Vitamin E and Skin Reaction

Woman scratching her back isolated
A skin rash can occur from an allergy to vitamin E. (Image: Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images)

Taking vitamin E should not cause a skin reaction. If it does, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Drugs.com states that an allergic reaction to vitamin E can cause hives, which is a common symptom of anaphylactic shock, a rare but life-threatening medical condition. Taking too much of vitamin E can lead to serious complications. Most healthy people consume vitamin E in fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and vegetable oil. Call your doctor immediately if you develop a skin rash after taking a vitamin E supplement.

Cause

A skin reaction after taking vitamin E is the result of increased levels of histamine in the skin. Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that helps to protect it from infection and disease. Too much histamine causes irritation and inflammation in the skin, leading to common skin rashes. The body doesn’t recognize the vitamin E and begins to defend itself with IgE antibodies, according to MedlinePlus. These antibodies cause mast cells to produce histamine.

Types

An allergy to vitamin E can cause an outbreak of hives, dermatitis or a general itching and swelling of the skin. The mouth may become itchy or develop a tingling sensation. Dermatitis is a general term for eczema, a blister-like rash that is extremely itchy. Eczema forms patches of skin that are blistered, leathery and scaly. Severe cases of eczema can leave permanent scaring. Hives are welts that form in clusters that are reddish in color and are considered harmless, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

Diagnosis

If you develop a skin reaction after taking vitamin E supplements, your doctor may refer you to an allergist. An allergist will perform different tests to determine if you are allergic to the substance. Skin prick tests and blood test may be performed to observe the skin and blood for signs of an allergy, according to AAAAI. If you are diagnosed with an allergy to vitamin E, your doctor will recommend that you avoid consuming the supplement. She may also recommend modifying your diet.

Treatment

MedlinePllus states that common allergy symptoms may be treated with an oral antihistamine or a topical steroid cream for skin rashes. If these over-the-counter drugs do not work, talk to your doctor about other approaches.

Warning

A severe allergic reaction may occur, according to Drugs.com. Common symptoms of anaphylaxis are hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, rapid pulse and anxiety. Call 911 if these symptoms develop.

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