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The Best Supplements For Eczema And Vitamins For Eczema

Eczema–a condition characterized by itchy red rashes on the skin–is one of the most common medical problems in the world, affecting up to 15 million Americans–most commonly young children. 

Eczema is actually the common name for dermatitis, a set of conditions characterized by inflammation of the skin, which causes itchy red rashes to form on affected areas. It’s actually not just one condition–there are many types of dermatitis.  

All types of dermatitis have different immediate causes–inflammation of the skin, combined with edema (localized fluid retention) which allows cells and enzymes responsible for inflammation to accumulate. Each type, however, has a different root cause.

In this article we’ll go over the different types of eczema–some of which could be more feasibly treated with supplements for eczema and vitamins for eczema sufferers than others. After that, we’ll run through the list of supplements for eczema and vitamins for eczema, and look at which particular types of eczema they’re most likely to help with.

The Four Main Types of Eczema

There are actually a lot more than four types of eczema, depending on how you split them up, but these are the four most common ones, according to the most commonly-used typology. While they all have the same intermediate cause–inflammation and edema–they differ in terms of their root cause.  

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

Like the name says, this type of eczema is caused by contact with an allergen, which then causes a hypersensitivity reaction with the skin. 

Obviously, the ideal treatment would be avoiding contact with the allergen that causes it. Some allergens are harder to avoid than others though, so the second line of defense is usually antihistamines. But since antihistamines usually have sedative effects, supplements with known anti-allergy, anti-inflammatory or anti-eczema effects may be helpful.  

Irritant Contact Dermatitis 

This type of eczema is caused by contact with a chemical or physical irritant which causes a non-allergic reaction in the skin. This can be anything from alkalis such as lye or laundry detergent, to plants such as poison ivy or buttercup sap.

This type of eczema can affect anyone, but the irritants are generally easy to avoid. Supplements are not helpful in addressing the irritant reaction. They could maybe address the intermediate cause of eczema–inflammation and edema–but really aren’t necessary since this type of eczema tends to be avoidable and acute rather than chronic.   

Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is caused by blood pooling in the skin, due to lack of activity and/or poor venous return. It is common among long-time smokers, people with circulatory issues, or patients who are bedridden for whatever reason. It can also be caused by varicose veins. 

The circulatory issues could potentially be addressed with supplements, but this is secondary to getting more exercise, not smoking and/or getting surgery for varicose veins.   

Atopic Dermatitis 

Atopic eczema is perhaps the most frustrating kind, because it lacks a clear cause. Its causation is believed to involve genetics, excessive skin permeability, and autoimmune reactions.  

Autoimmune reactions are, themselves, partly causes by inflammation. Thus, atopic eczema can involve a self-perpetuating inflammatory cycle, which might be alleviated by anti-inflammatory supplements. Add to that the fact that there’s no clear way to just avoid what’s irritating your skin, and supplements are often among the better options for this type of eczema.  

Why The Type Of Eczema You Have Matters

There are two distinct ways in which supplements could be used to counteract eczema.

First, supplements could target skin inflammation or edema, which are the intermediate causes for all types of eczema. This would work for every type of eczema, though it wouldn’t necessarily be the best option.  

Second, supplements might be able to address the root causes of eczema. This depends on the type of eczema though–it is most likely to be effective for atopic dermatitis, followed by allergic contact dermatitis. Supplements are less likely to be effective for stasis dermatitis, and can’t really address the root cause of irritant contact dermatitis. 

The Best Supplements For Eczema

The term “supplements” is a broad category, and can commonly be understood to include herbs, vitamins, and even vitamins and compounds that are applied topically such as in a serum or lotion. Because the category is so wide-reaching, our recommendations below cover best vitamins for eczema, natural supplements for eczema, herbal supplements for eczema, and topical creams for eczema that include “supplements” such as CBD and Vitamin C.

CBD For Eczema

Crescent Canna CBD drops

CBD For Eczema Is One Of Our Strong Recommendations

Crescent Canna 2,000 mg CBD Drops

This CBD oil is completely THC-free, organic and non-GMO, and American-made. Crescent Canna is a trusted and reliable brand that follows all of the industry best practices for manufacturing. Most importantly, at four cents per milligram, this is one of the most affordable CBD oils on the market. In fact they have even higher-strength droppers that offer better value, but 2000 mg is a good start while you’re figuring out your dosage.

This should be unsurprising since CBD is anti-inflammatory. Since inflammation is the main immediate cause of eczema, it is unsurprising that CBD can help with eczema– potentially with all types.  

