• Zinc

How does zinc help your skin and do supplements do anything for complaints such as acne and eczema?

Because I am seeing a lot of interest among you in looking after your skin from the inside out I’ve put zinc on today’s menu… A lot of scientific debate about many elements of nutrition is still in progress, but, in the meantime, a lot can be told about zinc in relation to the skin. There is already substantial evidence that zinc helps the skin.

Why it is important to get enough zinc, also for your skin

Zinc is a substance we require in order to build up protein for the growth and development of tissue, but also for the proper functioning of our immune system. Zinc is, in fact, an essential trace element, a substance that the body cannot produce itself. It is therefore important that you take in sufficient amounts of it. Also for the skin. In studies we see indications that people with acne, eczema and melasma have a lower level of zinc than people without skin conditions. A zinc supplement can help here but has been shown mainly in acne complaints. It is not as clear to say about eczema and melasma as this requires more research.

How can you get more zinc?

How do you get enough zinc, and how do you actually know if you have a shortage? The latter remains a challenge. For this you would need to have the levels in your blood tested by a Doctor or G.P. You can take in enough zinc by eating seeds, nuts, crab, oysters, prawns and red meat. If you want to take in extra zinc then you can opt for a supplement. It is worthwhile knowing that not all the forms are equally effective. The most easily absorbed forms of zinc are bound to methionine, picolinate or gluconate.

Sufficient amounts of zinc: diet versus supplements

I like to think that my varied diet ensures that I don’t suffer from a lack of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements). The advantage of food is that you can be quite sure that you don’t have too high a dose, because more is not necessarily better in this case. That is why I see a supplement as additional to food. I should say though that in the case of zinc that the supplement is often better absorbed in the body than zinc in your diet. Despite this detail your food is still an important source of zinc. The table below shows a summary of zinc in foods.


Food per serving Zinc % of the recommended daily amount for adults (~8 milligrams/day) *
Oats (50 gram) 1,5 milligrams 18,7%
Tinned crab in water(100 grams) 5,7 milligrams 71,2%
1 oyster (10 grams) 5,9 milligrams 73,7%
Cashew nuts (25 grams) 1,4 milligrams 17,5%
Pecan nuts (25 grams) 1,1 milligrams 13,75%

Source: RIVM NEVO table

*The intake advice differs slightly for men (9 milligrams per day) and women (7 milligrams per day).

Be aware! With a supplement, no more than 25 milligrams per day should be consumed. This amount is lower for children as their bodies are smaller.

Before taking a supplement get yourself tested to see if it’s necessary

A lot of people take a supplement without knowing if they need it. That is why it is a good idea to have your blood tested by an expert. Then work out together if taking a supplement is necessary and, if so, the dose. Or that, if there is a deficiency, you can solve it with a better diet.