Dermatitis or eczema is a skin condition that causes inflammation and reddening which is often associated with an itchy rash. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis usually affects children and is also associated with conditions such as asthma and hay fever. Zinc plays some crucial roles in the body which can help in treating this condition.
Biological Functions Of Zinc
Zinc can help the body fight dermatitis as it is an essential trace element that is found in nearly 100 specific enzymes. Zinc helps maintain a healthy skin as it is involved in the function of oily glands as well as skin healing and repair functions. Zinc also plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen. Collagen is a component of the skin. Zinc boosts the immune system and promotes wound healing. Medical researchers have found that zinc supplements can help reduce the extent of dermatitis in some individuals.
Zinc deficiency can result in chronic liver disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses which have symptoms very similar to those of dermatitis. Alopecia, eye and skin lesions are a common symptom in individuals suffering from zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency also weakens the immune system thus rendering the body’s defense mechanism useless. This makes the body become vulnerable to skin irritants and allergens which cause dermatitis. In such cases zinc supplements have been shown to be effective at treating such forms of dermatitis.
Zinc As A Dietary Supplement
Zinc is also available as an over the counter daily vitamin and mineral supplement. Most zinc supplements include zinc gluconate, zinc oxide, and zinc acetate. Zinc has properties that have antioxidant values and these protect the body against the skin loosing elasticity and aging muscles. Zinc also speeds up the process of healing after an injury. Therefore zinc can help speed up the healing process of blisters and lesions caused by dermatitis. Zinc is thought to play a crucial role in the body’s entire immune system therefore making zinc an effective supplement to fight against dermatitis. Zinc cream applied to the skin can help protect the skin from sunburn and skin irritations that may cause dermatitis. Zinc preparations can also be applied to baby skin to help protect them against diaper rash.
Topical Applications Of Zinc
Zinc pyrithione is a component of many shampoos and is effective as an anti-dandruff agent. Dandruff is a common symptom in patients that are affected by dermatitis of the scalp. Zinc ions are very effective as antimicrobial agents even when they are at very low concentrations. Zinc ions can therefore be used to eliminate bacteria that cause dermatitis of the scalp. Zinc oxide preparations can be used to reduce itching and swelling in individuals with contact dermatitis.
Sources Of Zinc
The dietary recommended allowances for zinc are 8 mg/ day for women and 11 mg / day for men. Natural sources of zinc include beef, liver, lamb, oysters and lobsters. These are some of the foods that are known to have very high concentrations of this essential trace element. Plants also contain significant amounts of zinc. Plant foods with the most notable levels of zinc include wheat, mustard, celery, beans, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. There are also several fortified foods available on the market, which have high levels of zinc.
In conclusion zinc can help treat dermatitis as it plays a crucial role in boosting the immune system. Its antimicrobial chemical properties also make it effective at helping alleviate the symptoms of dermatitis.