Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is defined as an inflammatory, chronic skin conditon, characterized by symptoms of thick, raised, cracked, and extremely itchy patches of skin, typically on the inner elbows, knees, wrists, neck, hands, feet, and face. Believed to be a immune-related condition, many eczema patients are treated by doctors who prescribe specific creams and medications (i.e., immunomodulating drugs and corticosteroids), and over the counter antihistamines. However, many eczema sufferers also find that making changes to their diets can help naturally reduce their eczema symptoms.
There have been numerous studies that link diets rich in antioxidants to soothing eczema symptoms, particularly when diets feature the specific antioxidant, vitamin E. Of course, you should always consult with your health care team before changing your diet, but here’s how vitamin E is shown to help benefit eczema patients:
1. Consuming vitamin E rich foods
Thankfully, it’s quite easy to increase the vitamin E in your diet by incorporating foods that contain tocopherol (i.e., leafy green veggies, natural peanut butter, seeds, and walnuts), as well as plant-based oils (i.e., corn oil, wheat germ oil, and sunflower oil). For instance, a mere tablespoon of wheat germ oil will provide 10% of the recommended daily value of beneficial vitamin E.
2. Topical vitamin e creams
There’s a good reason why many skin, hair, and nail care products feature vitamin E as an ingredient. This antioxidant when applied topically has been shown to soothe dry, inflamed skin and even decrease chronic atopic dermatitis flare ups. The science behind these claims is rooted in alpha-tocopherol, the natural form of vitamin E, which boosts immune function as well as red blood cell production to increase the healthy growth of new, rejuvenated skin cells.
3. Vitamin E supplementation
Research published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that vitamin E supplementation has shown some success in treating atopic dermatitis (AD). While studies remain ongoing, scientists believe that low doses of this powerful antioxidant (400 IU/daily) taken in supplement form can lower serum levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in patients with skin condition, like eczema, with very low to no negative side effects.