If you have skin that’s prone to the dryness and irritation of eczema, then you’re probably aware of the range of topical creams and ointments that are available to help keep your symptoms under control.
These topical solutions do help, but they can cause side effects such as skin reddening, stretchmarks and further irritation. Some people prefer not to rely on creams and other medical treatments, just to keep fighting the battle of eczema and only add to their skin problems.
There are times when tackling the root eczema causes with vitamins for eczema can help. Eczema is often caused by hormone imbalances and genetic reasons, which are impossible to control. But eczema flare ups are often triggered by chronic inflammation.
Helping to keep inflammation under control is one of the ways taking vitamins for eczema and other supplements could help to manage your skin triggers and flare ups.
The best vitamins for eczema prone skin will depend on you and your skin – we’re all beautifully different. But here’s a rundown of the vitamins and other supplements that help to support problem skin from the inside…
Eczema and Vitamin D Deficiency?
Among the most well known vitamin supplements, we’ll probably always find bog standard vitamin D supplements on supermarket and pharmacy shelves. But what about vitamin D and eczema?
We’re usually told that vitamin D is important for strong, healthy teeth and bones. However, vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin as the skin synthesises it after exposure to the sun, can also be helpful for people with eczema.
It’s thought that many people in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency, particularly during the winter months when sun levels are at their lowest. Some studies show a link between a vitamin D deficiency and the most common types of eczema.
Studies continue into the effectiveness of vitamin D eczema supplements but anecdotal evidence suggests that many eczema sufferers benefit from taking a daily vitamin D supplement. It’s also thought that vitamin D supplements can help to reduce the number of skin infections associated with having eczema.
If you’re planning to take one supplement, we’d argue that the best vitamin supplement for eczema would be vitamin D. It’s well tolerated and well worth a try.
Another supplement often taken for its skin benefits is vitamin E.
Studies show that daily oral vitamin E supplements can “improve the symptoms and the quality of life in patients with atopic eczema”.
Vitamin E for eczema is thought to help by acting as an antioxidant.
It reduces oxidative stress on the skin cells that can lead to flare ups of eczema symptoms. Many skincare products contain vitamin E as it’s so good at nourishing the skin. So taking vitamin E for eczema seems like a good idea if you’re trying to manage your eczema prone skin with supplements.
Omega 3 is an essential polyunsaturated, healthy fat which helps to support a healthy brain and heart, as well as healthy skin. Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body and therefore need to be eaten in the form of food or taken in the form of supplements.
Oily fish, such as mackerel, kippers, sardines and salmon are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Plant-based alternatives include walnuts and flaxseeds, or omega 3 algae supplements.
Fish oil supplements such as cod liver oil can be beneficial for eczema sufferers, as can flaxseed powders or supplements.
Studies have shown that these kinds of supplements are “encouraging” and have the potential to significantly improve the symptoms of eczema.
It’s thought that they can help by reducing levels of inflammation in the body that can worsen eczema symptoms.
Probiotic and prebiotic supplements
Within our guts, we have trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses.
These are mainly the good guys, and are often referred to as ‘good bacteria’ and make up our microbiome. Stress, disease, certain medications (especially antibiotics) and a bad diet can all deplete these good bacteria, so supplements of these good guys, called probiotics, have become popular, to help recolonise the gut.
If our microbiome becomes depleted, it can affect everything from gut health and immune health to mental health.
But not only that, studies now show that probiotic supplements could help to treat eczema symptoms by reducing the allergies that can result in eczema flare ups.
Our probiotic bacteria thrive on fibrous materials called prebiotics. It’s now also possible to take prebiotic supplements. Prebiotic supplements contain a fibre called inulin that supports a healthy microbiome. Supporting a healthy microbiome with prebiotic supplements can help to support eczema prone skin.
Taking both pro- and prebiotics can therefore be an effective supplement for eczema symptoms.
As many people now turn to more natural ways of treating eczema, natural supplements for eczema are emerging that could help you. There are no conclusive studies that we can find that prove or disprove the theories that underpin traditional remedies and their ability to help eczema prone skin.
But many people report that they find relief from using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or an ancient Indian form of natural medicine called Ayurveda. These types of medicines are best supplied from a registered TCM or Ayurveda trained professional, who can take your medical history and check your symptoms before recommending natural supplements for eczema.
As with anything, do your research properly to find a practitioner with good reviews and success rate. And who knows, your eczema could well be cleared up!
Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid Supplements
Collagen and hyaluronic acid occur naturally in the skin (although levels deplete as we get older, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin).
They help to build the framework that our skin sits on, keeping it plump, and in particular in the case of hyaluronic acid, keeps the skin hydrated.
Lower levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid naturally means less healthy skin, so taking them in the form of supplements or using skincare products containing them may help to support eczema prone skin.
These types of products and supplements help to rebuild damaged skin cells and in turn help to support the structure of the skin better. They can also help to prevent the dry, rough skin that is so common in eczema sufferers, especially in the winter when the weather can ravage the skin so much more.
Collagen also helps the skin to repair quicker, so if your eczema causes broken skin that can become sore and infected, a collagen supplement could benefit you.
Glutamine is an amino acid that can help if you have, or suspect you may have, a condition known as leaky gut. A leaky gut means that you’re unable to absorb nutrients from your food properly and as a consequence, other aspects of your health suffer, including the health of your skin.
You’ll find glutamine in homemade or shop bought bone broths, or as a supplement in tablet form.
Quercetin is a type of antioxidant called a flavonoid found naturally in green tea, kale, broccoli, tomatoes and blueberries. It helps the body fight chronic inflammation which in turn can help to support skin health, particularly so in eczema prone skin.
This antioxidant is also capable of blocking the action of cells of the immune system called mast cells that are responsible for inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema. This stops the release of chemicals that cause inflammation. Quercetin supplements for eczema could therefore be extremely useful.
The mineral zinc plays an important role in the overall health of our skin. Beans and pulses are a great source of zinc.
Meat and dairy products are also rich in zinc, but we advise minimising your intake of acidic foods such as these in favour of a more alkaline diet rich in vegetables and plant proteins.
Studies have found that zinc could be especially beneficial for anyone experiencing an inflammatory skin condition such as acne or eczema.
Best known as a supplement for promoting regular sleep patterns, melatonin is now showing promise as a supplement that may help manage eczema.
Studies show that it can help to reduce inflammation, helping to calm down the symptoms of eczema.
The Best Natural Supplements for Eczema Prone Skin
Skin supplements for eczema vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s often a case of trial and error to see which supplement or combination of supplements may work for you.
It’s advised that any supplement is taken for three months (unless otherwise indicated) for you to tell if it’s going to make a difference.
At Sönd, we believe in a whole body, holistic approach to managing eczema prone skin. This includes taking skin supporting supplements to help nourish your skin from the inside and consuming a mostly alkaline diet.
We also believe in the power of our alkalising skincare products that we developed specifically for hydrating and nourishing problem skin. With a skincare regime that involves internal and external support, we hope that you find solace in having eczema prone skin and that you can keep your flare ups at bay.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.