Zinc is an essential trace mineral found in nature and needed in our bodies. It's purpose is to help us ward off harmful viruses and bacteria that can cause us to get sick, especially from ailments such as colds and flu. Zinc is also important for hair growth and wound repair among other beneficial things. [source link] Although we naturally contain trace amounts of zinc within us, we don't produce it on our own; therefore, it's important to add in what we need to maintain support and immunity.
Zinc deficiency isn't commonly focused on in North America because most people living here aren't as prone to having it. This is considering the fact that it doesn't take much zinc to maintain the body and most people here have access to and consume zinc-rich foods in their diets; however, there are times when a deficiency can present itself and here are 3 common signs to look out for:
1. Hair Loss
I'm not referring to the normal shedding of strands we experience daily. I'm talking about excessive, abnormal loss caused by hormonal imbalances within the body. A great and common example is pregnancy-related hair loss. We've seen multiple celebrities speak out about having experienced this to their audiences after giving birth or while breastfeeding. It's called postpartum alopecia [source link]. If you are experiencing this, then it is likely that you *may have a zinc deficiency.
2. Acne-Prone Skin Fun Fact: Zinc Oxide is in a lot of your favorite beauty products!
There are many levels of severity pertaining to acne as well as various classifications of it. This means that not every breakout is "severe acne" and not all blemishes are caused by any 1 isolated "occurrence".
Even if you have the ability to "naturally" maintain blemish-free skin, your skin is still a living, "breathing" organ (and your body's largest external one for that matter) and can be subject to the "occasional breakout". With that being said, I'm not referring to you who experience a "typical, monthly pimple". This consideration is for those who truly struggle with constant blackheads, whiteheads, zits, cystic blemishes and are trying everything under the sun to calm and stop the on-going activity with little to no avail. If you fit into this category of acne sufferers, then one possibility of the issue could be a zinc deficiency [source link].
3. Poor Dietary Habits
Let's face it. Most of us (including myself) aren't following the standard "rule of thumb" when it comes to our nutritional intake. This can be for many reasons including lack of knowledge, will, and/or skill-set surrounding healthy eating. (Yes, it takes some know-how and execution on our ends to accomplish this.)
This would include, but isn't limited to: what to buy, how to grow and/or prepare various plants (fruits, veggies, herbs), and creating/managing a budget to include those things. For some, the concern of affordability is the number one mental (and sometimes factual) setback. For others, there isn't a true concern to become knowledgeable about nutrition, especially if you're from the southern part of the U.S. We are typically very stubborn about our traditional means of cooking and eating. (You bet NOT alter a gumbo or jambalaya recipe in New Orleans! Lol!) We are also consistently the most unhealthy citizens because of it.
A known fact pertaining to a link between impoverished communities and zinc deficiency is almost always diet-related; therefore, more illness is prevalent, especially if the community is in a food desert. Even in those cases, attaining zinc supplementation isn't impossible, if needed. There are various vitamins and minerals on the market that contain trace amounts of zinc that are available over the counter for just a few dollars (like $1 and up...literally...) as well as online ordering options. If you (or someone you know) consumes alcohol heavily and regularly, then there's a probability that zinc-deficiency is present as well [source link]. The good news is that it's pretty easy to treat and doesn't require very much to do so.
Now that you know a few common symptoms of zinc deficiency, here's what you can do to "assess and address" if additional supplementing is right for you. You can take charge of your health by:
1. Consulting your doctor/healthcare professional.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms mentioned in this post, then schedule an appointment with your primary care expert. They have the ability, tools, and resources to analyze your current health conditions and monitor any drastic changes such as zinc deficiency.
They can assess your symptoms and give a more comprehensive evaluation to the cause. If it is believed that your symptoms are zinc deficiency related, then they test your blood plasma to decide if you need to increase your zinc intake.
2. Professionally pampering yourself more often.
Schedule consultations with qualified skincare experts such as cosmetic dermatologists, licensed estheticians (usually abbreviated as "L.E./LE"), or possibly *beauty retail advisers (whom many are licensed estheticians or actively studying) for expert advice if you're unable to get into a doctor's office or your current budget doesn't allow the extra expense of a private LE.
Having your overall health analyzed by your healthcare provider gives you first insight to what's going on within your body. Gaining proper insight gives you the ability to take the information to a specialist (i.e. cosmetic dermatologist/LE/*Retail Beauty Adviser) who can build you a regime based on your needs and daily routine. They can (and often will) also make product recommendations that are personalized for you as well. The recommendations are often simplistic and easy to follow, depending on what has been achieved (by you) prior to the consultation. Individual results do vary. So become a "researcher by intention" to decide who you need to see, what their qualifications are, and how much you should expect to spend (service, products, etc..).
If it is recommended for you to add in zinc-based cosmetics into your skincare routine, such as some sunscreens and/or other topical items, then these experts are trained to recommended the best products for you to try.
*Retail Beauty Advisers can be referred to by various titles, depending on the company they work for. They are often well-trained by other beauty experts in their fields, ranging from licensed estheticians (LE) to cosmetic dermatologists.
All retail beauty advisers are not licensed estheticians/cosmetologists, neither is it a requirement for them to be; so, if you prefer your consultant to be licensed in-store, then you will have to ask the company to acquaint you with a qualifying employee, if possible.
3. Sticking to a routine.
It's not always easy to begin a new routine of any sort, especially when it comes to personal care. Many of you consider yourselves very busy in your day to day activities; however, it's no reason to ignore yourselves and your needs. After all, you are the only one with any real power to create the results you want. If you receive information and don't act on it, then there's no room to complain.
Zero effort in yields zero chance of desired outcome.
We've covered recognizing some potential signs of zinc deficiency and how to check for, and then care for it. Here are a few helpful considerations to be mindful of if you choose to increase your intake:
Don't overdo it. If you find that you need more zinc in your diet, it's easy to jump off the deep end and think you have to have "everything zinc" for balance. With this mineral, less is more! The average woman only needs 8 mg a day, no more than 40 mg. Anything more than 40 mg a day is potentially harmful because it breaks down the copper in the body, which is needed for balancing zinc levels. It could literally cause a reverse effect on your hard work, so be careful. Should you decide to add a zinc boost to your diet, then be sure to become aware of your copper levels, too. Too much of either mineral can cause undesired outcomes. It's all about balance. [source link]
Remember if you're experiencing abnormal hair loss, severe acne, or heavily consume alcoholic beverages regularly, then you might want to have your zinc-levels checked with your healthcare professional for certainty. Once you know if zinc-based supplements, skincare products, etc are right for you, make sure you follow up with a specialist to customize an actionable plan for you to follow. Finally, set up your routine and stick with it! Use calendars, planners, etc to keep track of your habits, record your results, and celebrate your successes.
Who's Neci? Check out her mini-bio!
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