Role of zinc in acne: a study of 77 patients

Jacob Thomas


Background: Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease of pilosebaceous unit occurring in adolescent age group. Though not life threatening it can cause physical and psychological scars which can produce social problems in house, school and office. It is a multifactorial disease. Many treatment options are available, but not optimal. Zinc was found to be effective in pustular acne in a patient with acrodermatitis enteropathica. Hence a study on the level serum zinc in acne patients and the effect of zinc on acne is worthwhile. The aim was estimation of serum zinc level in acne patients and correlation of serum zinc level and improvement of acne.

Methods: Pre-treatment serum zinc level was estimated in acne and non-acne patients. Acne patients were given oral zinc 220 mg two times a day and control group was given placebo. Post treatment serum zinc levels were estimated and the serum zinc level and improvement of acne was correlated.

Results: Study subjects attained average serum zinc level of 5.829 µg/ml from 1.33 µg/ml. 59.5% patients on zinc therapy showed more than 50% improvement in acne severity. 10.6% showed >75%, 48.9% showed 50-75%, 36.1% showed 25-50% and 4.25% patients showed less than 25% improvement.

Conclusions: Statistically significant low levels of zinc were not observed in acne. Oral zinc sulphate 220 mg two times a day raised serum level to 5.82 µg/ml Exponential response in acne was noticed as serum zinc level was raised. Inflammatory lesions showed better response than comedo. Oral zinc has definite role in treatment of acne.


Acne, Acne vulgaris, Zinc, Serum zinc

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