Skin zinc is a contemporary cream, lotion or spray, which contains zinc pyrithione, the main ingredient. Zinc is a mineral that is found in small quantities in almost all living things. Zinc pyrithione is a compound that is prepared by using zinc. Selling skin zinc without prescription became very popular during the 1990s. Zinc pyrithione was used in shampoos with a very high level of efficiency to take care of dandruff. Some of the brands that contain zinc pyrithione in their shampoos are- “Suave”, and “Head and Shoulders”.
Many consider zinc pyrithione a safer alternative to tar that is contained in other shampoos; tar is believed to be carcinogenic and hence it has been banned in the US markets. Zinc pyrithione was produced synthetically in the 1930s and is known to have anti- fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It is claimed that zinc pyrithione fights bacteria strains although there is not enough evidence to support this claim. Zinc pyrithione, commercially known as skin zinc, is very effective to treat various skin disorders such as dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Skin zinc is also used as an anti- fungal agent and is believed to be affective in the treatment of athlete’s foot and ringworm.
In the 1990s, when skin zinc was first introduced in the US markets, its use to treat skin conditions was immediately supported by various doctors. An article published in 1997 discussed the effectiveness with which an autoimmune skin disorder called psoriasis, which causes large patches of scaled, scabbed and red skin near the joints, could be treated by using a skin zinc product called Skin Cap. However another report, which was published a month later by the same doctors, claimed that the product contained steroids as a starting ingredient and was hence tagged unsafe for use; Skin Cap was thus removed from the markets. However, the product was soon released again in the US markets which did not contain steroids and it is currently available throughout the United States. Many of the skin zinc products claim to be efficient against various skin conditions, but these claims are made on the basis of previous tests which are now said to be unreliable as they are made of corticosteroids.
Some claim that the skin zinc formula is very effective against psoriasis but doctors are yet to find concrete evidence and there has been no evidence that the treatment will give the desired results. The effectiveness of skin zinc for treatment of eczema is also not well established. Sometimes, the cause of eczema may be due to deficiency of zinc, but still, there is very little evidence that the condition may be resolved by oral zinc. Some studies have shown that skin zinc can cause severe skin reactions and oral zinc can irritate the stomach.
Zinc pyrithione has been extensively used in anti-dandruff shampoos and studies show that a very small amount of zinc is absorbed by the skin. Although the skin condition may not improve after using skin zinc, it will not do much harm. There are few who may have skin allergies on using skin zinc and therefore it is advisable to consult the doctor before using the product.