Can Taking Vitamin Supplements Help with Eczema?

Which vitamin supplements are good for eczema?


When you’re in the middle of a nasty eczema flare-up you’ll try anything to get rid of that itching and soreness — trust me, I’ve been there!


Naturally, this has left people wondering whether their nutrition has an effect on their skin and whether daily multivitamins could help manage flare-ups.


If you’re considering trying vitamins or supplements to see whether they’ll make a difference to your dry skin condition you’ve come to the right place.


We’re going to take a look at a few of the most common supplements associated with eczema and sort the facts from the fiction.

round white supplement tablets lined up on an arm with an orange background

Is eczema a vitamin deficiency?


Eczema isn’t a vitamin deficiency, it’s a dry skin condition that is common in both children and adults.


When you have eczema, you’ll experience flare-ups, where your dry skin gets irritated and can be very itchy, red, and inflamed.


These flare-ups usually happen when you come into contact with something your skin is sensitive to, like harsh soaps or cleaning products, but some people also find that their condition gets worse when they’ve eaten certain foods or if they’re stressed.


There is a range of eczema treatments and skincare products on the market that can help to protect your skin and reduce your itching and inflammation.


Can vitamin D help with eczema?


Vitamin D has an interesting relationship with eczema - although there are plenty of anecdotal accounts of vitamin D supplements making a difference to eczema, there’s very little scientific evidence to support this at the moment.


However, there is a type of treatment called phototherapy which is used in patients with very severe eczema and vitamin D may play a big part in it.


During phototherapy, you’re placed into a treatment booth and exposed to UV rays, specifically UVA, broadband UVB, and narrowband UVB rays.


It’s kind of like getting into a very complex tanning booth, and although some patients come out looking like they’ve had a few weeks away in the Bahamas, the aim is actually to reduce inflammation and clear up your skin.


So where does vitamin D fit into this equation? Well, as you may be aware, vitamin D is created in your body when sunlight hits your skin, or rather, when UV rays hit your skin.


Naturally, this means that phototherapy helps your body to produce vitamin D.


There are a lot of theories out there about why phytotherapy works to reduce eczema, and some think that vitamin D could be playing a part in it, but until more research is done we really can’t be sure.

woman in orange bikini applying sunscreen to her hands while sunbathing on a blanket spread on a wooden deck by a pool

Is Vitamin E good for eczema?


Studies have shown that Vitamin E could help to improve the symptoms and quality of life of people with atopic dermatitis — a kind of eczema.


Vitamin E is a popular supplement because it helps to support a lot of different functions in your body, including the maintenance of healthy skin.


It helps to strengthen your immune system by working as an antioxidant — meaning that it helps to protect your cells from damage.


These properties could have obvious benefits for eczema sufferers, helping to support your skin from the inside out while keeping your immune system strong enough to deal with irritants.


Naturally, this isn’t going to be a miracle cure for dry skin conditions, but it can’t hurt to give your skin a bit of a helping hand.


Probiotics for eczema


Probiotics, which are also known as good bacteria, are popular with some eczema sufferers who believe they help improve their skin.


Unfortunately, studies have shown that they don’t really do anything for eczema at all.


There’s even a small chance that probiotics could cause side effects like sickness, diarrhoea, constipation, and other general stomach upsets.


Some people take probiotics because they’re thought to help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in your digestive system, but this doesn’t really relate to changes in dry skin conditions.


Considering the current research, we’d stick to tried and tested eczema treatments that are much more likely to get results.

yellow evening primrose flowers with green foliage

Can I use evening primrose oil for eczema?


If you’re someone who prefers a more natural remedy for eczema, you could be in luck with evening primrose oil.


The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) has found that this oil can be used to relieve itching in dry skin conditions like eczema, based on traditional use.


This remedy is made from the common evening-primrose plant and can be taken as a supplement by adults and teenagers over the age of 12.


It’s thought to help reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces that annoying itching sensation you’ll be suffering through when a flare-up strikes.


Evening primrose oil isn't just available in supplements, it's also included in some skincare products so it can be used specifically on areas of dry, irritated skin.


Well, now you’ve got a better idea of which supplements to reach for and which to avoid when your skin is going through those dry and itchy phases.


Remember, if your eczema is getting unmanageable or just driving you crazy then the best thing you can do is speak to a medical professional.


Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to assess the condition of your skin and recommend treatments that will help to reduce your symptoms while helping you to look out for irritants that cause your flare-ups in the first place.


Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 15 March 2023
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