Zinc gluconate is the combo of zinc with a form of glucose (a sugar) that is commonly used in cold lozenges for its antiviral effects. A study evaluated “the place of zinc gluconate in relation to antibiotics in the treatment of Acne vulgaris. Zinc was compared to minocycline [an antibiotic] in a multicenter randomized double-blind trial. 332 patients received either 30 milligrams elemental zinc or 100 milligrams minocycline over 3 months. The primary endpoint was defined as the percentage of the clinical success rate on day 90….” The study concluded that “Minocycline and zinc gluconate are both effective in the treatment of inflammatory acne, but minocycline has a superior effect evaluated to be 17% in our study.”
Topically, it seems zinc gluconate has an effect against the inflammatory pathway acne-causing bacteria causes. Research reveals zinc gluconate can down-regulate the inflammatory cascade caused by the p. acnes bacteria. Zinc gluconate also appears to exert an anti-inflammatory action that keeps acne at bay.
Zinc gluconate is also used in skincare and cosmetics to reduce the production of Squalane, a component of human sebum. Although, in one study, when it was compared with sarcosine, the latter performed better.
Dermatology (2001, volume 203, issue 2, page 40)
Experimental Dermatology, September 2013, pages 587-592
Archives of Dermatological Research, December 2011, pages 707-713