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 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.

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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. And 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 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.

Some research suggests that vitamin E supplements can be effective for people with severe damage to their skin. 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.

It’s best to get all the vitamin E you need from food. It’s abundant in the following foods:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • fortified foods such as cereal

However, ingesting too much vitamin E in supplement form can be harmful. More than 1,000 mg in natural form, or 670 mg in synthetic form, taken daily 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.