Topical micronutrients in atopic dermatitis-An evidence-based review

Dermatol Ther. 2018 Sep;31(5):e12659. doi: 10.1111/dth.12659. Epub 2018 Jul 17.


The role of dietary factors is an important and controversial topic in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis (AD). Despite the preponderance of consumer products utilizing oral micronutrients supplementation for relief AD symptoms, less attention has been paid on the utility of topical micronutrients, specifically for individuals with AD. We review evidence on topical formulations of vitamins (A, B, C, D, and E) and trace minerals (magnesium, manganese, zinc, and iodine) for treatment of AD. While topical B, C, and E formulations appear to provide some benefit to AD individuals, topical vitamin A has no utility, and topical vitamin D may exacerbate symptoms. Magnesium, zinc, and iodine all appear to improve AD through anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, though future studies must evaluate their use as monotherapy. The exposition of the effects that topical micronutrients have on AD offers an adjuvant treatment modality for this common inflammatory dermatosis.

Keywords: atopic dermatitis, micronutrients, minerals, topical therapy, vitamins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / therapeutic use
  • Manganese / therapeutic use
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage
  • Trace Elements / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid