Zinc is an essential micronutrient with a multitude of important biological functions. While about 50% of our body’s zinc is in the bones, approximately 6% is contained in the skin. Zinc is a mineral that has been used as a therapeutic ingredient for many years. When applied to the skin, zinc acts like a barrier, stimulates wound healing and is thought also to possess anti-inflammatory and soothing properties1.
In patients with chronic hand eczema, a study with 2.5% zinc sulphate used together with corticosteroids twice daily for 2 weeks, showed this to be more effective at reducing redness, scaling, and itch than treatment without the zinc sulphate (corticosteroids alone)2.
In addition to this, there was a lower recurrence rate of eczema in the weeks after stopping the treatment. Also, zinc oxide ointment applied two times per day for 21 days was shown to relieve the inflammation caused by the rubbing of one skin area against another (intertrigo), compared with before the treatment3. Zinc is also known to be effective in other skin conditions such as diaper dermatitis.
The concentration of an ingredient is important for its efficacy, and therefore products containing the same ingredient may not necessarily have the same effect as in the studies mentioned above.
Updated: July 2017