Does Vitamin E Oil Help Fading of Acne Scars?


While vitamin E oil is frequently recommended as a way to heal acne scars, there are few studies that support this claim. Many people believe that using vitamin E oil topically can fade acne scars, and other types of scarring. Vitamin E oil is natural and inexpensive, so try to fade your acne scars with this over-the-counter product before trying more expensive and involved treatments.

The Advocates of Vitamin E Oil

The article “Can Vitamin E Reduce Acne Scars?” at the Acne Myths website states, “Vitamin E has been shown to promote healing and reduce the appearance of scars when applied topically.” Many dermatologists and plastic surgeons also recommend vitamin E oil. Plastic surgeon Dr. Joel Studin believes that vitamin E oil is helpful with all types of scarring. He recommends that his patients use vitamin E oil after any cosmetic procedure to reduce the appearance of scars. All scars, whether acne, depressed or raised scars, are caused by the amount of collagen in the wound area. Collagen is a protein found in the dermis, or middle layer, of the skin. When the skin suffers an injury, such as a pimple, it heals itself by producing scar tissue to cover and protect the wound. People heal in different ways; some acne sufferers have dark discolorations, ice pick scars or pockmarks, or thick scars like keloids. In his article “Scarring,” Dr. Studin writes that vitamin E oil helps “by reducing the strength of the three strands that form collagen.” When rubbed into the scars, the vitamin E oil breaks down the collagen fibers that form the scars. The oil makes the scar “softer and more pliable,” and in time, it can fade away or become less noticeable.

The Detractors of Vitamin E Oil

A study at the University of Miami tested the efficacy of vitamin E oil on scars. In the study, the subjects used two products on different scars. One product was a standard moisturizer, while the other was the same moisturizer with vitamin E oil added. After 12 weeks, the researchers and the test subjects reviewed the scars; in 90 percent of the cases, no improvement was seen. In 1/3 of the cases, the test subjects developed an allergic reaction to the vitamin E. However, this study is not without its controversy. Some researchers complained that the amount of vitamin E oil used, 315 IU (international units) was too low to have any affect on scars. Researchers also pointed out that the number of subjects in the study (15) was too small. Another point of contention was that the study was only three months long, too short a period to prove that vitamin E oil has no affect on scars, including acne scars.