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Uses

  • Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema is irritation to the outer layers of the skin. It causes an itchy, red rash. Scratching makes the rash worse.

It is treated with skin care, medicines, and UV light therapy. Some people turn to natural therapies to further manage symptoms.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

  • Vitamin D is in foods, pills, and can be made by our bodies using sunlight. It is likely to ease symptoms of eczema, especially in winter. D1

May Be Effective

  • Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of coconuts. It may ease symptoms of eczema when applied to the skin. A1
  • Vitamin E is in foods and can be taken as a pill. It may ease symptoms of eczema when taken as a pill. D1, D3-D6

May Not Be Effective

  • Chinese herbal medicine uses herbs to bring balance and harmony to the body. It may not ease symptoms of eczema. B1-B3
  • Probiotics are live microorganisms. Recent studies show that they may not help ease symptoms of eczema. (Note: Probiotics should not be taken by people who have a suppressed immune system or acute pancreatitis.) C1-C19

Unlikely to Be Effective

  • Primrose oil is from a flowering plant. It has not been shown to ease symptoms. D2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions. Some supplements discussed here have certain concerns such as:

  • Probiotics should not be taken by people who have a suppressed immune system or acute pancreatitis.

References

Coconut Oil

REFA1 Evangelista MT, Abad-Casintahan F, et al. The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. Int J Dermatol. 2014 Jan;53(1):100-108.

Herbs

REFB1 Cheng HM, Chiang LC, et al. The efficacy and safety of a Chinese herbal product (Xiao-Feng-San) for the treatment of refractory atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2011;155(2):141-148.

REFB2 Gu S, Yang AW, et al. Chinese herbal medicine for atopic eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Sep 10;(9):CD008642.

REFB3 Gu S, Yang AW, et al. Topical application of Chinese herbal medicine for atopic eczema: a systematic review with a meta-analysis. Dermatology. 2014;228(4):294-302.

Probiotics

REFC1 Michail SK, Stolfi A, et al. Efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Nov;101(5):508-516.

REFC2 Gerasimov SV, Vasjuta VV, et al. Probiotic supplement reduces atopic dermatitis in preschool children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11(5):351-361.

REFC3 Woo SI, Kim JY, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus sakei supplementation in children with atopic eczema-dermatitis syndrome. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010 Apr;104(4):343-348.

REFC4 Drago L, Iemoli E, et al. Effects of Lactobacillus salivarius LS01 (DSM 22775) treatment on adult atopic dermatitis: a randomized placebo-controlled study. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2011 Oct-Dec;24(4):1037-1048.

REFC5 Wu KG, Li TH, et al. Lactobacillus salivarius plus fructo-oligosaccharide is superior to fructo-oligosaccharide alone for treating children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis: a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial of efficacy and safety. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Jan;166(1):129-136.

REFC6 Drago L, Toscano M, et al. Changing of fecal flora and clinical effect of L. salivarius LS01 in adults with atopic dermatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;46 Suppl:S56-63.

REFC7 Iemoli E, Trabattoni D, et al. Probiotics reduce gut microbial translocation and improve adult atopic dermatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;46 Suppl:S33-40.

REFC8 Han Y, Kim B, et al. A randomized trial of Lactobacillus plantarum CJLP133 for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Nov;23(7):667-673.

REFC9 Kim, SO, Ah YM, et al. Effects of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014 Aug;113(2):217-226.

REFC10 Allen SJ, Jordan S, et al. Probiotics in the prevention of eczema: a randomised controlled trial. Arch Dis Child. 2014 Nov;99(11):1014-1019.

REFC11 Cuello-Garcia CA, Brożek JL, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of allergy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Oct;136(4):952-961.

REFC12 Zuccotti G, Meneghin F, et al. Probiotics for prevention of atopic diseases in infants: systematic review and meta-analysis. Allergy. 2015 Nov;70(11):1356-1371.

REFC13 Cabana MD, McKean M, et al. Early Probiotic Supplementation for Eczema and Asthma Prevention: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. 2017 Sep;140(3). pii: e20163000.

REFC14 Huang R, Ning H, et al. Probiotics for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017 Sep 6;7:392.

REFC15 Wu YJ, Wu WF, et al. Evaluation of efficacy and safety of Lactobacillus rhamnosus in children aged 4-48 months with atopic dermatitis: An 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2017 Oct;50(5):684-692.

REFC16 Wickens K, Barthow C, et al. Maternal supplementation alone with Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 during pregnancy and breastfeeding does not reduce infant eczema. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2018 May;29(3):296-302.

REFC17 Zhao M, Shen C, et al. Treatment efficacy of probiotics on atopic dermatitis, zooming in on infants: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2018 Jun;57(6):635-641.

REFC18 Szajewska H, Horvath A. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in the Primary Prevention of Eczema in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018 Sep 18;10(9). pii: E1319.

REFC19 Makrgeorgou A, Leonardi-Bee J, et al. Probiotics for treating eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Nov 21;11:CD006135.

Supplements

REFD1 Javanbakht MH, Keshavarz SA, et al. Randomized controlled trial using vitamins E and D supplementation in atopic dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat. 2011 Jun;22(3):144-150.

REFD2 Bamford JT, Ray S, et al. Oral evening primrose oil and borage oil for eczema. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30;(4):CD004416.

REFD3 Camargo CA Jr, Ganmaa D, et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation for winter-related atopic dermatitis in children. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Oct;134(4):831-835.e1.

REFD4 Kim G, Bae JH. Vitamin D and atopic dermatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2016 Sep;32(9):913-920.

REFD5 Kim MJ, Kim SN, et al. Vitamin D Status and Efficacy of Vitamin D Supplementation in Atopic Dermatitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2016 Dec 3;8(12). pii: E789.

REFD6 Sánchez-Armendáriz K, García-Gil A, et al. Oral vitamin D3 5000 IU/day as an adjuvant in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: a randomized control trial. Int J Dermatol. 2018 Dec;57(12):1516-1520.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board
  • Review Date: 05/2019
  • Update Date: 06/14/2019