There’s a popular belief that rubbing vitamin E oil onto your acne scars can help them heal, and reduce their visibility. Ointments and creams that contain vitamin E and claim to clear every type of scar can be found on store shelves across America.
However, evidence that vitamin E has this effect is mostly anecdotal. There’s little clinical evidence to support any of these claims.
One study found that vitamin E and Aquaphor ointments were no different in healing 90 percent of scars in people who had recently had patches of skin cancer removed. One-third of the participants who used vitamin E developed a red, itchy rash called contact dermatitis.
However, a different study found that children with surgical scars who used vitamin E three times a day didn’t develop keloids, or extra scar tissue over the wound.
Researchers concluded that using a topical form of vitamin E before and after surgery improved the way wounds healed.
Research on how vitamin E can treat acne and heal its scars is also inconclusive.
There’s little proof that vitamin E oil can help heal scars. However, it’s possible that ingesting it through food or as a supplement can help your body heal in other ways.
Supplements for healing
Some research suggests that vitamin E supplements can be effective for people with severe damage to their skin. It won’t give you Wolverine-like regeneration abilities, but vitamin E can support your body in several aspects of the healing process.
For example, vitamin E protects the body’s tissues from free radicals, which can damage cells and accelerate aging. It’s also critical for the formation of red blood cells, which distribute oxygen around the body. Both functions are vital to healing.
Where else to get vitamin E
It’s best to get all the vitamin E you need from food. It’s abundant in green leafy vegetables (as if you needed another reason to eat more of them), nuts, and seeds, as well as fortified foods such as cereal.
Taking too many vitamin E supplements can be harmful. That’s more than 1,000 mg daily in natural form or 670 mg in synthetic form. It can thin the blood, increase the risk of bleeding, and even cause bleeding in the brain.
It’s always best to discuss the use of supplements with your doctor.