Vitamin B12 and Eczema

April 18, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

One of the more difficult things for a parent to endure is seeing a child suffer from a chronic condition. It’s especially hard if the condition affects the skin, which often attracts unwanted attention and can cause psychological distress as well.

Eczema is one of the most common skin disorders in young children and some adults. It may affect as many as 20% of children in the USA. Eczema is defined by an irritation and swelling of the skin that frequently involves extreme dryness and itchiness.

There are conventional treatments available for eczema, but they carry the risk of serious side effects. One reason is the need for long term term treatment, as eczema is incurable. In addition, the condition frequently covers large areas of skin, thereby necessitating large amounts of medication.

Eczema Triggers

The April 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine provides a viable and safe alternative to the potentially dangerous drugs that are in use today. A trial was set up to investigate the efficacy of a Vitamin B12 cream in the treatment of children with atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Twenty-one patients with ages ranging from 6 months to 18 years enrolled in this 4 week trial. Each volunteer applied either a Vitamin B12 cream or a placebo cream to symptomatic areas on opposite sides of their bodies. For instance, the B12 cream was only applied to the right side and the placebo was exclusively used to treat the left side. This allowed for a comparison model for the two treatments.

At the end of weeks 2 and 4, an investigator performed skin checks using a “standardized scoring system”. The findings were expressed in this manner, “Skin treated with topical vitamin B(12) improved significantly more than placebo treated skin at 2 and 4 weeks. Topical vitamin B(12) should be considered as a treatment option in children with eczema.”

In May of 2004 another study was presented in the British Journal of Dermatology. It was a larger experiment that focused on adults with eczema. In it, 49 participants applied a Vitamin B12 cream or a placebo cream to opposite sides of their bodies. They did so for a total of 8 weeks.

Those applying the B12 cream noted a 55% improvement in their eczema symptoms. When the volunteers were asked to describe the effects of both creams, in most cases they evaluated the B12 cream as being “good” and “very good”. The placebo cream was generally described as being of “moderate” use or providing “poor” results. Based on symptom regression and patient feedback, the researchers concluded that, “These results document a significant superiority of vitamin B(12) cream in comparison with placebo with regard to the reduction of the extent and severity of atopic dermatitis. Furthermore, the treatment was very well tolerated and involved only very low safety risks for the patients.”

It appears that other severe and chronic skin maladies are receptive to topical B12 treatment as well. In 2001, a study was described in the journal Dermatology. This time the focus of the scientific inquiry was the management of chronic plaque psoriasis with an avocado oil and B12 cream.

Instead of a placebo, a Vitamin D based medication was compared to the B12 cream. Vitamin D analogs have been traditionally used with some success in managing the symptoms of psoriasis. Exposure to natural sunlight, which the skin uses to produce Vitamin D, is also known to benefit some psoriasis sufferers.

Over the course of 12 weeks, 13 female and male volunteers were provided both treatments. Once again, the investigators utilized a “right/left side comparison technique” to determine the respective effects of each type of treatment.

The Vitamin D based medication brought about quicker results, but they tended to fade after 8 weeks. The avocado oil/B12 cream’s positive effects remained constant throughout the 12 week period, and both the patients and the investigators found that it was better tolerated. Because of the more consistent therapeutic effect and greater tolerability, the B12 topical was considered better suited for the “long-term treatment of psoriasis.”

Food Allergies and Eczema
% of Children with Asthma or Other Allergic Conditions in 2007

It’s great to know that there are safe and natural topical treatments that can help reduce the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. But it’s important to remember that what you put into your body can also have a profound effect on the condition of your skin. In particular, food allergies and sensitivities, an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system and a lack of healthy fats in your diet can all contribute to the worsening of skin conditions such as eczema. If we only approach skin disorders from the outside in, we’re missing a big part of the picture.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Children's Health, Nutritional Supplements

18 Comments & Updates to “Vitamin B12 and Eczema”

  1. MC Says:

    can we buy vitamin B12 cream in local pharmacies?
    what are the brands?

  2. JP Says:


    Vitamin B12 creams can be made by compounding pharmacies.

    Be well!


  3. MC Says:

    Hi JC

    Quick reply thanks!
    You’d think I can make my own B12 cream by compounding the B12 tablets into my own choice of moisturizing cream? 🙂

  4. JP Says:


    I’m afraid it’s not so simple. B12 capsules and tablets contain binding agents and fillers. It would probably be best to buy a compounded cream or lotion that can be formulated to contain an appropriate percentage of B12. It’ll be more expensive to be sure. But hopefully it’ll also be worth it.

    Be well!


  5. helen Says:

    I have a b12 serum (drops). Can I add some to any of my body creams and it will be effective in treating the eczema? If so how much do i add to how much cream?

  6. helen Says:

    Would adding b12 in liquid form to any body cream be effective in treating my skin problem? If so, how much b12 to how much cream?

  7. JP Says:


    It probably depends on what other (inactive) ingredients are also contained in the B12 liquid. Such products often contain added colors, flavors and sweeteners.

    The amount of B12 used in the study was minute .07%.

    Be well!


  8. Arlene Wilson Says:

    That was cute. (smiles)

  9. Arlene Wilson Says:


  10. Arlene Wilson Says:

    hOW DO i FIND B12 for my skin and scalp? Please advise.
    Thanks again

  11. Jessica Says:

    this is Jessica from the Philippines.
    i just want to ask if psoriasis on scalp can be treated by natural remedies? or, should i consult the dermatologist first?
    thank you in advance.

  12. Jessica Says:

    do i need to take some vitamins/supplements to prevent this type ok skin problems? if it is, then, what supplements i should take?

  13. JP Says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I suggest consulting with a dermatologist first – preferably one that is skilled in using natural remedies. In addition, this recent column of mine may be of value:

    Be well!


  14. RC Says:

    I have struggled with eczema on my face for 12 years. I started using B12 cream 7 days ago and have not had a flare. This is miraculous because by now I would have flared at least twice in a 7 day period. You tell your Derm. you need an RX sent to a compounding pharmacy to make this:

    RX for 0.07% Cyanocobalamin topical cream for Eczema

    It’s that simple. I feel better than I have for 12 years. Try it. It may help you too.

  15. JP Says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, RC! I wish you continued success.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Update: More support for natural topical preparations …

    Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014 Nov 11;7:321-7.

    A cosmeceutical formulation based on boswellic acids for the treatment of erythematous eczema and psoriasis.

    BACKGROUND: Boswellic acids (BAs) show anti-inflammatory properties in a variety of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma. A topical administration route is currently used to deliver active compounds in psoriatic and eczematous patients. In this double-blind study we compare a novel BA formulation (containing Bosexil(®), INCI [International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients]: lecithin, Boswellia serrata resin extract) with a placebo formulation. A third arm of the trial received a formulation of Vaccinium myrtillus seed oil, previously demonstrated as an effective local treatment for psoriatic lesions.

    METHODS: Patients with psoriasis or erythematous eczema were randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, to Bosexil(®), V. myrtillus seed oil, or placebo. In order to evaluate the effects of treatment, the changes of scales and erythema from diagnosis to the end of treatment were scored in psoriatic patients, while changes in itch and erythema were analyzed for erythematous eczema patients. Psoriasis Area Severity Index and Eczema Area and Severity Index scores were also calculated.

    RESULTS: In patients with psoriasis, scales and erythema improved both with Bosexil(®) and the V. myrtillus seed oil treatment in comparison with placebo. In particular, the treatment with Bosexil(®) formulation improved scales (70% of cases) and erythema (50% of cases) without any case of worsening. In patients with eczema, the administration of placebo did not result in any improvement in 90% of cases, and in the remaining 10% worsened both itch and erythema. Bosexil(®) formulation improved both itch (60% of cases) and erythema (60% of cases) without any case of worsening. V. myrtillus seed oil improved itch and erythema in 66.7% and 77.8% of patients, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: A topical formulation of Bosexil(®) may be promising for the treatment of psoriasis and erythematous eczema. Long-term studies are recommended to evaluate the adherence to this topical treatment and its clinical benefits in real life.

