Last Updated on August 7th, 2019
Zineryt is a combination of two old and reliable remedies for acne, the antibiotic erythromycin and the nutrient zinc, in a convenient lotion form. It is not as fast acting as some other combination treatments for acne, but it’s inexpensive, has few side effects, and usually gets rid of about 2/3 of blemishes in 3 months or less even if you don’t do anything else. But there are very simple things you can do to get rid of the other 1/3 of your acne blemishes with little effort and very little money while Zineryt is doing its work.
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Part of the anti-acne action of Zineryt is provided by the antibiotic erythromycin. In 1949, a Filipino scientist named Abelardo Aguilar sent soil samples to Eli Lilly. In these soil samples there was a strain of bacteria called Saccharopolyspora erythraea. These bacteria released a chemical to defend them from other bacteria so they could multiply in the soil. Later known as erythromycin, this substance turned out to have antibacterial effects on many other kinds1 of bacteria that can cause infections.
Erythromycin works by interfering with the action of RNA in making proteins in certain bacteria. It in effect causes acne bacteria (and some other kinds of microorganisms) to go into a state of suspended animation because they cannot make new proteins. If erythromycin is taken by mouth, it can increase the activity2 of a hormone called motilin, which speeds up the passage of food through the digestive tract, causing diarrhea or vomiting. And if erythromycin is taken orally for a period of years, it can cause a variety of rare but serious side effects that don’t occur if it is used as a skin ointment.
For acne, erythromycin is best used as the first antibiotic used to treat acne. Because erythromycin has been on the market since the early 1960’s, many strains of acne bacteria are resistant to it3. But erythromycin is still a very inexpensive and very predictable treatment for most cases of acne. It just is not enough by itself. That is why Zineryt combines erythromycin with zinc.
Zinc is an important nutrient for the skin, but it works by regulating the immune system4, not by stimulating the immune system.
Acne bacteria do not cause significant inflammation of the skin. The redness, swelling, itching, and peeling caused by pimples are actually caused by the nerves in the skin and immune system. When nerves in the skin sense “stress,” they send out a hormone that triggers the release of histamine from specialized “mast” cells in the skin. The histamine destroys tissues that might be harboring a toxin or infectious agent.
The immune system generates other chemicals that also break down skin cells in the lining of pores. The immune system’s attack is “aimed” at acne bacteria, but they release chemotactins that redirect the immune system’s inflammatory chemicals on skin cells rather than on themselves. This not only protects the bacteria, but gives them a way to escape to the surface of the skin as it breaks open.
Stimulating the immune system does not help anyone recover from acne. Regulating the immune system, on the other hand, can slow down inflammation enough that pores have a chance to expel acne bacteria, or antibiotics have a chance to kill bacteria before inflammation injures the skin. The surest way to regulate your immune system with zinc gluconate you take as a supplement, but zinc in lotions like Zineryt can do double duty as an immune system regulator and a sunscreen.
What’s special about the combination of erythromycin and zinc? Erythromycin sometimes can cause redness, irritation, and drying of the skin. Zinc reduces these side effects. Erythromycin can kill acne bacteria5 without zinc, and zinc can clear up acne inflammation6 without erythromycin, but the combination of the two ingredients works even better.
If you live in the United States, Canada, or Europe, you will need a prescription to get Zineryt, but your health insurance will pay for it, or, if you live in the USA, you may be able to get the product for just $4 a month even without insurance. It’s a very inexpensive treatment, but you should not use it for more than 90 days before you start using another treatment.
Why should you limit your use of Zineryt to 90 days? As your doctor will probably tell you, the erythromycin component of Zineryt has been in use for over 50 years. Some strains of acne bacteria will be able to resist erythromycin treatment. If you keep using erythromycin indefinitely7, you will kill all the competitors of the resistant bacteria and they may cause an even worse infection on your face. This can also happen if you stop taking Zineryt abruptly and don’t use another product, like benzoyl peroxide.
Always limit your use of Zineryt, but follow up with a different antibacterial product after you finish your prescription for the product. Even 2.0% over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide may be enough, but you will never get rid of acne with just Zineryt. One study found that when people with acne did not follow up with other antibacterial treatments, either other antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide, or both, the number of inflamed pimples in some cases increased more than 50% over baseline levels.
It’s also important to keep in mind that killing acne bacteria is just part of getting rid of acne. Antibiotics and zinc don’t do anything for non-inflammatory acne blemishes such as whiteheads and blackheads. To keep these kinds of blemishes under control, you need a complete skin care system such as Exposed Skin Care.
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