As one research review explains, “experimental efforts over the last two decades have unambiguously confirmed that cutaneous cannabinoid signaling is deeply involved in the maintenance of skin homeostasis, barrier formation and regeneration, and its dysregulation was implicated to contribute to several highly prevalent diseases and disorders, e.g., atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, scleroderma, acne, hair growth and pigmentation disorders, keratin diseases, various tumors, and itch.”

To date, studies haven’t nailed down an exact optimum dosage, but it’s likely that the optimal dosage would vary a lot between individuals, both because of differences of symptom severity as well as CBD tolerance. Based on research into CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits in other contexts, doses as high as 300 mg a day may be beneficial for some people, but most will see results with doses in the tens of milligrams per day.  

Topical Vitamin C For Eczema

Organixx Restore Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C For Eczema Is One Of Our Strong Recommendations

Organixx Restore Vitamin C Serum

Organixx has the highest concentration of any vitamin C serum in the industry at 26%. It uses no filler chemicals, and is 3rd-party lab-tested to show that it has no hidden toxins, herbicides or GMOs. This 1-ounce bottle doesn’t look like much, but it only takes a few drops to cover your face and neck; depending on how much of your skin is affected by eczema, this bottle can last you one to three months.

Vitamin C plays a critical role in cellular repair, and topical vitamin C serums are commonly used to support skin healing and reduce the appearance of aging and wrinkles. As it turns out, vitamin C is also helpful with atopic dermatitis.  

As one research review explains, “vitamin C can improve chronic inflammation and positively influence AD and..the intake of several foods containing high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A may be related to a decrease in the risk of AD and asthma diseases…Vitamin C can stimulate ceramide production in keratinocytes and improve overall epidermal barrier function.  The study does not, however, that “Although vitamin C can be an adjuvant treatment for a variety of dermatitises, oral vitamin C still causes symmetrical AD.”

Topical vitamin C avoids any possible negative effects of vitamin C, such as diarrhea or indigestion–digestive issues have been linked to some cases of atopic dermatitis.  Furthermore, aside from directly addressing dermatitis, topical vitamin C can help to heal the damage caused by eczema after a breakout has passed.

In a 2008 study, rosmarinic acid emulsion applied topically twice a day was able to reduce atopic eczema flare-ups. The emulsion used was at a 0.3% concentration.  

CBD Cream For Eczema

Mission Farms Relieve CBD Crema

CBD Cream For Eczema

Mission Farms Relieve CBD Cream

This is a CBD moisturizer cream. In addition to CBD, it has goat’s milk to exfoliate, coconut, shea and meadowfoam oils to moisturize, and peppermint and eucalyptus oils to provide extra anti-inflammatory effect while also numbing the skin to itching.

Just as oral CBD can help with eczema through exerting anti-inflammatory effects, so can topical CBD. It works the same way, essentially; the difference of course is that the effects are localized rather than systemic.  

Topical CBD is a good alternative to oral CBD if you find that oral CBD at the required dosage is too sedating. The other consideration is how much of your body is affected by eczema; topical CBD will work better for localized outbreaks, but it’s difficult to consistently cover your entire body with lotion and never miss a spot. Thus, if your whole body is affected, oral CBD will probably be more practical.

As with oral CBD, there’s no clear dosage guideline here. However, a good topical CBD cream should also have other, more standard skin cream ingredients, like moisturizers, oatmeal or vitamin E.  

Fish Oil For Eczema

Nordic Naturals 2,000 mg fish oil softgels

Fish Oil For Eczema

Nordic Naturals ProOmega 2,000 mg Lemon-Flavored Fish Oil Softgels

This is by Nordic Naturals, one of the best names in the business. It’s premium-priced for a reason: it’s extremely pure, and has one of the highest concentrations of EPA and DHA you can find.

Fish oil is another common and well-validated anti-inflammatory supplement. In fact, like vitamin D, it’s something that almost everyone could benefit from taking.

Fish oil helps with eczema, seemingly through a similar mechanism to hempseed oil–it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which exert a systemic anti-inflammatory effect. A common dose of fish oil is 2 to 4 grams a day, usually divided between breakfast and dinner. If fish oil works for you, it’s likely hempseed oil will too.

Hempseed Oil For Eczema

Nutiva hemp seed oil

Hempseed Oil For Eczema

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Unrefined Hemp Oil, 16 Ounce

Another trusted brand that not only has good reviews, but good real reviews, Nutiva hempseed oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, as well as being rich in anti-oxidants. 16 ounces of hemp oil will probably be enough to last you for a few weeks.  

