Zinc deficiency and its management in the pediatric population: a literature review and proposed etiologic classification

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Oct;69(4):616-624.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.04.028. Epub 2013 May 17.


Zinc is a trace element essential to the gastrointestinal, immune, integumentary, reproductive, and central nervous systems. Zinc deficiency is prevalent in many areas of the world and is a diagnostically challenging condition. Cutaneous manifestations typically occur in moderate to severe zinc deficiency and present as alopecia and dermatitis in the perioral, acral, and perineal regions. Zinc deficiency is a potentially fatal disease process. The aim of this review is to focus on the cutaneous manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of zinc deficiency in children, and to propose an etiologic classification system.

Keywords: AE; IL; MMP; NF; ROS; SLC; acrodermatitis enteropathica; interleukin; matrix metalloproteinase; micronutrients; nuclear factor; pediatric; reactive oxygen species; solute-linked carrier; zinc absorption; zinc deficiency; zinc metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrodermatitis / etiology
  • Acrodermatitis / physiopathology
  • Acrodermatitis / therapy
  • Alopecia / etiology
  • Alopecia / physiopathology
  • Alopecia / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deficiency Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Deficiency Diseases / mortality
  • Deficiency Diseases / therapy*
  • Dermatitis / etiology
  • Dermatitis / physiopathology
  • Dermatitis / therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Pediatrics
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zinc / deficiency*
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Zinc