Zinc is an essential mineral for many reasons. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements lists zinc as important for wound healing, for protein synthesis and to support immune function. It is especially important during pregnancy and childhood for growth and development. Zinc also promotes healthy skin and it may help reduce acne. It is present in many foods and may also be taken as a zinc gluconate supplement. A doctor should be consulted before taking zinc supplements to ensure you get the appropriate amount.
Because zinc is important for cell division, it supports regeneration of skin after it is injured by a cut or abrasion. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, doctors often recommend zinc supplements for patients with skin ulcers. Zinc supplements may also help heal cold sores, burns, incisions and other skin irritations.
Zinc gluconate supplements may also help heal acne lesions and prevent recurrence of acne. Zinc may act by regulating the activity of oil glands in the skin or by reducing inflammation. According to Acne To Health, zinc helps the body process fatty acids needed by the skin to heal and it may also lower the incidence of scarring after an acne outbreak.
Dandruff occurs when the skin of the scalp sheds more often than normal, leading to excessive flaking. Zinc compounds are often added to dandruff shampoos to help reduce shedding. Taking zinc gluconate supplements may also be helpful in suppressing dandruff, although a doctor should be consulted first.
Taking zinc in excess may lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, anorexia, cramps, diarrhea or headache. The recommended maximum dose of 40 mg daily for adults should not be exceeded.