The lower limit of soluble zinc content that can possibly be applied onto a wounded skin as a healing promoter was not known. This study examined skin wound healing process of rats inflicted by partial thickness thermal burn wound as a function of applied soluble zinc contents (0.1 ml of zinc chloride solution 0.01% (w/w) or 5.0% (w/w)). The size, surface morphology and histological profiles of wound beds of untreated rats and those treated with zinc chloride solutions were characterized. A soluble zinc content as low as 10.5 μg/cm2 of skin negated skin wound healing when compared to the untreated rats. This was alarming as the commercial products currently in the market are formulated with a high level of zinc content. Albeit the zinc salt employed was water-insoluble, a minute fraction of soluble zinc might be available to the treatment sites. This could be partially responsible for the late adverse effects such as pruritis and inflammation reported with calamine/diphenhydramine lotion, medicated shampoo, Olay Complete defense moisturizing lotion and Zineryt® topical solution. The skin irritation was likely a resultant oxidative stress action of soluble zinc, where a small fraction could be adequate to negate the skin homeostasis.[Figure: see text]Key messagesZinc is essentially a cofactor for skin collagen formation.Soluble zinc content as low as 10.5 μg/cm2 of skin irritates skin and negates burn wound healing.Skin irritation of commercial products relates to minute soluble zinc content availability.
Keywords: Skin; wound; zinc.