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Vitamin E oil and scabs / crusts

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I wonder about this. I don't know the answer.


I know vitamin E thins the blood so can cause excessive bleeding if you take it in pill form. I don't know this for a fact, but I wonder what happens if you apply it topically, does it also absorb into the skin and affect the local blood vessels and cause excessive bleeding?


On the other hand, just the fact that it's an oil will moisturize the scabs and loosen them and make the softer.

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The only thing that is proven to decrease scar tissue formation is physical pressure, silicone sheeting/gels, or steroid injections.

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I am a big fan of vitamin E oil after surgery for those folks who want to apply something to the scarline.


I would respectfully say that I have had 2 significant issues with vitamin E oil applied PREOP that dramatically increased bleeding and postop bruising.


Both were in patients who had facial surgery and upon reviewing their preop meds, they had followed all of our "don't use" lists. Except that both had been applying creams containing vitamin E to other areas of their body. I think both were applying it to tummy tuck scars done by another surgeon in the previous few months.


So, I would add that you should check with your doctor about any topical applications done preop.


After the surgery is done, I personally don't have a problem with vitamin E topically, although I'd wait until the sutures are out before applying to the head.


Dr. Lindsey McLean VA

William H. Lindsey, MD, FACS

McLean, VA


Dr. William Lindsey is a member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians

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Dermatol Surg. 1999 Apr;25(4):311-5.

The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars.


Baumann LS, Spencer J.


University of Miami Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Miami, Florida, USA.


Comment in:


* Dermatol Surg. 1999 Aug;25(8):670-1.

* Dermatol Surg. 1999 Oct;25(10):827.


BACKGROUND: Vitamin E is a generic term for a group of tocol and tocotrienol derivatives. Since the discovery that vitamin E is the major lipid soluble antioxidant in skin, this substance has been tried for the treatment of almost every type of skin lesion imaginable. Anecdotal reports claim that vitamin E speeds wound healing and improves the cosmetic outcome of burns and other wounds. Many lay people use vitamin E on a regular basis to improve the outcome of scars and several physicians recommend topical vitamin E after skin surgery or resurfacing. OBJECTIVE: We attempted to determine whether topically applied vitamin E has any effect on the cosmetic appearance of scars as suggested by multiple anectodal reports. METHODS: Fifteen patients who had undergone skin cancer removal surgery were enrolled in the study. All wounds were primarily closed in 2 layers. After the surgery, the patients were given two ointments each labeled A or B. A was Aquaphor, a regular emollient, and the B was Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E. The scars were randomly divided into parts A and B. Patients were asked to put the A ointment on part A and the B ointment on part B twice daily for 4 weeks. The study was double blinded. The physicians and the patients independently evaluated the scars for cosmetic appearance on Weeks 1, 4, and 12. The criteria was simply to recognize which side of the scar looked better if there was any difference. The patients' and the physicians' opinions were recorded. A third blinded investigator was shown photographs of the outcomes and their opinion was also noted. RESULTS: The results of this study show that topically applied vitamin E does not help in improving the cosmetic appearance of scars and leads to a high incidence of contact dermatitis. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that there is no benefit to the cosmetic outcome of scars by applying vitamin E after skin surgery and that the application of topical vitamin E may actually be detrimental to the cosmetic appearance of a scar. In 90% of the cases in this study, topical vitamin E either had no effect on, or actually worsened, the cosmetic appearance of scars. Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis to the vitamin E. Therefore we conclude that use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds should be discouraged.

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Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it. Most of my scabs are gone now, and I found that soaking my head in warm water 5-10 minutes before I shower makes the crusts/scabs easier to remove. Furthermore, I apply vitamin e oil twice a day and I found that it really moisturizes the recipient area and helps loosen the scabs.

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