A Complete Guide to Zinc for Hair, Skin and Nails


What is Zinc?

Zinc is a trace element, part of a group of multiple nutrients the body needs in a small amount on a regular basis. The human body is dependent on regular intake to keep body functions running normally. Zinc is stored mainly in skeletal muscle and bone, but is widely distributed throughout all organ systems. Second only to iron, zinc is the most widely available trace mineral in the body. It is used in hundreds of metabolic processes, in protein transport and in enzymatic reaction for cell growth and regulation. 


These metabolic processes are responsible for keeping the immune system and protein-building systems working every day. Zinc is the fuel for our metabolic engine. Without enough being absorbed every day, many organ systems cannot function correctly. A zinc deficiency can be through decreased intake, zinc losses or from inadequate absorption. With zinc being the common factor in hundreds of body functions, it is critical that enough zinc is available for healthy hair, skin and nails. The body will sacrifice non-essential growth in order to protect the heart, lungs, kidneys and other vital organs. A zinc deficiency can first be noticed in skin irregularities, hair loss and nail changes. 


Why is Zinc in my product? 

Zinc is commonly added to multivitamins to ensure adequate intake and absorption. Some diets and disease states can make it difficult to absorb zinc in the GI tract even if enough is eaten every day. Strict vegetarian diets and people with gastrointestinal malabsorption issues such as chronic diarrhea may be at risk for some degree of zinc deficiency. In addition other restrictive diets or limited variety of food diets can unexpectedly produce changes in hair, skin and nails that seem unexplainable. Zinc supplementation every day ensures adequate amounts of zinc are available at all times for consistent high-turnover cell growth, such as hair, skin and nails. Maintaining regular zinc intake is essential for good health.


What is the Role of Zinc for Hair?


Although rare, a diet deficient in zinc can result in hair loss. A 2003 scientific study has shown topical zinc to be effective in restoring some hair loss.  Other studies have shown some success with oral zinc.  Although hair loss can have varying causes, many hair loss patients have seen regrowth and improvement in hair production when oral zinc was taken. .  Zinc has a role in every cell process involved in growing hair, including hormone and thyroid regulation and protein production.


Without zinc, hair doesn’t grow. A zinc deficiency is silent until outward signs and symptoms appear such as hair loss. Although zinc deficiencies are thought to be relatively uncommon, certain conditions can silently reduce the amount of zinc that is absorbed from some food and plant sources, resulting in less zinc being available for cell growth and production. This includes hair production. Taking a regular supplement that includes zinc can prevent any variances in zinc absorption and prevent any unwanted hair changes. 


What is the Role of Zinc for Skin? 

Zinc is well known to have skin and wound healing benefits. There is also some evidence that blood and skin zinc levels are decreased in people with acne. Taking a daily oral supplement with zinc may help combat skin irregularities and can improve overall skin healing.  Take a stroll through any skin care product description and you will likely find that zinc is a common topical application, including in sunscreens. Zinc works both topically and orally to improve tissue repair and prevent UV damage.

The skin has the one of the highest concentrations of zinc in the body, almost 6%, and is highly responsive to zinc levels. With the multiple cell processes being dependent on zinc, including regulating inflammatory responses, and natural killer cell activity, zinc has been shown to be effective at treating skin abnormalities such as acne and eczema.  

What is the Role of Zinc for Nails?

Fingernails grow at different rates in different people according to many factors, one of the main ones being nutrition. The high growth rate of nails requires a steady supply of micronutrients including zinc to grow smooth and strong nails. A zinc deficiency can be identified by ridges, cracks, and brittle nails.

An interruption in zinc intake leading to a deficiency can be identified by ridges or spots in the nails matching the timing of the break in nutrition. With adequate daily intake, the body can generate smooth and consistent nail growth for the healthiest nails. Ensuring adequate nutrition and adequate absorption of zinc is one of the easiest ways to naturally improve your nails from the inside out.

Zinc is one of the most versatile and highly used micronutrients in humans. It is used throughout the body to make crucial cellular connections, build proteins and regulate natural defenses. The three areas that have some of the highest cell turnover are hair, skin and nails. These can be one of the first places that a zinc deficiency can appear. The skin is highly dependent on zinc for regular function and regeneration. Low levels of zine have been proven to be associated with hair loss and nail bed  changes.  The good news is that all of these can be repaired with regular zinc supplementation.