The insulin response is actually significant for skin health because spikes in blood sugar levels can cause an increase in blemishes. Chromium helps not only to balance blood sugar levels, but also to improve skin cell metabolism. There is a reason acne is considered an inflammatory condition. Just google 'zinc and acne' or 'vitamin d3 and acne' or 'chromium and acne'. Taking all of these seem to cover ALL bases though. Zinc picolinate(100-200mg for a few weeks, drop down to 50mg later) - Zinc and copper keep each other in check. If you have fungal infections. Supplements containing 200-1,000 mcg chromium as chromium picolinate a day have been found to improve blood glucose control. Chromium picolinate is the most efficacious form of chromium supplementation. Numerous animal studies and human clinical trials have demonstrated that chromium picolinate supplements are safe. I have been taking chromium picolinate for over 6 years now, watching my carbs, drinking water and sugar free kool aid. I started with 1 x 200 mcgs before each meal. Now I take 1 x 1000 mcg twice a day 1 before breakfast and 1 before dinner.”.
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Acne is an incredibly common condition that will affect most people at one time or another. Could a simple supplement like zinc picolinate be the answer for people who suffer from acne?
Did you know that one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency is acne? It recently happened to me and it lasted for months! Nothing worked at all.
Back when I was a teenager, I suffered from acne for many years, but the doctors told me there was nothing that could be done about it, except that I would eventually grow out of it, and so they just prescribed me more antibiotics.
It was only later when I was approaching 20 and changed my diet to a healthy one did my acne completely clear up.
Diet clearly does have an important role in acne, but it’s not the only factor.
Androgens like testosterone, and also IGF-1, are two hormones which cause the skin to break out with acne. Higher levels are often associated with how severe the condition becomes as well.
Before reading how I used zinc picolinate to clear up my acne, as well as the science behind it, watch the video below to learn more about the warning signs of zinc deficiency.
Watch what Dr. Axe has to say about Zinc Deficiency.
If you feel that you could be low in zinc, I recommend either of these supplements to improve zinc levels:
Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22 mg (LifeExtension.com)
Now Foods Zinc Picolinate 50 mg (Amazon)
How can zinc picolinate help your acne?
There are different forms of zinc supplements, some are better than others, so it’s important to choose the right one if you want it to be effective with fewer side effects.
Zinc is thought to regulate sebum production in the skin and regulate how the immune system responds. It works partly by decreasing inflammation, as well as increasing repair of skin damage and having a direct antimicrobial effect.
So now let’s have a quick look at which zinc supplements have been tested on acne patients.
Comparison between zinc picolinate, zinc sulfate, and zinc gluconate
Looking at zinc and its role in acne has been studied for a long time. Even as far back as the 1970s, researchers looked at using zinc sulfate for the treatment of mild to moderate acne.
The results were quite positive, but many of the patients suffered from side effects during the treatment. Twenty-one percent of the patients could not tolerate the supplement.
Chromium Picolinate Cause Acne
Later, in a study published in 1977, patients were given oral zinc combined with vitamin A and the results were amazing.
They saw the mean acne score in patients decrease from 100% to 15% – that’s a massive improvement. The researchers also noted that the addition of vitamin A did not make a difference.
Finally, another study examined the effect of zinc and oxytetracycline on 37 patients with moderate to severe acne.
Acne scores had decreased by about 70%, which is similar to the level of improvement seen in the previous study. And no significant side effects were seen either.
Zinc gluconate is better tolerated than zinc sulfate and has also been proven to help people who are suffering from acne.
In a study published in 2001, researchers found that 31% of patients treated using 30 mg of elemental zinc per day had clinical success, compared to 63% of those taking minocycline antibiotics.
Given that resistance is increasing for antibiotics, it’s good to know that for some people, zinc is a good and viable alternative option.
It’s also possible that using zinc with certain antibiotics might be synergistic and provide a better result.
Another study published in 2005 looked at the effect of zinc gluconate on acne inflammatory lesions and found a decrease in symptoms after 2 months of using the supplement.
This was true even in the presence or absence of p.acne’s resistance.
I’ve not been able to find studies specifically using zinc picolinate for treating acne, other than anecdotal reports, which I will link below.
However, there is one study that shows that complexing zinc with picolinic acid might be superior for absorption. When researchers gave the subjects different forms of zinc, only zinc picolinate showed a significant increase when measured.
At the end of four weeks, hair, urine and erythrocyte zinc levels rose significantly during zinc picolinate administration. There was no significant change in any of these parameters from zinc gluconate, zinc citrate or placebo administration.
Breaking it down: Which zinc supplement should you take?
Absorption rates for different forms of zinc can vary significantly. In the study above, they showed that only in the zinc picolinate group was there a significant increase in zinc levels.
However, data from previous studies have given us some answers on some of the most popular forms of zinc and their absorption rate.
- Zinc Citrate – 61.3%
- Zinc Gluconate – 60.9%
- Zinc Oxide – 49.9%
As you can see, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate are much better than zinc oxide. So if you don’t get on well with zinc picolinate, there are other options that you could try.
My experience using zinc to cure my acne
As I mentioned above, I had a recurrence of my acne after 10 years of having relatively clear skin.
It seemed to have come out of nowhere as well! And I tried everything from different cleansers, removing foods from my diet, trying all kinds of supplements, putting things on my skin like green tea, garlic capsules, and whatever else I could think of.
