Rubbing vitamin E creams, lotions, or oil on acne scars is becoming popular among natural skin care enthusiasts (1). Some also believe that the antioxidant properties of vitamin E may help heal scars. But research is mixed.
Can you use vitamin E for reducing scars? Would it be safe? Here, we discuss the effectiveness and safety of using vitamin E oil on scars. We will also look at the potential benefits of the oil and how you can prepare some at your home. Keep reading.
In This Article
What Is Vitamin E?
- Wheat germ oil
- Sunflower seeds (dry roasted)
- Almonds (dry roasted)
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
- Hazelnuts (dry roasted)
- Peanut butter
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Kiwi fruit
There are eight chemical forms of vitamin E. However, the most commonly-used derivatives in skin care products are tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol (2). The vitamin E in your favorite moisturizer, serum, or lotion usually appears as tocopherol on the ingredients list.
We will understand in the next section if vitamin E oil is actually effective for reducing scars.
Is Vitamin E Oil Effective In Reducing Scars?
Some research claims that vitamin E may have a significant improvement in the cosmetic appearance of scars (1). However, in another study, topical application of vitamin E had not improved scar appearance. It instead had led to a high incidence of contact dermatitis (4).
Research on how vitamin E can be used to treat scars is inconclusive at this point. But this powerful ingredient has been actively in use for over 50 years in dermatology. It is essential for the basic maintenance of the human body (1), (3).
Vitamin E oil may have some benefit on scars. Though research is mixed, it is important to know how this oil may help.
Benefits Of Using Natural Vitamin E Oil On Scars
1. May Offer Antioxidant Properties
Vitamin E protects the body from UV radiation and air pollution by acting as a free-radical scavenger and delaying the aging process (5). It can destroy free radicals that otherwise cause DNA damage, reduce skin proteins, and negatively affect connective tissues and cell membranes.
2. Possesses Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Vitamin E oil is rich in anti-inflammatory properties (7). It may strengthen the skin’s barrier function and soothe the skin. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the oil may also calm irritated skin and nourish it deeply.
3. May Help Nourish Dry, Stretched Skin
Vitamin E may promote skin hydration and nourish dry skin (8). You also may use a moisturizer containing vitamin E oil to potentially treat scars. However, conduct a patch test to check if you are allergic to vitamin E.
Information on the effectiveness of vitamin E oil on reducing scars is limited. But the oil sure may have some overall benefit for skin.
In the following section, we will discuss how you can use vitamin E oil on your scars.
DIY Steps For Using A Plant-Based Vitamin E Oil On Your Scars
Using vitamin E on scars doesn’t seem to cause any harm. Here’s how you can do it:
- Clean your scar area with a bar of mild soap to get rid of any bacteria/dirt.
- Gently apply a few drops of vitamin E oil on the scar area and massage in circular motions for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat twice a day.
- Continue to massage until the oil is absorbed.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Do not apply the oil on an open scar/wound.
- Do not expose your scar to the sun.
- Always apply sunscreen when you step out.
- Avoid applying excess pressure on the scar. Massage gently.
As we saw, the effectiveness of vitamin E oil on treating scars is yet to be established. But there are other techniques and cosmetic procedures that may help treat scars. Let us take a look at them.
Other Healing Techniques, Remedies, And Cosmetic Procedures For Scar Treatment
- Silicone Sheets
These are soft and flexible self-adhesive dressings you can apply over scars (9). The silicone helps hydrate the scar tissue, lowers collagen production, and eventually flattens the scar tissue to make it fade away. You can use silicone sheets for 12 hours a day for 3 months to see the desired results.
Massaging the scar may reduce and soften its appearance, though more information is warranted to confirm this claim. A gentle massage is said to lower the associated pain, itching, and sensitivity.
Massage the scar for about 5 minutes at least 3 to 4 times a day. Consult a scar specialist to understand how to massage the scar accurately.
- Derma Rolling
Derma rolling is a procedure where the dermatologist rolls tiny needles over the skin’s surface. This procedure tries inducing tiny injuries to the skin to enable it to self-heal and eventually improve scar appearance. In a study, derma rolling could improve the appearance of acne scars after three months of treatment (10).
- Laser Therapy
This procedure uses light to target the blood vessels that otherwise make scars appear inflamed (11). Laser therapy may boost collagen production and lower pitting. However, more research is needed to conclusively prove the efficacy of laser therapy in scar management.
- Dermal Fillers
This is a temporary scar treatment where dermal fillers or injections are injected to make the skin plump. Doing this may eventually lower the appearance of pitted scars (12).
Cryotherapy involves freezing keloid scars to stop them from growing and help flatten them (13). It uses liquid nitrogen to lighten the skin in the surrounding area.
How Long Do Scars Take To Fade?
Most scars fade away with time, depending on the injury severity. The ones that do not fade away are most likely to be permanent.
Fine-line scars caused by injuries such as cuts or surgical incisions may flatten and fade within two years.
Other types of scars, such as hypertrophic scars, may take much longer to fade.
However, information in this regard is very limited. Consult your dermatologist for more details.
Vitamin E oil appears to be a harmless treatment for scars. While it is not guaranteed to treat scars, it sure may promote skin health in other ways. But does this mean anyone can use vitamin E oil?
Vitamin E Oil For Skin: Who Can Use And Who Should Avoid
Vitamin E is generally well-tolerated when applied topically. However, practice caution if you have extremely sensitive, oily, or acne-prone skin. Speak to your dermatologist before using vitamin E as it may cause skin irritation and redness in some.
Vitamin E is believed to help reduce the appearance of scars. However, there is little scientific evidence to prove its efficacy. But the oil may promote overall skin health. It is present in several natural foods like nuts, green leafy vegetables, sunflower oil, seeds, etc.
Using the oil is usually safe. But speak to your dermatologist and understand the best way to use it. The right information can give you lasting results.
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- The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management: A Systematic Review
- Vitamin E in dermatology
- Vitamin E
- The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars
- Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging
- Long- and short-term effects of vitamin E administration along with stress on skin tissues of mice
- The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin
- Influence of vitamin E acetate on stratum corneum hydration
- The Use of Silicone Adhesives for Scar Reduction
- Efficacy of a needling device for the treatment of acne scars: a randomized clinical trial
- Laser Scar Management Technique
- Fillers for the improvement in acne scars
- Intralesional cryotherapy for hypertrophic scars and keloids: a review