News & Research

Eczema Research News – More Sun and Vitamin D?

Does the Sun help? And is more sun good for eczema child? or bad?
Does the Sun help? And is more sun good for eczema child? or bad?

Today’s topic is on Vitamin D, should we need more Sunshine? Sunshine has been covered in this blog, but mostly to understand whether we need sunscreen (answer is yes!) and what types of sunscreen and how to apply. Tips on sun protection from renowned dermatologists have been shared, such as

Protecting Skin – by Dr Ava Shamban

Common Skin Rash in Children – Sunburn – by Dr Robin Shaffran

AAD Skincare Video for Eczema – by Dr Joshua Zeichner

AAD Skinccare Video – Sunscreen – by Dr Sonia Badreshia-Bansal 

Children Skin Conditions – by Dr Lynn Chiam

There is much talk about whether sun is good for our children with eczema, and there are some companies that recommend Vitamin D products (be it skincare or oral supplement). What we know about the sun and our skin is

  1. A child’s skin is thinner and thus more susceptible to harmful effects of ultraviolet light, such as sunburn and skin cancer.
  2. UV light is required for the skin to synthesize Vitamin D; vitamin D that comes from sunlight has been shown to increase the production of skin proteins (cathelicidin) and antimicrobial peptide (AMP) which protects against skin infection.
  3. For eczema patients, sun exposure is drying for skin and can aggravate eczema, esp. flare-up.

No wonder there is so much controversy on sunshine and vitamin D; in line with this Eczema Research News series, below are the studies from 2013 onward of the efficacy of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema) in children, more severe eczema (here, here)

Increased sun exposure during summer holidays associated with reduced eczema, but not related to Vitamin D level (here)

Children living in hot and humid climate have more eczema flare-ups (here), but contradicted with this study

Vitamin D has some protective function for food allergy in infants (here)

What age Vitamin D supplement is given, and in what form (soluble or tablet) may alleviate or worsen allergic diseases – as to which is best is still unknown (here), no conclusive evidence (here)

Updating with study in Nov 2014 – where 186 children were regularly followed up at clinics for a four-year follow-up period. Low cord blood Vit D levels were associated with higher risk of food sensitization throughout childhood. Cord blood Vit D levels were inversely associated with the risk of milk sensitization at age 2, at which age a higher prevalence of milk sensitization was significantly associated with the risk of allergic rhinitis and asthma development at age 4.

Have anyone tried any Vitamin D related treatment? Do share in the comments, thank you!

5 replies on “Eczema Research News – More Sun and Vitamin D?”

I think if your eczema reduces during sun exposure then there is no harm in taking vitamin d3 supplements. But I think every one is different…

My eczema was extremely flared and when I stopped using steroids due to their negative side effects, my only relief was the sun. A week away (I live in the UK hence going away makes a difference! ) and my flare up would completely calm and I could sleep again. My parents would take me away in holiday as a teenager to give me that relief. ..

Now I came across vitamin d3 supplements and cannot believe I haven’t found them before.

There is research but because eczema is so different for each individual I think its depends on your background as to what will work for you.

But if sun exposure helps, I’d recommend vitamin d3. I’ve written a post on it in my blog.

Thank you both for dropping by! It is glad to know that some eczema patients have improved their condition the ‘natural’ way 🙂 On the other hand, for those with kids who scratch and have eczema flare-ups, I do suggest visiting a pediatric specialist (in skin, allergy, immunology) as treatment is needed to reduce risk of infection that untreated eczema with frequent scratching can result in. I suppose it can be approached holistically – i.e. treatment, diet, lifestyle 🙂 Bear in mind that eczema is a defective skin barrier condition, and not all the time linked to food.
Have a good week!

You raise some interesting points about relevance of vitamin D in helping and improving eczema – seems like the research has been inconclusive – but like Dr Sandy recommends in her comment, supplements would be an answer for those of us who suffer with eczema especially as the sun can be dehydrating for our skin condition, and the application of sunscreen might further aggravate and already hyperactive skin.

Take home message – anyone who is battling autoimmune issues should ensure they have adequate levels of vitamin D. The T cells that regulate the immune system, the T regs, need vitamin D to get their game on. Spending time “under the sun” is first prize, but if this is not an option, then a supplement is a good plan B.

Your sharing will help others!