This Is How Long It Takes For Zinc Supplements To Start Working

Each year, up to 50 million Americans experience mild to severe acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, around 85% of people aged 12 to 24 experience some degree of acne. However, acne can persist into the 40s, and adult acne is becoming more common, affecting up to 15% of adult women. 

Remedies can be expensive, with Americans spending around $1 billion on acne treatments annually as of 2013. Topical solutions start at about $24, but acne gels and creams can cost more than $300 (via Meet Mira). Oral medications range from $72 to $1300, and procedures can run up to $2500 each. 

But an everyday health supplement may offer substantial cost savings if you pay out-of-pocket for acne treatments. Zinc is a key mineral in the body that helps with cell reproduction, wound healing, and combatting free radicals, and it could help reduce the severity of acne (per Peace Health). But how long does it take for zinc supplements to start working?

Zinc can start working within three months

According to Healthline, our bodies do not produce zinc, so we have to get it through food or supplements. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says zinc is a trace mineral, meaning we don't need much of it. However, because zinc is involved in cell production, the body does need more during periods of rapid growth, like adolescence or pregnancy.

A 2014 study in BioMed Research International concluded that zinc deficiency might be linked to the occurrence and severity of acne. Healthline reports boosting zinc may work to treat acne by reducing inflammation, blocking oil production, and preventing the growth of bacteria that contribute to outbreaks. 

Taking zinc supplements and applying topical zinc treatments may help reduce acne severity and incidence. A 2008 French study recommends zinc as the only safe systemic acne remedy for pregnant women due to potential side effects associated with other treatments. However, Healthline recommends consulting your doctor before using zinc supplements. 

Exactly how long does it take zinc supplements to start working? Topical zinc solutions could work alone for mild acne and could start working within two weeks (via Misumi). People with more severe acne may need to take oral supplements and eat more foods rich in zinc to see results. Either way, it could take up to three months for zinc to begin to reduce the appearance of acne (per Healthline). You should contact your doctor or dermatologist if you don't see any improvement after three months.