Scars: An in-depth look at scar formation and the role of vitamin E

Scars are a natural part of the skin’s healing process, but they can sometimes remain undesirably visible. Many people are looking for effective ways to reduce and fade scars. In this blog, we take a closer look at the process of scar formation, discuss the different stages of scarring and explore the role of vitamin E in scar reduction.

The scarring process

When the skin is damaged by a cut, burn or surgery, for example, the healing process begins. Scar formation includes several stages:

  1. Inflammatory phase: Immediately after the injury, inflammation occurs, where blood clots and sends inflammatory cells to the damaged site to fight infection.
  2. Proliferation phase: In this phase, the body begins to produce new collagen to repair the damaged tissue. A new network of blood vessels forms to bring nutrients to the area.
  3. Remodeling phase: Over time, the excess collagen is restructured and remodeled. The scar becomes firmer and gradually flattens out, but may still be visible.

What is vitamin E

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role as an antioxidant in the body. It is known for its ability to neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent cell damage. Because of these properties, vitamin E is widely used in skin care products for its purported benefits to the skin.

Vitamin E comes in two forms: natural and synthetic form. The natural form of vitamin E is obtained from plant sources, such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils (such as wheat germ oil, sunflower oil and olive oil) and green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale). This form is often referred to as d-alpha tocopherol.

The synthetic form of vitamin E, on the other hand, is produced in laboratories and has a slightly different chemical structure than the natural form. It is often referred to as dl-alpha tocopherol. While the synthetic form of vitamin E has similar biological activity, the natural form is generally believed to be better absorbed and more effective in the body.

Does vitamin E work on scars?

The role of vitamin E in scar reduction is the subject of debate and research. While some people claim that vitamin E is effective in fading scars, the scientific findings are mixed.

It is believed that vitamin E may provide several benefits in the treatment of scars:

  1. Hydration: Vitamin E has moisturizing properties and can help soothe dry skin around scars.
  2. Anti-inflammatory: The antioxidant properties of vitamin E can help reduce inflammation and redness around the scar area.
  3. Skin regeneration: Vitamin E can help promote skin cell regeneration, which can help fade scars.

While some studies show positive results from the use of vitamin E on scars, there are also reports of skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals.

Some studies suggest that it may not have a beneficial effect on the appearance of scars and may even be detrimental to their cosmetic appearance. A study has shown that topically applied vitamin E does not improve the cosmetic appearance of scars and causes a high rate of contact dermatitis. In 90% of cases in this study, topical vitamin E had no effect on or even worsened the cosmetic appearance of scars. Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis in response to vitamin E. Therefore, the use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds is not recommended.

It is important to remember that not all scars are the same and the effectiveness of vitamin E can vary. Factors such as the severity of the scar, the individual skin reaction and the specific composition of the vitamin E product can all play a role.

Allergic to vitamin E? Take this test

Do you doubt whether you developed a skin reaction to vitamin E, do the ROAT. It stands for Repeated open Application Test (ROAT), it is used to investigate whether you have an allergy to a certain (skin care) product. The advantage of the ROAT is that you can easily perform it at home, without having to visit a dermatologist.

Roat to rule out allergies

Other options

In addition to using vitamin E, there are other treatment options for scars, such as silicone gel, corticosteroids, laser therapy, microneedling, and surgical procedures. More on a scar, now what?

Scar reduction is a process that requires time and patience. In addition to using topical treatments, it is important to properly protect the skin from the sun to prevent or limit post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. More about Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

It is important to use mineral sun protection with at least SPF30 during the day and to choose cosmetic ingredients that reduce pigment spots. More on sun protection, UV rays and SPF

In addition, there are cosmetic skin care ingredients, such as Vitamin A, C, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Arbutin, Kojic Acid and Resveratrol, that can help improve your skin.

Scars Arbutin Malic Acid Pigment Reduction Arbutin Niacinamide

In some cases, make-up alone may not provide sufficient coverage when pigment spots are very dark. In such cases, camouflage therapy may be an option. A skin therapist can make custom creams that match the color of your skin to cover your pigment spots.

A 2020 review article found that a vitamin D deficiency interferes with wound healing. Although the role of vitamin D in scar formation and treatment has not been studied before, a literature review was conducted on vitamin D and keloid, hypertrophic or burn scars. It concluded that lower levels of vitamin D precursors, the active metabolite and vitamin D receptor, are associated with an increased risk of scarring and more severe scarring.

Below we share a remarkable experience from a customer who applied our Sensitive Cream to her recent C-section scar twice a day for 4 weeks. Our Sensitive Cream contains Avena Sativa (oat extract) and is known for its possible positive influence on wound healing. We are curious whether this cream can also produce similar results for you. Don’t hesitate to share your experience with us.

Scar Sensitive Cream Stretch Marks

In other words

Vitamin E is often associated with reducing scars, but its effectiveness can vary depending on several factors. It can provide benefits such as hydration, anti-inflammatory and skin regeneration. However, it is good to realize that every scar is unique and may require different treatments. If necessary, consult a dermatologist or skin specialist to discuss the most suitable options and get a customized treatment.

While you are here

A scar can have different appearances. Usually, after the healing process, a scar looks flat and inconspicuous. Sometimes a scar is accompanied by a dent, a dimple in the skin. This is called an atrophic scar. However, a disturbance in the wound healing process can sometimes also leave a raised scar. This is called a hypertrophic scar.

Scars cosmetically be disturbing, but can also cause pain, itching, and irritation. There are home products on the market that claim to (visibly) reduce scars and complaints. More on A scar, now what?

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
Iconopedia nieuwsbrief


Schrijf je in op onze nieuwsbrief voor meer informatie over huidverzorging en exclusieve voordelen.