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Aesthet Surg J. 2016 Sep;36(8):959-65. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjw046. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management: A Systematic Review.

Author information

1
From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The practice of prescribing vitamin E after surgery for scar prevention and treatment is widespread and increasingly popular among both the public and clinicians. However, very little evidence exists for this "ritual."

OBJECTIVES:

This review was undertaken to critically analyze the current literature about the effect of vitamin E on treating scars.

METHODS:

The Cochrane, Medline, and PubMed databases were searched based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). The studies and levels of recommendation were graded according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) criteria. Only prospective studies were included.

RESULTS:

Only six studies met the inclusion criteria. Of these six included studies, three reported a significant improvement in the cosmetic appearance of scars when using vitamin E: one study used topical vitamin E in white children as monotherapy, and two studies used vitamin E in an adult population as combination therapy. The other three selected studies showed no significant improvement in scar appearance when using topical vitamin E as monotherapy. Two of the six included studies reported adverse events of vitamin E application: contact dermatitis and increased incidence of itching and rash.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that there is not yet sufficient evidence that monotherapy with topical vitamin E has a significant beneficial effect on scar appearance to justify its widespread use. Further prospective studies with vitamin E monotherapy and/or combination therapy are warranted to draw better conclusions regarding the value of vitamin E in the management of scar healing.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

2 Therapeutic.

PMID:
26977069
DOI:
10.1093/asj/sjw046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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