Since its arrival almost a decade ago, mineral make-up has made a potpourri of promises tempting enough to make any woman at least give this image enhancing cosmetic a try. One of the benefits headlining mineral make-up is its proclaimed ability to help control acne and hide acne scars.
Of course, women plagued by a legion of pimples desire relief from this emotionally taxing skin condition. However, is mineral make-up the right cosmetic choice for camouflaging and treating acne? Moreover, is there a scientific basis for such claims?
Lets answer this question by reviewing the facts. The key ingredients of most mineral make-ups include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Several clinical studies have documented medicinal usages of both minerals, which could also prove useful in acne therapies.
Anti-bacterial and inflammation reducing effects of zinc oxide:
The life of an acne lesion involves a myriad of hormonal shifts, cellular changes and immunological responses within the skin. Amid these molecular activities, the skin works to control the spread of acne aggravating bacteria that provoke inflamed lesions.
Zinc oxide could help enhance this bacterial policing. For example, a study in the European Journal of Surgery found that zinc oxide could actually reduce the bacterial count and limit inflammation in open wounds created on the skin of mice.
Besides expediting wound healing, zinc oxide has proven itself effective at removing facial blemishes as equaling vexing as acne- warts. According to a report in the International Journal of Dermatology, topically applied zinc oxide treated warts better than a combination of salicylic acid (a common active ingredient in topical acne medications) and lactic acid.
The drying effect of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
Another remedial trait of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is their drying capacity. Experiments with zinc oxide presented in Skin Research and Technology demonstrated that this mineral has a drying and peeling effect on the skin. Similarly, acne drugs like isotretinoin (also trademarked as Accutane) exhibit a drying and peeling effect on the skin that ultimately helps reduce a patient’s acne lesion count and the visibility of acne scarring.
In short, one can attribute much of the potential acne controlling traits of mineral make-up to the properties of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide can reduce inflammation-causing bacteria and encourage increased peeling or exfoliation of the skin.
Heightened exfoliation can counteract deficiencies in skin shedding that lead to clogged pores and more pimples. Finally, the combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are drying agents that can absorb excess facial oil secretions. This drying action can further reduce the chances of rancid, hardened oils and clumped dead skin cells blocking the pores and evolving into acne lesions. Based on these facts, testing out mineral make-up to combat acne makes sense.
Agren, MS et al. Effect of topical zinc oxide on bacterial growth and inflammation in full-thickness skin wounds in normal and diabetic rats. European Journal of Surgery; February 1991; vol 157, no 2, pp 97-101.
Khattar, Joe A et al. Topical zinc oxide vs. salicylic acid-lactic acid combination in the treatment of warts. International Journal of Dermatology; April 2007, vol 46, no 4, pp 427-430.
Nielsen, Lene Feldskov et al. Skin changes induced by a zinc oxide dressing compared with a hydrocolloid dressing in healthy individuals. Skin Research and Technology; May 2005, vol 11, no 2, pp 140-151.
Rostan, Elizabeth F et al. Evidence supporting zinc as an important antioxidant for skin. Pharmacology and therapeutics. International Journal of Dermatology; September 2002 vol 41, no 9, pp 606-611.
Copyright (c) 2007 Naweko Nicole Dial