If Vitamin E were a film, it would be ‘The Godfather’. Like ‘The Godfather’ Vitamin E is experienced […in skincare], has been around for donkeys years […in skincare!] and has lots of tricks hidden up its sleeve […skin ones!!]. Sometimes when a skincare ingredient is this good, it gets cult A-list fame status and there is a load of beauty gossiping about its benefits. It’s like Chinese whispers, sometimes its dependable skill set is exaggerated. One of vitamin E’s gossiped about skills is ‘scar healing’, but does Vitamin E stand up to the test? Can Vitamin E really improve the appearance of your scars? Let me fill you in on the truth about Vitamin E and scar healing…
WHY VITAMIN E HAS POTENTIAL IN SCAR HEALING
First we need to get to the nitty gritty of ‘what the heck a scar is anyhow?’. Every one of us has a neat little skin factory that is on 24/7 employment… you only need to look at how quickly dust collects in your house to know how well its turning over! When our skin is damaged that skin factory speeds up, it goes into ‘turbo’ mode and all the things that make healthy skin happen FASTER. Skin damage is like your skin factory preparing for a visit from its health & safety manager!
All of your healthy skin has a great scaffolding system that your skin builders put up. Your skin scaffolding is called collagen. When your skin hasn’t made enough collagen in its skin healing process, you can get an in-dented scar. When your skin makes too much collagen when it’s healing, a scar will be left ‘peeking its head’ above your skin parapet.
So what about the whole scar healing thing? It is true that Vitamin E in the body does get involved with the ‘birthing’ and ‘fen-shui’ of collagen. Does that mean it helps improve the appearance of scars?…
DOES VITAMIN E ACTUALLY IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SCARS?
After a lot of skin studies, tests, trials, comparison… the final answer is… drum roll… uncomfortably long pause… No. Vitamin E does not improve the appearance of scars. A recent study has shown that 90% of the time vitamin E makes no difference whatsoever to the appearance of scars OR it actually worsens the appearance of your scar.
Vitamin E improving the appearance of scars is a now a proven skincare myth, because it’s been around for so long [so long its grown a Gandalf style-ee beard], you’ll still often hear it recommended for improving the appearance of scars. Just call your local cosmetic cop to take care of the Vitamin E gossip culprit *wink wink*.
So if vitamin E doesn’t help improve the appearance of scars, what does?…Is there anything?…
PROMISING INGREDIENTS TO IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SCARS
I started looking into this [in depth] recently because I got a very retrospectively exciting [not exciting at the time, at the time painful would definitely be the word] ambulance ride that ended with my appendix being ‘amputated’. It was my appendix’s 3rd bid for independence, and on the first 2 I’d felt [very] vainly worried about the surgical evidence of its potential escape. 3rd independence bid down and I was very happy to trade 3 small keyhole marks for a future of appendix free pain. With my 3 war wounds, these are the 3 potentials backed with scientific evidence that I’ll be looking to improve my post-sugery scarring…
1. Panthenol & Allantoin
D-Panthenol and Allantoin are 2 sensitive skin friendly, hypoallergenic skin lovers that both get involved with skin metabolism. Allantoin especially is known for speeding up skin healing and doing it in a super healthy way. Allantoin helps make more ‘skin machinery’ in your skin factory, it increase the production of ‘fibroblasts’ and they are the ‘skin mothers’ that give birth to collagen. D-Panthenol also partners up with Allantoin in making more ‘skin mothers’, so these 2 are an awesome skin healing pair!
Microdermabrasion is a good bet for improving the appearance of scars that have set up camp [they aren’t freshly made]. If you’ve had a skin trauma that’s left you with a whopping big reminder, or even if its a collection caused by something like acne then microdermabrasion gives skin a second shot at healing up that skin properly. That means the appearance of your scarring gets reduced. Microdermabrasion is like a lot of mini skin traumas that are so tiny you don’t see them. They basically knock on your skin healing factory door and say ‘hey wake up dude!’.
3. RED LIGHT THERAPY
That NASA discovered skin hero we got talking about last week. Red light therapy speeds up wound healing and gives skin enough juice to grow by 150-200X its normal rate. Pretty handy when you’ve been under the surgeon’s knife… or even if you’re reliving your playground days with ‘bootcamp-esque fitness’ sessions that leave you looking like you went to war! Red light therapy is a great bet for healthy wound healing. Why the heck were NASA interested? Crazy fact for you – wounds don’t heal in space, that paper cut really could become life threatening!
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A has a 007 worthy collection of spy-names like retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinoic acid and brand names like Isotretinoin and Roacutane. It has as many skills as spy names, proven anti-wrinkle powers, proven acne fighter and it can also add wound healing and therefore scar appearance improving! Vitamin A increases the amount of collagen your skin makes which is super important if your body is stressed and your skin factory has only a trickle of power.
Plain and simple honey!! Honey gets to boast anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, skin immune system boosting, anti-oxidant and skin growth boosting powers. All of those are great skills when wounds are healing up. Honey can help to speed up wound healing and even control ‘over-scar’ formation, those ones that sit upward from your skin. It’s been used since we spoke in grunts and spent our nights heating ourselves by fire and there turns out to be a lot of reasons why honey is helpful in wound healing and the appearance of scars. There is one caution… not all honey is the same, it depends on what the bees have been eating!
Had you heard the skin rumour that Vitamin E helps improve the appearance of scars?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.