College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Health
Should you use Vitamin E for Scars?

Vincent Platania -- You'll find many people touting the use of vitamin E on scar tissue these days. They will often claim that it can make any kind of scar disappear within a few months. The honest truth is that vitamin E doesn't appear to help heal scar tissue.

In a 1999 study following patients after cancer surgery, doctors applied an ointment containing vitamin E to a part of the scar tissue and applied an ointment without the vitamin to the other half of the scar. The scar tissue healed at the same rate with both ointments and on a negative side the vitamin E ointment gave some patients contact dermatitis, which is red and itchy skin.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means that it snatches up free radicals, mostly in the skin, and transports them elsewhere for removal from the body. It also protects other antioxidants from oxidizing and becoming dangerous in the body, such as Vitamin A.

It is involved in the metabolism of cells, but doesn't change cells such as skin tissue. Therefore it should have no direct effect on the improved appearance of scar tissue when applied topically. It is a nice supplement for your skin in general and will help prevent damage caused by free radicals that leads to premature aging.

People who have gained a visual improvement to their skin from applying Vitamin E probably gained it due to the massaging motions of their fingers while rubbing in the oil. Scar tissue is actually skin tissue with a lot of collagen fibers in it. When a wound is healing the collagen served as a bridge connecting the skin. It is tough and firm, but scar tissue can be broken down with continuous regular massage.

Also Vitamin E is fat soluble and usually sold as an oil. The oil helps to soften skin tissue and makes it look better overall, if you don't have an allergic reaction to the vitamin E.

Unfortunately some people are genetically predisposed to getting scar tissue when a wound heals, while others are not. It may be that those who claim a benefit from applying the vitamin E are simply people who aren't genetically disposed towards developing scar tissue.

A good way to prevent scars is to avoid picking at a scab. This will tear at the collagen fibers and make the wound look worse. Make sure to keep your wound clean and covered with a Band-Aid or gauze. There is the idea that wounds heal better when left open to the air, but many kinds of wounds need moisture to heal and the air will simply dry it out. Also you may think about taking an oral vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C is involved with the creation of new skin tissue and this can help your wounds heal better.

Author Vincent Platania represents the Fuller Brush Company. Fuller Brush has been in business since 1906, and offers safe, environmentally friendly products for keeping your home and your body clean. Visit http://www.fuller-brush-products.com.

© 2006 Vincent Platania

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.