Eczema can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable, but treatments are available. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter remedies, vitamin B-6 may be helpful for some individuals. Before using B-6 for your eczema, talk with your health care provider about whether this is safe and appropriate for your situation.
Vitamin B-6, also called pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body convert food into energy and also helps with the metabolism of fats and proteins. Since the body does not store water-soluble vitamins, you need to consume them consistently to maintain adequate amounts. Dietary sources of B-6 include oatmeal, chicken, bananas, potatoes, salmon and peanut butter. This vitamin is important for healthy skin, hair and nails, and it works with other vitamins to promote healthy nervous system functioning.
Eczema is a general term for many kinds of skin irritations or itchy rashes. Skin conditions considered eczema include atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. All these cause itching and redness, and skin may peel or blister depending on the condition. Atopic dermatitis is the most common eczema, typically beginning in infancy; 65 percent of individuals with the condition are diagnosed within the first year of life, says the National Eczema Association. Treatment for eczemas usually includes topical steroids or other topical creams like anti-fungals, as well as new drugs like topical immunomodulators.
Effects of B-6 on Skin
B vitamins help keep the skin healthy, and if you are deficient in these vitamins, your skin may suffer. According to MerckManuals.com, a deficiency of vitamin B-6 may result in seborrheic dermatitis, a form of eczema. A 2011 study in "Pediatric Allergy and Immunology" looked at whether prenatal intake of B vitamins, including B-6, decreased the risk of eczema in infancy; no relationship was found, although more research needs to be done, according to the authors. Talk with your doctor about whether you may have a B-6 deficiency and whether this is causing your eczema before taking supplements.
Eczema may be caused by an allergic reaction or contact with an irritant, so see your doctor for an appropriate diagnosis for your eczema before self-treating. Talk with your doctor before taking vitamin B-6 supplements or using topical preparations for your eczema. These supplements can interact with various medications and cause adverse effects, and high doses of this vitamin can cause neurological problems and allergic skin reactions.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B6; Dr. Steven Ehrlich; June 2009
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B6
- "Pediatric Allergy and Immunology"; Maternal B Vitamin Intake During Pregnancy and Wheeze and Eczema in Japanese Infants Aged 16-24 Months: the Osaka Maternal and Child Health Study; Y Miyake et al.; 2011
- MerckManuals.com; Vitamin B6; Dr. Larry Johnson; April 2007