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.
Experts believe that eczema results from
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
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
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
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
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?
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?
Does vitamin E help contact dermatitis?
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.