Physicians and surgeons have been recommending Vitamin E for scars for many years, but does that mean that it's truly an effective method for eliminating or lessening the appearance of scars?
Let's take a look at some of the research that has been conducted on this topic to see if you should head out to your local health food store for some Vitamin E to heal your scars.
One study was conducted over the course one year following surgical procedures to correct burned skin. The study was the largest ever conducted on this particular topic.
Results were published in The Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation in 1986. The group of 159 people was divided into two groups.
One of the groups was instructed to apply a cream to their scars. The cream did not contain any Vitamin E. The other group of people was instructed to apply Vitamin E directly to their scars.
What was the result? After one year of treatment, there wasn't really any noticeable difference in the scar appearance between the two groups.
Now, some critics of the study said that the topical applications took place too soon after surgery and still others said that a healthier dose of Vitamin E should have been applied to the scars to make a real difference.
Conclusion: Vitamin E doesn't seem to affect the appearance of scars even when applied directly to the scar.
University of Miami scientists conducted a study on the affects of Vitamin E on scars in 1999. They monitored several patients who had undergone surgery by giving the group of patients two separate topical ointments.
One ointment contained Vitamin E and the other did not, but the patients didn't know which one was which. Their instructions were to apply ointment A to half the scar and ointment B to the other half of the scar on a daily basis.
They did this for one month and then the scientists, patients, and one person not associated with the study previously, evaluated the appearance of their scars.
What happened? Nearly 1/3 of the patients experienced an adverse reaction to the topical ointment that contained the Vitamin E. The appearance of the scars did not diminish or change.
Conclusion: Vitamin E doesn't seem to have a positive affect on the appearance of scars.
Yet another study conducted on patients who underwent surgery for skin cancer involved the application of Vitamin E ointment to scars. The study and its findings were published in the April 1999 publication of Dermatologic Surgery.
Each patient was asked to apply a Vitamin E cream to half the scar while applying another ointment to the other half of the scar.
What happened? The scarred area treated with the Vitamin E ointment healed more slowly than the scarred areas treated with the other ointment. Some patients experienced irritated red skin or rash from the Vitamin E ointment.
Conclusion: Vitamin E for scars is not the best treatment for removing scars.
One study conducted on the effectiveness of Vitamin E on keloid scars revealed something interesting. A group of 80 patients with keloid scars and hypertrophic scars were asked to participate in the study.
Forty of the patients applied a topical silicone gel to their scars, while the other forty applied an ointment that contained both Vitamin E and silicone gel.
After 60 days of applying the ointment, nearly 95% of the group who applied the ointment with Vitamin E reported that their scars had diminished in appearance by at least half. The other group of forty patients reported that 75% of them said their scars were noticeably lessened by about half.
What happened? This study, conducted by two scientists in Italy, indicated that the application of silicone gel and Vitamin E together on keloid scars actually reduces the appearance texture of keloid scars.
Conclusion: Vitamin E seems to work effectively on two types of scars: hypertrophic and keloid.
Vitamin E seems to work well on specific types of scars - hypertrophic and keloid. Other types of scars don't seem to respond well to the application of Vitamin E.