Vitamin B & a Burning Feeling on the Skin

Vitamin B actually refers to a family of eight essential vitamins. Though each B vitamin carries out distinct roles in your body, the B vitamins generally help turn carbohydrates from your diet into fuel for your cells and maintain your nervous system, skin and liver. Consuming too much or too little of each B vitamin can lead to a number of side effects, and two B vitamins have been linked to a burning sensation in your skin.

Taking her daily vitamins
A woman picking up a pill. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Niacin Flush

The most likely cause of a burning feeling in your skin after consuming B vitamins is a phenomenon called niacin flush, which occurs when you over-consume niacin, or vitamin B-3. A high dose of niacin leads to the dilation of the small blood vessels found throughout the surface of your skin. As a result, your skin can appear red, and you may experience a warming, tingling or slight burning of your skin.

Avoiding Niacin Flush

You can avoid niacin flush in many cases by consuming B-vitamin supplements in moderation. Pay attention to the dosage levels recommended by the vitamins' manufacturer, and consult a physician to better determine a dosage suited to your particular needs. You should also notify your doctor of any new supplement use, or changes in the dosage of any medication you may take, as both factors can affect your B-vitamin supplement requirements.

Treating Niacin Flush

In some cases, a high dose of niacin is required to help control an underlying condition -- for example, patients may take high doses of niacin to help control their cholesterol levels. You can help prevent burning in your skin due to niacin flush by taking aspirin along with your niacin supplement, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Over days or weeks, your body may adjust to your niacin dosage and become resistant to burning niacin flush.

Possible Role of Vitamin B-12

In rare causes, dangerously low levels of vitamin B-12 may cause an abnormal burning sensation in your skin. Severe vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to sensory neuropathy, or damage to the nervous tissue found throughout your body. This nerve damage usually causes numbness or tingling in your extremities, but it can also cause unexplained pain or a burning sensation. If you develop skin burning, seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause of the burning to help rule out the possibility of a harmful vitamin B-12 deficiency.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.