    Be well!


  17. JP Says:

    Updated 12/17/15:

    J Dermatolog Treat. 2015 Dec 10:1-4.

    β-Glucan-based cream (containing pleuran isolated from pleurotus ostreatus) in supportive treatment of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis.

    BACKGROUND: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases with serious impact on quality of life. β-Glucans are natural substances with potent immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity.

    METHODS: In a multicentre open split-body study, we studied the effect of Imunoglukan P4H® cream in a group of 105 patients with AD (39 males, 37%). Evaluation of subjective (visual analogue scale, VAS) and objective (EASI score, eczema area and severity index) characteristics of AD was carried out.

    RESULTS: In total, 80 patients (76.2%) completed the study. Topical β-glucan application resulted in the significant improvement of both objective and subjective symptoms of AD. On the application side, significant decline in the number of days with AD exacerbation and its severity was observed. Moreover, the subjects experienced decline of pruritus on the β-glucan half of the body (VAS score: 1.68 vs. 1.95, p < 0.001). During the study, the continual and significant decline of EASI scores on the site of β-glucan application was observed (V4: 1.57 vs. 1.85, p < 0.001). The preparation was in general well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study evaluating and confirming the potential use of β-glucan-based cream as a supportive complementary therapy of atopic dermatitis. Be well! JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 05/13/16:

    JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Jan;170(1):35-42.

    Melatonin Supplementation for Children With Atopic Dermatitis and Sleep Disturbance: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

    IMPORTANCE: Sleep disturbance is common in children with atopic dermatitis (AD), but effective clinical management for this problem is lacking. Reduced levels of nocturnal melatonin were found to be associated with sleep disturbance and increased disease severity in children with AD. Melatonin also has sleep-inducing and anti-inflammatory properties and therefore might be useful for the management of AD.

    OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of melatonin supplementation for improving the sleep disturbance and severity of disease in children with AD.

    DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This randomized clinical trial used a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design to study 73 children and adolescents aged 1 to 18 years with physician-diagnosed AD involving at least 5% of the total body surface area. The study was conducted at the pediatric department of a large tertiary care hospital in Taiwan from August 1, 2012, through January 31, 2013. Forty-eight children were randomized 1:1 to melatonin or placebo treatment, and 38 of these (79%) completed the cross-over period of the trial. Final follow-up occurred on April 13, 2013, and data were analyzed from January 27 to April 25, 2014. Analyses were based on intention to treat.

    INTERVENTIONS: Melatonin, 3 mg/d, or placebo for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week washout period and then crossover to the alternate treatment for 4 weeks.

    MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was AD severity evaluated using the Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index, with scores ranging from 0 to 103 and greater scores indicating worse symptoms. Secondary outcomes included sleep variables measured by actigraphy, subjective change in sleep and dermatitis, sleep variables measured by polysomnography, nocturnal urinary levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, and serum IgE levels.

    RESULTS: After melatonin treatment among the 48 children included in the study, the SCORAD index decreased by 9.1 compared with after placebo (95% CI, -13.7 to -4.6; P < .001), from a mean (SD) of 49.1 (24.3) to 40.2 (20.9). Moreover, the sleep-onset latency shortened by 21.4 minutes after melatonin treatment compared with after placebo (95% CI, -38.6 to -4.2; P = .02). The improvement in the SCORAD index did not correlate significantly with the change in sleep-onset latency (r = -0.04; P = .85). No patient withdrew owing to adverse events, and no adverse event was reported throughout the study. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Melatonin supplementation is a safe and effective way to improve the sleep-onset latency and disease severity in children with AD. Be well! JP

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