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Eczema: Does Vitamin B12 Have Effects?

Eczema is a non-contagious skin disease that can significantly impact the quality of life of those who suffer from it. It is particularly responsible for red patches on the skin and intense itching. Could vitamin B12, when incorporated into certain soothing cosmetics, have an effect on eczema?

Published June 19, 2024, updated on June 19, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Does Vitamin B12 have benefits for people suffering from eczema?

Affecting approximately 4% of the population, eczema is the second most common skin disease in France, following acne. This skin inflammation is characterized by redness, or erythema, accompanied by intense itching. Eczema patches can progress, depending on the severity of the condition. They may notably present blisters or thicken and dry out, thereby creating painful cracks. Eczema can be of genetic origin (atopic dermatitis), occur following a contact allergy, or result from simple irritation. Contrary to some misconceptions, eczema is not a contagious disease.

To alleviate outbreaks of eczema, dermatologists often prescribe cortisone-based creams, a potent anti-inflammatory. In addition, it is possible to turn to cosmetic actives such as the vitamin B12. This fat-soluble molecule synthesized by certain bacteria indeed has interesting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to counter eczema. The double bonds present in the chemical structure of vitamin B12 allow it to donate an electron to free radicals before they activate certain nuclear factors and lead to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, molecules involved in the pathogenesis of eczema.

Vitamin B12 can also directly influence the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the T lymphocytes of the immune system. By inhibiting this process, it limits the occurrence of redness and the characteristic itching of eczema. Studies in vitro have also shown that vitamin B12 can reduce the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule that increases the dilation of blood vessels and is involved in various inflammatory processes. High levels of NO have indeed been found in eczematous lesions, proving the existing link between the molecule and the skin condition.

These various mechanisms of action have led several scientists to study the tangible effects of vitamin B12 on eczema during clinical trials, conducted with volunteers affected by this disease. These studies were done by comparing the SCORAD (Scoring Atopic Dermatitis) or the SASSAD (Six Area, Six Sign Atopic Dermatitis) before and after treatment. These are two clinical tools used to assess the severity of eczema, taking into account a wide range of criteria, such as the severity of lesions, the intensity of itching, and the impact of the disease on sleep, daily activities, and mood. The table below summarizes the results obtained from 3 studies.

StudyPanel of VolunteersProgression of the StudyResults
ALTMEYER & al. (2004)48 adultsApplication of a cream containing 0.07% Vitamin B12 and a placebo cream twice daily for eight weeksAverage improvement of 45% in SASSAD for the cream with Vitamin B12, compared to 30% for the placebo cream
JANUCHOWSKI & al. (2009)26 childrenApplication of a cream containing 0.07% Vitamin B12 and a placebo cream twice daily for four weeksAn average improvement of 34% in SCORAD was observed for the cream containing Vitamin B12, compared to 12% for the placebo cream
NISTICO & al. (2017)44 adultsApplication of a cream containing 0.07% Vitamin B12 twice daily for twelve weeks for half of the participants, and a placebo cream for the other halfAn average improvement of 81% in SCORAD was observed for the cream containing Vitamin B12, compared to 22% for the placebo cream
Études cliniques s'intéressant aux effets de la vitamine B12 sur l'eczéma.

The results seem to indicate that topical application of vitamin B12 could have real benefits in the case of eczema. Despite this, it is important to emphasize that this active ingredient is not a miracle cure and its effectiveness varies from person to person and depending on how it is formulated. Studies indeed show a certain heterogeneity of results, even though they all used an identical percentage of vitamin B12.

If you are suffering from eczema or another inflammatory skin disease, it is important to follow the recommendations of your dermatologist.


  • ALTMEYER P. & al. Topical Vitamin B12 - A Novel Treatment Method for Atopic Dermatitis - Assessment of Efficacy and Tolerance in a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Clinical Study. British Journal of Dermatology (2004).

  • JANUCHOWSKI R. & al. Assessment of Topical Vitamin B12 for the Treatment of Childhood Eczema. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2009).

  • DAVLUY S. & al. A Review of Vitamin B12 in Dermatology. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2015).

  • NISTICO S. & al. Superiority of a vitamin B12-barrier cream compared to a standard glycerol-petrolatum-based emollient cream in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: A randomized, left-to-right comparative trial. Dermatologic Therapy (2017).


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