An eczema treatment plan may have many facets, from medication to stress reduction. Some research indicates that topical vitamin E or vitamin E oil capsules may also help relieve symptoms.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, inflammatory condition that causes dry, itchy skin. Although many cases improve or resolve with time, eczema can sometimes persist for years, beginning in childhood and lasting into adulthood.

There is no cure for eczema, although moisturizers and topical therapies may help. Many people try alternative treatment options — such as topical vitamin E or vitamin E oil capsules — to help manage their symptoms.

Read on to learn more about why vitamin E oil might help manage eczema symptoms and some considerations for its use in children and adults.

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Experts believe that eczema results from a combination of skin barrier dysfunction and underlying inflammation.

Changes in the connections between skin cells allow microbes, chemicals, and other irritants to enter the skin. A heightened immune system overreacts to these invaders and releases signals that cause more inflammation in a misguided attempt to protect the body.

This inflammation causes the characteristic discoloration, swelling, and irritation associated with eczema.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant with a variety of anti-inflammatory processes.

Antioxidants are substances that help clear reactive oxygen molecules that the body releases as part of the inflammatory response. Although these molecules are usually protective against microbial invaders, they can cause tissue damage if they go unchecked.

Vitamin E works by limiting the formation of reactive oxygen molecules, thereby decreasing inflammation and injury to the skin.

Several studies have examined the use of vitamin E in eczema treatment. Some have seen positive results, although more research is needed to confirm vitamin E’s safety and effectiveness in treating eczema.

Oral vitamin E supplements

In 2015, 70 people with eczema took part in a clinical trial. They took either 400 international units of oral vitamin E daily for 3 months or a placebo.

Those who took vitamin E saw significant improvements in their eczema symptoms, including itchiness, compared with people who received a placebo treatment.

Topical vitamin E treatments

In a small 2016 study, 44 people with eczema used either a topical skin cream that included vitamin E and other antioxidants or a placebo. Those who used the vitamin E cream had a faster improvement in eczema symptoms than those who used the placebo.

Most of the studies investigating oral or topical vitamin E supplementation for eczema have involved adults. The efficacy and safety of vitamin E as a treatment for eczema in children are not yet clear.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), most adults and children aged 14 years or older should aim for 15 mg of vitamin E per day. Most people can reach these levels through dietary sources.

Some of the best sources of vitamin E in foods include:

  • seeds, particularly sunflower seeds
  • nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts
  • soybean, canola, corn, and vegetable oils
  • leafy greens
  • fortified cereals

However, people with eczema should be cautious when adjusting their diet, as certain foods may trigger eczema symptoms.

Vitamin E may provide a variety of health benefits, but high doses of supplements may have adverse effects. For instance, they may affect the blood’s ability to coagulate, increasing the risk of bleeding.

The ODS recommends an upper limit of 1,000 mg of vitamin E per day for most adults to avoid adverse health risks.

Upper limits are lower for children, ranging from 200 mg daily for children aged 1–3 years to 800 mg for those aged 14–18 years.

High doses of vitamin E, such as those in supplements, may also interfere with certain medications, including:

  • anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications
  • certain medications for treating high cholesterol
  • chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Before taking vitamin E supplements, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional. They can help determine a safe dosage of vitamin E that will not interact with other treatments.

Here are some questions people often ask about vitamin E and other vitamins for eczema.

What vitamins are lacking if you have eczema?

Some research suggests there may be a link between low levels of vitamin D and eczema development, but more studies are needed.

What is the link between vitamin D and eczema?

What vitamins help with eczema flare-ups?

There is limited evidence that B12 may help manage eczema symptoms in adults, but more research is needed.

Does vitamin E help with dry skin?

There is some evidence that vitamin E can help prevent skin dehydration. It may also help protect the skin from sunlight and heat injury. However, more studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness in helping with dry skin.

Does vitamin E help contact dermatitis?

Some experts believe vitamin E may help manage contact dermatitis due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, research has not yet confirmed this. It is best to do a patch test first, as some people may have an allergic reaction.

Vitamin E has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Some evidence suggests that oral or topical supplementation may help reduce inflammation in people with eczema and provide relief from some of the symptoms.

However, there is limited research to support vitamin E’s safety and effectiveness as an eczema treatment.

Before beginning oral supplements, people with eczema should talk with a healthcare professional about the potential risks and benefits and how much to take.

Seeds, nuts, and leafy greens are also excellent sources of dietary vitamin E.