Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Inflammatory Skin Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence

Abstract

Background

Zinc has been used in patients with acne vulgaris for its anti-inflammatory effects; however, it is unclear if zinc supplementation is also beneficial in other inflammatory skin conditions.

Objective

The objective of this article was to determine the effect of zinc supplementation on inflammatory dermatologic conditions.

Data sources

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and Ovid with no time limit up to 29 May, 2019. Trials examining supplementation with zinc in the treatment of inflammatory dermatological conditions (acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, diaper dermatitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, psoriasis, and rosacea) in children and adults were selected.

Results

Of 229 articles, 22 met inclusion criteria. Supplementation with zinc was found to be beneficial in ten of 14 studies evaluating its effects on acne vulgaris, one of two studies on atopic dermatitis, one of one study on diaper dermatitis, and three of three studies evaluating its effects on hidradenitis suppurativa. However, the one article found on psoriasis and the one article found on rosacea showed no significant benefit of zinc treatment on disease outcome.

Conclusions and implications

Some preliminary evidence supports the use of zinc in the treatment of acne vulgaris and hidradenitis suppurativa; however, more research is needed with similar methodologies and larger sample sizes in these diseases. Further, zinc may be of some benefit in the treatment plan for atopic dermatitis and diaper dermatitis; however, additional studies should be conducted to further evaluate these potentially positive associations. To date, no evidence is available to suggest that zinc may be of benefit in rosacea and psoriasis; however, limited data are available evaluating the use of zinc in these conditions.

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Fig. 1

From: Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group (2009). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Med 6(6):e1000097. pmed1000097https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed1000097

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Correspondence to Raja K. Sivamani.

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Raja K. Sivamani serves as a scientific advisor and editor to LearnHealth and as a consultant to Burt’s Bees and Dermala. Cindy J. Chambers serves as a consultant to Burt’s Bees. Simran Dhaliwal, Mimi Nguyen, Alexandra R. Vaughn, and Manisha Notay have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

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Dhaliwal, S., Nguyen, M., Vaughn, A.R. et al. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Inflammatory Skin Diseases: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Am J Clin Dermatol 21, 21–39 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-019-00484-0

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