Zinc Cream For Foot Odor, Does It Work?

Zinc is an essential mineral that is present in just about every aspect of our lives. This abundant mineral is present in our food, in the ground we walk on, in the air we breathe, in many of the products that we use each day, and even in the cells that make up our bodies.

That’s right, zinc is present in every cell of the human body. So, naturally, zinc is essential to our health and well-being. In our modern day it’s used in many forms, for instance in acne creams, as an active ingredient in antidandruff shampoos and for the treatment of Bromodosis (the medical name for smelly feet).

Foot powders, aka powder deodorants also often contain zinc sulphate.

Even doctors in ancient civilizations were aware of the medicinal value of zinc. In 2013, a team of Italian researchers discovered that zinc was present in medicine tablets found in the cargo of a Roman ship which had sunk off the coast of Tuscany nearly 2,200 years ago. The thin sealed vessels had been kept dry preserving the pills in the 2,000-year-old medicine chest for all this time.

The ancients were correct. Today, zinc is still coveted for its numerous health benefits. Not only is zinc used to enhance healing in the human body, it is well documented that zinc is necessary for the functioning of enzymes within the body, and that it also plays a crucial role in the development of healthy cells in the body.

However, it is not as well known that zinc – zinc creams, in particular – can also be used to cure foot odor. The science behind this claim is very simple. Foot odor is most often caused by an abundant growth of bacteria on the foot and their feeding on sweat and skin cells.

  • Zinc just happens to be a natural anti-bacterial agent.
  • Moreover, zinc sulphate is also a topical astringent. This means that it helps reduce excessive perspiration by closing pores and thus sweat glands. (pores are the openings of oil and sweat glands and hair follicles.

It is no wonder why podiatrists point to zinc deficiencies in patients who have suffered through long-term foot odor problems. Without a healthy level of zinc in their bodies, these patients simply have a hard time fighting off the bacteria that is causing their embarrassment. Therefore, sometimes zinc supplementation can be helpful in combating foot odor.

Attaining sufficient dietary zinc is a common problem. A USA study showed that 56% of the subjects surveyed (29,103 in total) were found to have an adequate zinc intake.

Zinc cream, an effective topical cure for smelly feet

Zinc cream offers a more concentrated dose of the natural anti-bacterial properties of the mineral, and this is why zinc can most effectively combat foot odor when used in a cream.

In one scientific study carried out to determine the effectiveness of zinc cream in the curing of foot odor, it was determined that 15% zinc sulphate solution performed extremely well.

Using two groups of subjects – one group being treated with zinc sulphate cream, and the control group being treated with a placebo – researchers were able to determine that 70 percent of the subjects in the group using the zinc cream were cured of foot odor after two weeks of this topical treatment.

However, barely 2 percent of the subjects in the other (placebo) group were cured of this embarrassing problem. Source, Scirp.org.

Owing to its antibacterial action, topical zinc sulphate has been tried and found effective in the management of axillary bromhidrosis and plantar malodor. Sharquie et al. [1]

Side effects?

According to the researchers no side effects were reported.
So, if you have tried various cures and still struggle with and continue to be embarrassed by foot odor you may want to try this promising cure available in the form of zinc cream.

How to use zinc cream?

In order to be used most effectively, it is recommended to follow the regimen the study.

  • Make sure to apply the zinc cream to your feet – specifically the areas between the toes and the foot sole- immediately after washing the feet at least three times a week. 
  • As a maintenance measure, to keep the foul odor from coming back the people in the study kept applying zinc sulphate ointment once a week for the next two monts.

Soon, just like the subjects involved in the study above, foot odor can be a thing of the past for you too.

Another popular agent often used to keep sweaty body parts dry and reduce body odor is zinc oxide powder. Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in medicated baby powders and ointments and lotions. It keeps the areas dry, works as a deodorant and anti-perspirant, and kills the bacteria.


Make sure to wash your feet with a good antibacterial soap and wear the right socks.

Did you try zinc cream yet? Did it work for you?

Share your experiences below so we can all benefit from each other’s efforts.


1 K. E. Sharquie, A. A. Noaimi, and S. D. Hameed, “Topical 15% zinc sulfate solution is an effective therapy for feet odor,” Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, vol. 3, pp. 203–208, 2013.

2 thoughts on “Zinc Cream For Foot Odor, Does It Work?

  1. Haven’t tried it on feet yet, but zinc oxide cream is amazing as a natural and low-cost underarm deodorant. It does not prevent sweating, just odor. Use less than 1/2 pea size once a week.

  2. The zinc cream itself can have an overpowering smell. Might want to get fragrance-free or a specially cream/powder with zinc for feet. I have found walking through sand stopped the smell. Wonder if minerals in the sand helped?

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