Zinc Ascorbate and Acne

by NIKKI POPE, November 20, 2020

Zinc Ascorbate and Acne

Antibiotics, which are part of acne treatment, are no doubt effective. However, the most commonly prescribed medications – such as Doxycycline and Erythromycin – have some adverse effects too. They can lead to dizziness, light sensitivity, stomach upset, and skin color changes, among many others. Because of these effects – among many other things – people with acne are now looking for natural supplements. One of the more famous choices is zinc ascorbate, a remedy that may help you achieve acne-free skin.

What is Zinc Ascorbate?

Zinc Ascorbate is a supplement with antioxidative properties. As such, this nutrient may help with the following bodily processes:

  • Tissue function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Wound healing
  • Blood stability
  • Protein synthesis
  • Digestion
  • Phosphorus metabolism 

Zinc ascorbate brings the best of both worlds because it has 2 of the more important nutrients for the skin – zinc and Vitamin C. An antioxidant, zinc may help protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. These molecules, which result from exposure to pollution, radiation, and smoking, can affect the skin's support structure. As such, free radicals can prematurely age your skin. With the help of zinc, you may keep your skin healthy and youthful. Vitamin C, another antioxidant, may also protect the skin from free radical damage. It also stimulates the production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin elastic and well-hydrated.

How Does Zinc Ascorbate Help Fight Acne? 

With zinc and Vitamin C’s many benefits, this combination has been touted as one of the best supplements for skin. It is particularly helpful for blemishes as it may help fight the big I’s of acne: inflammation and infection.

Reduces Inflammation

According to a study by Iinuma and Tsuboi, zinc ascorbate possesses superoxide dismutase (SOD)-like activity. This means it can reduce the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a type of free radical that affects the skin. ROS are known to bring about inflammation in acne.

With this known benefit, the researchers studied zinc ascorbate's effects on the skin. Results showed that zinc ascorbate indeed possesses SOD-like activity at a rate of 26.7%. This is markedly high compared to fellow antioxidants Vitamin C (18.4%) and Zinc (9.4%). That being said, zinc ascorbate may be a better choice, especially when it comes to managing inflamed acne.






Fight Infection

Apart from reducing inflammation, zinc ascorbate may help fight the microbes that lead to acne as well.

According to the same study, zinc ascorbate was able to fight bacteria – at amounts smaller than the usual Zinc and Vitamin C doses. Given the results, the researchers believe that it may even be better than zinc citrate, another supplement that is celebrated for its anti-bacterial activity.

Zinc ascorbate is particularly potent against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, strains that can contribute to acne development.

S. aureus is one of the many germs that lead to inflamed skin blemishes. E. coli, on the other hand, contributes to a phenomenon known as leaky gut. When this happens, this bacterium, among several others, can penetrate the gut lining and accumulate under the skin. This then triggers the development of acne, among many other skin problems. 

In another study by Iinuma et al., results showed that zinc ascorbate was also able to decrease the number of Propionibacterium acnes, the primary organism that leads to acne.

At the same time, it also helped decrease the number of microbes that were resistant to Clindamycin treatment. This is particularly important in this time of ‘antibiotic resistance,’ which affects 2.8 million Americans every year. This happens when the previously-treated microbes become 'immune' to the medications that once eradicated them.

With such benefits, zinc ascorbate may also help boost the effectiveness of conventional acne medications. Such results were seen in the previously-mentioned study of Iinuma and Tsuboi. Research showed that zinc ascorbate helped improve the effects of Clindamycin, Imipenem, and Erythromycin antibiotics against S. aureus. It also helped enhance the effects of the medication Imipenem against E. coli.

How Much Zinc Ascorbate Should You Take?

There usual recommended dosage for zinc ascorbate is 1 capsule per day. Most preparations have 85 mg of Vitamin C and 15 mg of Zinc for every capsule.

Make sure to read the label so that you adhere to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for both nutrients. For zinc, it's 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men. As for Vitamin C, the RDA is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.

How to Take Zinc Ascorbate

To get the most out of your Zinc Ascorbate supplement, make sure to follow these drug reminders:

  • Take zinc ascorbate on an empty stomach. For optimal absorption, take this 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Should stomach upset occur, take this supplement with food.
  • Avoid taking zinc ascorbate together with milk and dairy products, especially those that contain phosphorous. Should you need to consume the latter, take it at least 2 hours before you take the supplement.
  • Do not consume zinc ascorbate with high-fiber or bran products. If necessary, take the supplement 2 hours before or after eating the aforementioned food sources.
  • Avoid ingesting zinc ascorbate together with your iron or calcium supplements. 

Zinc ascorbate can also interact with some of your medications. It can decrease the concentration of stimulant medications such as Amphetamine and Benzphetamine in the body.

Zinc ascorbate can decrease the effectiveness of certain drugs, as is the case with cancer medications Bleomycin and Bortezomib. It can also affect the removal of Chlorpropamide, which could lead to higher levels of this diabetes medication in the body.

Lastly, zinc ascorbate can affect the absorption of drugs such as Carbamazepine and Ciprofloxacin. This then leads to lower drug concentrations, making them less effective as intended.

Side Effects

Zinc Ascorbate side effects usually happen when too much of the supplement is taken. Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Stomach upset

You must follow the RDA above to avoid the development of anemia. Zinc can interfere with the body's absorption of iron, and as such could result in low levels of iron in the blood.

Excessive zinc can also lead to a copper deficiency. That being said, you may need to consider taking a copper supplement together with zinc ascorbate. 


Zinc ascorbate is a promising supplement for people with acne. However, it's important to follow the RDA carefully to avoid the pill's mild side effects.