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Vitamin E vs. Cocoa Butter For Scars: What’s The Best Option?

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Khadija B.
October 25, 2022
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The punchline here – there is very little scientific evidence to support the use of either vitamin E or cocoa butter to treat or reduce the appearance of scars.

While both can and should be considered to moisturize, there is at best conflicting evidence about these two creams ability to heal or fade scars.

Below we will go into more detail, as well as suggest some other possible alternatives for you to consider.

Scarring Overview

Scarring a is natural part of how the body and skin heal. It occurs in three steps: inflammation, issue formation, and remodeling. Because of this, the goal should not be to avoid scarring, it should be to reduce the appearance and prominence of scars.

Two tips for taking care of a scar – be sure to keep the area properly moisturized and avoid picking at the wounded area.

How Good is Vitamin E at Treating Scars?

Many people believe that rubbing Vitamin onto scars can help the healing process, reducing the visibility of scars. Many of the skincare creams you find in your local drug store contain Vitamin E and either state or implies that this will help smooth and soften any scarring.

The truth is, there is very little clinical evidence to support this claim.

What The Science Says

A number of studies have been done to study the effectiveness of using Vitamin E on patients recovering from surgery to remove patches of skin cancer. The study found that there was no benefit to the cosmetic appearance of scars in 90% of the cases where Vitamin E was used. The study further found that one-third of the patients who were given topical Vitamin E developed some form of skin irritation.

A different study reached the opposite conclusion. Researchers applied vitamin E to children with surgical scars. These children did not develop extra scar tissue around the wound, and researchers concluded that using a moisturizing cream with vitamin E before and after surgery was helpful in improving the way wounds healed.

Because of the conflicting evidence, most dermatologist avoid using Vitamin E for scar treatment.

Oral Vitamin E vs. Cream

While science has found that topical vitamin E is of questionable benefit for scarring, it has made some interesting finds regarding ingested Vitamin E. In one study, patients suffering from mild atopic dermatitis were given 400 IU per day of Vitamin E for four months. The study found that the Vitamin E had not negative side effects, and that it helped improve the symptoms and life quality for those suffering from atopic dermatitis.

Patients reported an improvement in a number of categories, including improvement in the extent of lesions, reduction of itching, and other symptoms. Interestingly, the contact dermatitis, burning, and itching reported with the use of topical vitamin e was not found in the patients of this study.

How Good is Cocoa Butter at Treating Scars

Like with Vitamin E oil, there is little evidence of benefits in using cocoa butter to flatten and remove scars.

Because of this lack of evidence, very few dermatologists or surgeons will recommend using cocoa butter for scar management.

This does not mean that you should avoid using this popular treatment altogether. Cocoa butter is a wonderful skin moisturizer and is believed to stimulate collagen production. Despite this dermatologist will often recommend that you stick to more clinically proven options, given the risk of the the oils in cocoa butter clogging your pores.

Research has shown that cocoa butter is effective as a topical treatment for conditions like eczema and ermatitis.

What Other Natural Ingredients Make Effective Scar Treatments

When picking the best over the counter scar treatment, we strongly recommend letting the science dictate what you use. Whether you are recovering from cosmetic procedures or something more serious like c sections, it is important to use something that will reduce scars, and if necessary, reduce pain.

Below we explore a few popular treatments for scar healing.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is a natural healer that can be particularly helpful in helping soothe burns and wounds. The gel from this plant is useful in reducing inflammation, redness, and swelling. Combined with a moisturizer, this can be a very strong natural option for treating scars and wounds.

Coconut Oil

Like vitamin e oil, Coconut Oils is packed with antioxidants. While there is some proof that it can help reduce the appearance of scars, there are better scar treatment options available.

Effective Treatments for Scar Treatments

Silicone Sheets

Silicone gel technology has been used for about 30 years in scar management. Studies has found that both the gel and sheet form of silicone are effective at managing scarring. Dermal hydration and collagen regulation are the two key reasons driving silicone’s effectiveness. The consensus recommendation is the daily use of silicone once an itching red streak appears in the affected area of a maturing wound.

Massage

Massage is helpful for breaking up and softening scar tissue. While we would not recommend using massage alone to treat scars, combined with the correct skincare routine, they can be a strong follow up to healing after surgery.

Khadija B.