Vitamin E & Scar Healing
Many skin products contain Vitamin E to help with scars and skin health. Some believe that this may be due to Vitamin E's role as an antioxidant. However, studies have not shown evidence that Vitamin E is effective at reducing scar tissue.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

Key Points

Vitamin E & Scarring
The Theory: Antioxidants
Many skin products contain Vitamin E to help with scars and skin health. Some believe that this may be due to Vitamin E's role as an antioxidant.
2. Actual Effectiveness: Not Very
However, studies have not shown evidence that Vitamin E is effective at reducing scar tissue.
3. Actual Risks: Some
One consistent finding is that vitamin E, when applied in high concentrations, can cause side effects, in particular rashes.

Background

Vitamin E & Scar Tissue
The Basics
Key Facts
Vitamin E
The Basics
Key Facts
  • Type
    Fat Soluble
  • Other Names
    α-tocopherol
  • Sources
    Diet, Liver
Appearance
Uses:

Antioxidant

Inflammation

Immunity

Vitamin E
Key Facts
Amount per day

15mg

Source: Institute of Medicine

Types of Foods

Nuts & Seeds

Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and almonds

Deficiency

Rare in healthy individuals

Effects of Vitamin E on Scar Tissue

One small trial showed that Vitamin E may not necessarily help with Scar Tissue.
12 Weeks of Vitamin E on a Scar

A small study found that Vitamin E did not help with scarring. Participants were given either Vitamin E in an ointment or Aquaphor. After 12 weeks, the remaining 10 participants did not show any benefits for Vitamin E.

Data Source

"This study shows that there is no benefit to the cosmetic outcome of scars by applying vitamin E after skin surgery and that the application of topical vitamin E may actually be detrimental to the cosmetic appearance of a scar. In 90% of the cases in this study, topical vitamin E either had no effect on, or actually worsened, the cosmetic appearance of scars. "

Source: The Effects of Topical Vitamin E on the Cosmetic Appearance of Scars

Risks of Vitamin E on the skin

Two separate studies have shown that Vitamin E may not help much with skin and scarring. It can however cause side effects.
Vitamin E & Scars

Two studies have shown that Vitamin E cream can lead to side effects if applied to skin at high concentrations.

Data Source

"Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis to the vitamin E. Therefore we conclude that use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds should be discouraged."

Source: The Effects of Topical Vitamin E on the Cosmetic Appearance of Scars

More Info

Topical Vitamin E

Topical Vitamin E:

"Topical application of vitamin E has been used in a wide variety of forms throughout history, ranging from the application of oils to the skin surface to the use of modern cosmetic formulations. "

Vitamin E & Skin

"The generation of free oxygen radicals is believed to play an important pathogenic role in the development of various disorders. More than other tissues, the skin is exposed to numerous environmental chemical and physical agents such as ultraviolet light causing oxidative stress. In the skin this results in several short- and long-term adverse effects such as erythema, edema, skin thickening, wrinkling, and an increased incidence of skin cancer or precursor lesions."

More Info:

Vitamin E & Contact Dermatitis

Vitamin E Rashes: Contact Dermatitis

"Contact dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin condition characterized by erythematous and pruritic skin lesions that occur after contact with a foreign substance. There are two forms of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic."