Vitamin E – Does it Reduce Scars?

While it is known that vitamin E assists in moisturizing the skin, research also shows that vitamin E oils and supplements have little to no effect on scars. Vitamin E’s extensive range of benefits includes maintaining both the health of the eyes as well as strengthening the immune system of the body. There is a common belief that vitamin E will help reduce the appearance of scars but there isn’t much evidence to prove this belief is accurate.

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E consists of a group of fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant effects. Antioxidants will protect cells from the effects of free radicals as they are known to damage cells and contribute to the progression of both cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin E can exist naturally in some foods while some manufacturers are also known to add it to other foods. The most naturally-occurring sources of vitamin E include, but are not limited to, nuts, spinach, whole grains, olive oil, and sunflower oil. In other instances, the vitamin is available as an oral supplement or as oil that people can apply to the skin.

Vitamin E and Treating Scars

Scars for Vitamin EWhen treating burns and scars, vitamin E is often a very popular option. However, there have been multiple studies conducted to prove the validity of that use and unfortunately the results have been disappointing in some cases.

In a study from 1999 that looked at the effects vitamin E had on scarring, it was actually shown that one-third of those studied actually had allergic reactions to it. In fact, 90% of the people reported that they either had an allergic reaction to the vitamin E or there were no visible effects on their scarring. It was proven that vitamin E does help other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis AKA eczema. As of today, there isn’t much information available to prove that vitamin E will help diminish scars. Plus, a 2016 review concluded that there has to be more research conducted to come to a conclusion on the matter.

Vitamin E and the Skin

While vitamin E’s assistance in reducing the appearance of scars may seem questionable, one fact out of these studies concludes that moisturizing the skin during the process where the wound is healing will definitely help. If the person isn’t allergic to vitamin E, they can use moisturizers that contain the vitamin. This still discounts the effects of vitamin E’s presence in moisturizers but the act of moisturizing the skin is still beneficial. If someone wants to use vitamin E oil or take the supplements, it is suggested that they speak to a healthcare provider.

Alternatives to Vitamin E

Hydrogel (also known as silicone gel) adhesive dressings are an option to apply over, and flatten, scars. The silicone helps to hydrate the scar and slow down the production of collagen fibers. In doing so, the scars will begin to come in flatter, softer and paler than usual.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) has suggested applying the silicone sheets for 12 hours a day for three months. A treatment that many choose is a scar massage which is said to soften the scar while helping reduce pain, itching and sensitivity. Be sure and massage, for five minutes at a time, 3-4 times throughout the day. Trusting a scar specialist will ensure proper advice on the best technique to use on a particular scar.

A dermarolling procedure involves rolling tiny needles over the surface of the skin. There are people who think that by puncturing the skin and creating injuries, the skin will heal itself and improve the appearance of scars. In a clinical trial done on dermarolling, it was found, after three treatments, there was a visible improvement of the scars. There have been a few participants that reported instances of pain from the procedure so consult with a dermatologist before having the procedure.

Other procedures that may reduce the appearance of scars include:

  • Laser therapy which requires the use of light to target blood vessels that make scars appear inflamed. According to the NHS, the procedure will also boost collagen production and reduce pitting. However, there aren’t many long-term studies on the effectiveness of laser therapy.
  • Dermal fillers are placed in the body in order to plump the skin. This can reduce the appearance of pitted scars but it isn’t a long term treatment as the results are not permanent.
  • Cryotherapy freezes keloid scars in order to prevent them from growing or spreading. It also flattens the appearance of the scars. This procedure uses liquid nitrogen and can lighten the skin in the area.

The time it takes for a scar to fade on the skin can vary and depends on the initial size and depth of the injury. According to the NHS, scars from injuries such as cuts or surgical incisions usually takes up to two years to flatten before they begin to fade. Hypertrophic scars can continue to thicken for six months before they start the process of fading for the next few years.

Vitamin E and Scar Treatment – Is it Worth It?

There is not much clinical evidence that proves that vitamin E oil or supplements can help reduce the appearance of scars. However, there is good evidence to support the fact that the positive effects people notice from vitamin E can be the result of moisturizing or massaging the scar and not the vitamin E itself. Patients might be better of considering other scar treatments like silicone sheets, massages and dermarolling.

How to Treat Scars on the Scalp?

Scar tissue can form anywhere on the body and this includes the scalp. When scars form within the hairy regions of the body, the tissue becomes damaged and the scar can also destroy the hair follicles. A small scar from an injury or acne, surrounded by healthy tissue, may not be visible to others since it can hide within the surrounding hair follicles. People prone to severe acne or psoriasis or have had significant head injuries or surgery may have regional hair loss. This happens because the fibrous connective tissue that makes up a scar has limited blood flow and restricts healthy hair growth within the scar. Multiple scalp scars, or even one scar, can permanently destroy countless hair follicles and leave a person with noticeable visibility of the scalp. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat scars on the scalp and lessen their visibility.

Scar Scar Treatments

  • Scalp Acne Treatment

Although acne on the scalp may seem irrelevant, it is one of the main causes of hair loss because acne is infected glands in the skin. They can become inflamed, itchy and burst at the surface. The lesion is then replaced by scar tissue. When someone has recurring acne outbreaks, the skin is unable to heal properly and excessive acne scarring can occur and cause baldness. It is best to treat acne issues as soon as possible using an acne wash containing salicylic acid either 2-3 times a week or as directed by a dermatologist. If acne scars already exist, there are some natural treatment options available.

  • Take Vitamin E

Vitamin E has therapeutic properties to increase the rate of wound healing. It is rich in collagen production and can be a natural means to maintaining healthy hair and skin. Vitamin E is full of antioxidant qualities which make it popular for use in beauty products as well as highly recommended by dermatologists. It can help prevent acne and keep scars at bay by promoting a healthy flow of oxygen and blood to the scalp.

  • Scalp Massage

Dead skin cells can form all over the body and they clog the pores and accumulate on scars. Massaging the scalp can help remove dead skin and stimulate blood circulation. Scalp massages can reduce scar tissue build-up and keep the surrounding skin healthier.

  • Itching Solutions

Scar tissue can have some unpleasant side effects such as inflammation and itchiness. In many cases, itchiness can become unbearable and cause the scar to become worse than it already was. Keeping the scalp clean and applying a steroid ointment can help reduce itching and allow the skin to heal more naturally. Depending on the type of scar, certain injections may be beneficial with alleviating inflammation, itchiness and making a raised scar flatter.

  • Hair Extensions and Lasers

Hair extensions can hide thinning or bald patches caused by scarring. Since treatments can take time to improve the appearance of the scar, hair extensions can provide adequate coverage at an affordable cost. In some cases, the scar may not be receptive to non-invasive treatments and may not improve. Therefore, the patient may need to consider alternative treatment options such as laser treatments to reduce the appearance of the scar.

  • Hair Transplant

When scars are left untreated or the skin and hair follicles have been severely damaged, the hair may never regrow. Therefore, some patients turn to a surgical method such as a hair transplant. A hair transplant can reduce the scar and make it less noticeable thanks to the implanted hair follicles. The donor hairs are taken from the back of the patient’s head so any scarring from the transplant technique will be hidden within the patient’s natural hair.

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