Some research has linked eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, to zinc deficiency. Zinc creams and ointments may help soothe skin and reduce itching, though they are not a first-line treatment for eczema. A person can use zinc oxide creams and ointments to apply directly to the skin.
Zinc is a trace mineral that the body needs to perform essential functions, such as healing wounds — which can result from the cracking that eczema causes. Zinc oxide has strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties that could help heal the skin of people with the condition.
Because zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help calm irritated skin. This is why it has long been a popular choice for treating diaper rash.
Read on to learn about how zinc may help eczema, zinc oxide creams, how to use them, and more.
Zinc is a trace mineral that the human body needs to perform a range of essential functions and processes. Although the body only needs small amounts, it is necessary to carry out essential bodily functions.
- supporting immune function
- making protein and DNA
- healing wounds
- allowing cell division and communication between cells
- aiding growth and development during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and adolescence
- supporting the sense of taste
The authors of a
Some ways that zinc oxide ointment may help treat the skin include:
- treating and preventing diaper rash
- protecting the skin from wetness
- protecting and drying oozing and weeping areas of skin that have come into contact with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac
- preventing and temporarily protecting against chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin and lips
The body needs zinc for a fully functioning immune system.
In the above study, the people with eczema had significantly lower levels of zinc in their blood compared with those without the condition. The researchers also found that the milder a person’s eczema, the higher the levels of zinc they had in their blood.
They said this might suggest a link between the disease progression in eczema and zinc metabolism within cells.
Additionally, the authors of a
The data from the 16 included studies showed significantly lower levels of zinc in the blood and hair of people with eczema compared with those without it. However, the researchers said they would need more high quality studies to confirm the connection between low zinc levels and eczema.
Additionally, a person with zinc deficiency has a higher risk of infections, allergies, and autoimmunity. This is when the immune system becomes overactive and attacks the body’s healthy cells.
Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and increases reepithelialization, which refers to skin healing over a wound, supporting its use for treating eczemas. Although it is
Zinc oxide typically comes in the form of an ointment or paste. A person can choose from a range of brands and products, including:
- Lil Goats
Additionally, people who are deficient in zinc can take oral zinc supplements or eat food sources of zinc, such as seafood, lean meats, and soy, in their diet. If a person suspects they have a zinc deficiency, they should contact a doctor.
The authors said they required more evidence before they could draw any conclusions.
While not a first-line treatment, some suggest that zinc oxide may also help treat eczema in infants and children.
A 2019 study explained that the condition usually starts to show in susceptible children between the ages of 3 and 6 months. Most children who will have atopic dermatitis develop it by the age of 5 years.
The authors of a
The researchers used a cream containing zinc oxide along with starch, glycyrrhetinic acid, and bisabolol. Children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis received the treatment for 6 weeks.
The researchers found a 51% reduction in total eczema severity scores after 3 weeks, with the reduction increasing to 74% at the end of the 6-week trial period. However, it is important to note that despite these positive results, the study had a small sample size of participants.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that the body needs for a healthy functioning immune system, including the skin barrier. Research shows a connection between a person’s zinc transporters, zinc deficiency, and skin problems.
Topical zinc oxide may help soothe the skin of people with eczema, including babies and children. If a person has eczema, they can speak with a doctor about using zinc oxide creams and ointments.