new cell growth and development
  • To augment cell signaling and division

Because Zinc is important for so many cellular processes and functions, this nutrient can also greatly support body growth and development. 

So, if we zoom out from the cell and look at the body as a whole, your body uses Zinc to help support metabolism, digestion, immune system health, nerve function, natural wound healing, and skin health. Zinc is also important for our taste bud cells and influences our sense of taste as a whole. 

Where Does Zinc Come From? 

Since we need to supply our body with a constant source of Zinc, you may be wondering where you can get Zinc from. There are many different sources of Zinc, both internal and external. You can also source Zinc externally through topical Zinc products. 

Let's look at each of these forms of Zinc below. 

Food and Diet

Zinc naturally occurs in many different animal and plant foods. When it comes to animal foods, the following are rich in Zinc: 

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Lobster
  • Salmon 
  • Sardines
  • Flounder

When it comes to plant foods, certain legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables are rich in Zinc. These foods include: 

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Hemp
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Asparagus

Eggs and dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese can also be rich sources of Zinc. 


Oral supplements are another way to incorporate Zinc into your diet. Although your body does not absorb oral Zinc as effectively as it absorbs Zinc from foods, oral Zinc is a great way to supplement your diet with more. 

Topical Zinc Products

Another form of Zinc supplement is topical Zinc products that you apply to your skin. Your outermost layer of skin actually contains more Zinc in each of its cells than any of the underlying layers, so applying a topical Zinc supplement to your top layer of skin helps support new skin cell growth. 

There are many skincare products that act as topical Zinc supplements, including creams, moisturizers, and sunscreens. In fact, Zinc is really important to foster healthy skin cells, so incorporating Zinc into your skincare routine is important for your overall skin health. 

Benefits of Taking Zinc for the Skin

We just mentioned that Zinc is important for your overall skin health, but what does that mean? 

Zinc helps support healthy skin cell growth and development to help give your skin that lovely glow that makes you look like a fountain of youth. Zinc is also an important ingredient in dermatologist-tested skin care products and can help address skin conditions like blemishes, breakouts, or many other forms of skin irritations. 

That's why your dermatologist might recommend creams or moisturizers that contain Zinc. They also might recommend sunscreen containing Zinc oxide because it can help protect against the harmful effects of UV rays that you experience whenever you soak up the sunshine outside. 

Here’s a closer peek at some of the functions of Zinc as an essential mineral and how it can benefit your skin health

Supports Your Immune Health

Zinc can help support immune health and function. Your immune cells rely on Zinc to carry out their immune cell functions and signaling, and taking Zinc supplements can help maintain natural T-cell and natural killer cell activity. 

These cells work to bolster your body against infection, which is why taking Zinc supplements consistently, especially if you have a cold, can support your fight against the common cold

That's also why a Zinc deficiency can diminish your immune system's ability to fight off an infection, weakening your immune response and sometimes prolonging your signs and symptoms. 

Supports Collagen Growth

Zinc also helps in skin care, particularly by supporting new cell growth and development if you have damaged skin. 

Even if you have a surface-level wound in the form of a mild skin irritation or rash, Zinc can help with that! Ointments that contain Zinc oxide are very nourishing and soothing to skin rashes because the ointment creates a barrier that shields your irritated skin from further contact with irritants. 

 Zinc also supports your skin cells throughout the entire wound-healing process. Hospitals and other medical settings even use Zinc to help soothe skin that develops damage from burns, ulcers, or other irritating wounds. That's because Zinc supports the creation of a protein called collagen. 

Collagen is a structural protein that you can find in your skin cells and connective tissue, tendons, bones, and cartilage. The structural protein is important because it helps support natural tissue repair and immune cell response. 

Because collagen plays an important role in skin cell structure and regeneration, collagen is partly responsible for keeping your skin young and healthy. To give you a rejuvenating look that minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and creases and may have people mistaking you for someone a lot younger!

Helps Manage Blemishes

Zinc can play an important role in minimizing the appearance of blemishes, a skin condition where oil and dead skin cells block your hair follicles. Thanks to some properties of Zinc, you can often experience smoother-looking skin with topical products that contain Zinc. 

What's more, outside environmental factors such as contact with other surfaces or contact with our oily hands can often cause blemishes to form. Because applying a topical Zinccream also creates a barrier between your skin and the outside environment, Zinc can also help fight off more blemishes from developing.

Soothes Dry Skin

If you have a Zinc deficiency, these low Zinc levels may cause you to experience dry skin. That’s because Zinc is a great moisturizing agent — it helps nourish your skin and keep it hydrated because it is such a good barrier in your skin cells. 

High concentrations of Zinc on the top layer of your skin create a solid barrier that combats excess water loss from your skin cells and helps strengthen and sustain an effective skin barrier that locks in moisture. 

Protects Against UV Rays

Okay, we’ve talked a lot about that incredible barrier that Zinc helps create for your outermost layer of skin, which can help moisturize your skin and protect it from irritation or infection. Well, the barrier that Zinc creates can also help protect against the sun and its harmful UV rays.

That’s why forms of Zinc, like Zinc oxide, are common active ingredients in effective sunscreens. Using a sunscreen with Zinc mineral as a primary ingredient is an important way to support your skin health and nourish your skin cells. 

When you slather on that moisturizing Zinc sunscreen, you create a shield for your skin that reflects and blocks the sun's harmful rays. 

How Can I Start Taking Zinc for My Skin?

To start consciously ingesting Zinc for your skin, construct your diet with Zinc-rich foods paired with a Zinc supplement. There are many options for Zinc supplements, ranging from oral Zinc supplements to topical Zinc products. 

An easy way to increase Zinc uptake is through Zinc-containing supplements such as our best-selling Hair + Energy Formula

Nutritionist designed in Australia, our ingestible haircare formula is carefully crafted with a personal blend of Iodine from our exclusive JSHealth Kelp™ and Zinc. 

Thanks to Zinc, our formula also supports skincare and overall skin health. Plus, it’s easy to take — with one capsule a day, you'll supplement your body with an amount of Zinc equivalent to 10 mg.

The Bottom Line

Zinc is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to support many important cellular functions and processes, yet our bodies do not naturally produce it. When your Zinc intake comes from food sources in your diet, your cells do not store Zinc for very long periods at all. 

Taking a Zinc supplement can help support skin cell growth and overall skin health to keep your skin glowing and healthy for years to come. 


How Zinc Benefits Your Body — and How Much Zinc You Need | Cleveland Clinic

Efficacy of Zinc Against Common Cold Viruses: An Overview | ScienceDirect

A Review of Zinc Physiology and Clinical Applications | Europe PMC