The acne seemed to be resistant to just about everything I threw at it.
I also had other things going on at the time which was quite unusual for me. I got sick a lot more often than I normally would and the infections seemed more severe.
I also had dry skin, my skin felt rough, and of course, there was the acne. And my hair seemed to be getting thinner!
It was by chance that I came across this thread on an acne forum where the person on there mentions that they finally cured their acne after taking a zinc picolinate supplement.
I was thinking to myself: could it be that easy?
I normally had been taking zinc on and off for years, but then I realized I hadn’t been taking it for a really long time.
And since my diet is so high in copper, it’s a lot easier for me to develop a secondary zinc deficiency. I’m also a vegan so I get less zinc in my diet.
The results were fast and amazing!
Within a few days, the acne I was getting on a daily basis was a lot calmer. The spots felt less inflamed and my skin was less red.
Any spots that I had at the time began to heal and things were looking up. I thought maybe I was having just a few good days.
The positive effects on my skin from taking zinc continued: Within weeks, I felt that my skin looked so much better. The only thing I was left with was the red marks that were from the acne.
As I write this, it’s been well over a year and I no longer have any acne. And I’ve not even developed a cold or been sick at all in the entire time I’ve taken zinc.
It’s pretty amazing!
I’ve talked about my results after using zinc, on this blog, and on various forums. I want to get the message out there that sometimes the solution really is simple.
Some people recommended to give it up to 12 weeks for zinc to work because acne begins to form in the skin weeks or even months before it makes an appearance on the surface. So if it’s not working within a few days, just relax!
Here’s a couple of messages I received from people who were suffering from acne. They read my post and they also decided to give zinc a try.
How much zinc did I take?
When I first started to take zinc, I assumed I was deficient, so I began taking a fairly high dose of 100 mg per day. I split it up into two doses of 50 mg.
Now Foods Zinc Picolinate was the first zinc supplement I was taking. Then after a few months, I decreased that to 22 mg per day.
This is the zinc supplement I take now to support skin health.
Zinc really made a huge difference for me and many other people who have tried it. It’s definitely worth a try.
Taking zinc and Vitamin D together is better
At some point in my research to find a solution to my acne problem, I came across another article that linked vitamin D with the development of acne and acne severity.
One study found that deficiency of vitamin D was detected in close to 50% of people with acne compared to only 22% of people without the condition.
There was also a correlation with inflammatory lesions on the skin and a notable improvement upon supplementing vitamin D3.
I had to stop taking vitamin D at some point because my doctor told me my levels were too high. And after having stopped, my levels would have dropped significantly.
I work from home, so for most of the day, I wasn’t getting enough sun. And therefore, not producing the vitamin D I needed. So I began taking vitamin D3 (1000 IU).
Vitamin D by itself might not be a complete solution, but it does appear to be helpful in controlling inflammation.
Acne is one of the most common signs of a zinc deficiency, but fortunately, it can be corrected by supplementing zinc. According to several studies which I’ve discussed in this article, zinc appears to be almost as effective as some standard acne treatments.
Since writing this article, many people have written to me to tell me that they have had great results after they tried taking either zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, zinc should definitely be a concern for you because many people on these diets don’t get enough. But even if you’re not on a plant-based diet, it’s worth trying!
Generic Name: chromium picolinate (KROME ee um pi KOE li nate)
Brand Name:Cr-GTF, CRM, Chromium GTF
Dosage Forms: oral capsule (200 mcg); oral tablet (200 mcg; 500 mcg; 800 mcg)
What is chromium picolinate?
Chromium is a mineral found in certain foods. The body needs only trace amounts of chromium, and deficiency of this mineral in humans is rare.
Chromium picolinate works together with insulin produced by the pancreas to metabolize carbohydrates.
Chromium picolinate has been used in alternative medicine to treat chromium deficiency, as an aid to controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes or prediabetes, to lower cholesterol, and as a weight-loss supplement.
Not all uses for chromium picolinate have been approved by the FDA. Chromium picolinate should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Chromium picolinate is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
Chromium picolinate may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
Can Chromium Cause Acne
Before using chromium picolinate, talk to your healthcare provider. You may not be able to use chromium picolinate if you have certain medical conditions.
diabetes (especially if you use insulin);
an allergy to leather products;
a thyroid disorder; or
if you use steroid medicine (fluticasone, beclomethasone, prednisone, and others).
It is not known whether chromium picolinate will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.
Chromium picolinate may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.
How should I take chromium picolinate?
When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
If you choose to use chromium picolinate, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
Check your blood sugar carefully if you are diabetic.
The recommended dietary allowance of chromium picolinate increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. You may also consult the National Academy of Sciences 'Dietary Reference Intake' or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 'Dietary Reference Intake' (formerly 'Recommended Daily Allowances' or RDA) listings for more information.
Chromium picolinate may be only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very carefully.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in your urine or stools, or coughing up blood.
What should I avoid while taking chromium picolinate?
Avoid a diet that is high in sugar. It may interfere with the effectiveness of chromium picolinate.
Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb chromium picolinate.
Chromium picolinate side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction:hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using chromium picolinate and call your doctor at once if you have:
thinking problems, trouble concentrating;
problems with balance or coordination; or
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
sleep problems (insomnia); or
mood changes, feeling irritable.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect chromium picolinate?
Other drugs may interact with chromium picolinate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about chromium picolinate
- Other brands
- Cr-GTF, CRM
Related treatment guides
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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