Introduction and background
Acne has a variety of causes. While blocked pores, bacteria, dead skin and excessive oil are all contributing factors, other causes may be changes in hormonal levels or diet. Acne affects people in different ways. Some have occasional breakouts while others have severe cystic acne. There are many products available that treat acne, but some research indicates vitamin or mineral deficiencies may be a cause. Acne friendly minerals are those that help reduce or prevent any acne outbreaks that are specifically related with diet or food. Some of these minerals include:
Zinc & acne
Zinc is absolutely essential for good skin health. This is especially true during the teen years, because like Vitamin A, Zinc does double duty. It is required for the production of the germ cells of reproduction which are so active during those years and is also required by the skin cells in order to produce normal protein as new skin cells are produced, quite literally on a daily basis. The diets of most Americans & Europeans at any age are notoriously low in this mineral, and for teens, this lack of Zinc is a recipe for Acne.
The Mayo Clinic reports that some research shows zinc is beneficial in treating acne. In addition, several studies indicate that the mineral zinc may reduce the effects of acne. One study found that it was at least as effective as the antibiotic Tetracycline that is so popular with dermatologists. Other researchers used either Vitamin A or Zinc supplements alone on acne patients, and while they found about a 60% improvement in the acne, when they used them together there was over an 80% improvement.
However, high doses of zinc can cause anemia, vomiting, and immune system suppression. It also interacts with tetracycline, which is often prescribed for acne. For these reasons, you should talk to your doctor before taking zinc.
Calf’s liver, crimini mushrooms and spinach are very good sources of zinc. Good sources include sea vegetables, spinach, pumpkin seeds, yeast, beef, and lamb.
Selenium & acne
This mineral is absolutely essential for the effective utilization of Vitamin E which has an important role in acne treatment and prevention. Selenium is also essential for two key enzymes which play major roles in the health of the skin. One is glutathione peroxidase which protects the skin from free radical damage, and the other is thioredoxin reductase which recycles Vitamin C (has healing effect on skin).
Some recommended dietary sources of Selenium include Brazil nuts, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, calf’s liver, salmon, chicken’s eggs, lamb, barley, sunflower seeds, turkey, mustard seeds, and oats.
Chromium & acne
Unfortunately, Chromium is very scarce in the modern day European or American diet, and the diet of people with acne is probably deficient in Chromium. As a result, this mineral, which is a key element to allowing the glucose/insulin complex to get into the cell, is in such short supply that glucose and insulin just builds up in the blood. Several studies have shown a close association between acne, unstable blood sugar and low blood chromium levels.
Some recommended sources of Chromium include romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, liver, whole grains, bran cereals, and potatoes.
Magnesium & acne
Magnesium is essential for the production of proteins and enzymes in every tissue of the body. This includes the proteins and enzymes of skin cells where new cells are constantly being produced. It is also absolutely essential for the proper use of the vitamin Pyridoxine.
Excellent food sources of magnesium include Swiss chard and spinach. Very good sources of magnesium include mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, halibut, turnip greens, pumpkin seeds and peppermint.
It is evident from the above discussion that the importance and significance of certain essential minerals can not be denied for your general health in general and for acne treatment in particular. These acne minerals can be used for the treatment of acne in the following two ways:
For topical (local) application: There are some recommended acne creams, gels and lotions that contain the above recommended acne-friendly minerals as their ingredients. When applied regularly and properly, these acne creams or topical applications can help heal acne lesions faster and can also help prevent the occurrence of acne scars.
For oral therapy: There are certain acne combination treatments that, in addition to their topical gels / lotions and creams, also contain some “oral” component that has to be taken via mouth. These oral components are also rich in multi vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals including Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium. When taken along with local therapy, these minerals via mouth act synergistically with them and provide a faster solution to acne problem that is not only safer but is more affordable and economical as well.