You might think that hempseed oil is effective mainly as a source of CBD, but in fact the cannabinoid content of hempseed oil is usually very low–or at least it was in the hempseed oils used in this study. Rather, the authors attribute the effects to the fat content of the hempseed oil–in particular, to linoleic, alpha-linoleic, and gamma-linoleic acids. 

Hempseed oil can either be used in cooking, or consumed on its own, by drinking a shot of oil once or twice a day. This isn’t pleasant, but it is fast and simple.Hempseed oil would seem to help with all types of eczema, as it targets inflammation.  

Vitamin D For Eczema

Now Vitamin D3 5,000 iu

Vitamin D For Eczema

Now Vitamin D3, 5,000 iu

This is D3, the more active form of vitamin D. Now is one of the most trusted brands in the business, and one of our go-to brands for commonplace supplements like vitamin D.

As we’ve written before, vitamin D is probably the best all-around supplement that everyone should be taking. It helps with all kinds of things, including atopic eczema.    

The exact mechanism by which vitamin D and eczema interact is unknown, so it cannot be assumed to work with other types besides atopic dermatitis. On the other hand, you should probably be taking it anyway. A good dose of vitamin D is 5000 iu per day for most people.  

Note that the idea of topical vitamin D for eczema—or vitamin D cream—and other skin conditions seems to get tossed around a bit, but the science just doesn’t support this. Because vitamin D has to be processed into its active metabolite by the liver and kidneys, it can’t exert any kind of localized, topical effect.  

Zinc For Eczema

Now Zinc, 50 mg

Zinc For Eczema

Now Zinc, 50 mg

This is towards the upper end of our recommended dosage, but Now’s leading reputation in the supplement space makes their zinc tablets our pick.

Zinc deficiency is a common issue that has been associated with atopic dermatitis. Studies definitely show a link between zinc status and eczema symptoms, but have been a bit mixed on whether zinc supplementation actually helps alleviate atopic dermatitis.  This may be partly due to studies having small sample size or not running for long enough.

In any case, it’s worth trying–zinc is cheap, and perfectly safe in low doses. Taking 10 to 30 mg a day for 2 months should be enough to see an effect, if it works for you.

Nigella Sativa For Eczema

Terrasoul black cumin seeds

Nigella Sativa For Eczema

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Black Cumin Seeds, 1 Lb

Terrasoul is one of our favorite brands for herbal and mushroom supplements, and we’ve recommended them several times before. Their products are certified USDA organic, GMO-free, affordable, and potent. This bag contains 90 servings of nigella sativa seeds, but with each serving being only one teaspoon, you’ll want to have several a day–so this should last you about a month.

Don’t let the name fool you–nigella sativa is unrelated to cannabis. The name means “black seed.”    

In a 2003 study, subjects were given doses of 40 to 80 mg/kg/day of nigella sativa oil, which equates to 1 to 3 grams a day for most people. They reported improvements in atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis, and bronchial asthma. In other words, nigella sativa seems to target allergy symptoms, so it would only be expected to work on atopic or allergic eczema.  

Moisturizer For Eczema

Alba Botanica Even & Bright Moisturizer

Moisturizer For Eczema

Alba Botanica Even & Bright Moisturizer

If you want a moisturizer without CBD, this one is glycerin-based, but also has a few other ingredients with synergistic effects, such as peppermint oil to fight inflammation and slightly numb the skin.

Topical skin moisturizers– in particular, creams with glycyrrhetinic acid, urea, and glycerol–are effective at reduzing eczema flare-ups.  

They seem to be more effective when combined with anti-inflammatory medicines. Topical fluticasone propionate was used in the study linked above, but other anti-inflammatory supplements like CBD, hempseed or fish oil would presumably synergize with moisturizers as well.  

Rosmarinic Acid For Eczema

Healing Solutions Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosmarinic Acid For Eczema

Healing Solutions Rosemary Essential Oil

This doesn’t look like much, but the thing about oils is a few drops can be spread over a large area of skin. Depending on how much of your skin is affected by eczema, this could last you anywhere from a week to several months. Plus, it really smells like rosemary–not overpowering, but pleasant.

You probably haven’t heard of rosmarinic acid, but it’s one of the main constituents of rosemary oil. It has both anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. As such, it can potentially be effective for treating all types of eczema, although studies have mostly looked at atopic eczema.   

Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to Model in feature image by Chris Slupski on Unsplash.

About the author

John Fawkes is the Managing Editor of The Unwinder. John is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition-certified nutritional counselor who has been featured on over two dozen websites and podcasts. He works with clients in Los Angeles and online, and can be reached on Instagram and Twitter.
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