Zinc deficiency, which affects around one third of the world’s population, has been associated with various dermatological conditions, including inflammatory ones. Because of this, and of zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties, zinc supplementation has been touted as a potential treatment for inflammatory skin diseases. What does the evidence from clinical trials say, though?

The study

This paper is a systematic review of 22 clinical trials on the effects of oral zinc supplementation on acne (n=14), hidradenitis suppurativa (n=3), atopic dermatitis (n=2), diaper dermatitis (n=1), psoriasis (n=1), and rosacea (n=1). Of the 22 trials, 7 used zinc gluconate (10–90 mg/day), 14 used zinc sulfate (375–1,800 mg/day), and one used zinc oxide (12 mg/day).

The results

The available evidence supports the use of zinc for the treatment of acne and hidradenitis suppurativa. However, this evidence is preliminary. For atopic dermatitis, diaper dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea, there is currently too little research for any conclusions to be drawn.


Zinc gluconate is about 14% elemental zinc. Zinc sulfate is about 23% elemental zinc. Zinc oxide is about 80% elemental zinc.

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This Study Summary was published on December 7, 2020.