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Vitamin E is very popular for many treatments for scars, especially scars caused by acne. In these products, however, it isn't actually the vitamin E that heals the scar. It is far more likely that vitamin E is added to the skin care cream as a stabilizer, and alpha-lipoic acid or DMAE in the cream do the actual work of skin repair.
Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is even more powerful than vitamin E. It has an unusual chemical characteristic. It dissolves in water, or in fat.
This means that when you apply a cream that contains alpha-lipoic acid to your skin, it can penetrate both the fat layers underneath the skin and the watery tissues between the collagen fibers of the skin. It can move across the cell membrane into the cell, or it can circulate in the bloodstream.
Alpha-lipoic acid latches on to potentially toxic free radicals in the skin. It keeps them from accumulating in skin cells. On the level of the cell and on the level of the skin itself, this stops skin from sagging. It smooths out scars that bulge out from the smooth surface of the skin.
You can overdose alpha-lipoic acid you take orally, but you are highly unlikely to overdose alpha-lipoic acid skin creams. (If this were to happen, you would notice burning and then peeling. If this happens with any skin care product, discontinue it immediately and ask for a refund).
DMAE, also known as diethylaminoethanol, works on scars that cause indentations in the skin. It is also an antioxidant, but it tightens the skin so you don't need filler to conceal the scar.
An interesting side effect of DMAE use occurs when it is absorbed into your bloodstream. It can help you feel more focused and improve your memory.
What about vitamin E oil for scars? What about vitamin E for acne? Along with the form of vitamin C known as ascorbyl palmitate, these free radical fighters are far more useful than vitamin E in reversing scars. The vitamin E in the formula, however, keeps the mixture fresh and all the other ingredients at maximum potency.
As for treating acne, vitamin E helps recharge the far more important acne-fighters, vitamin C and selenium. You need all three supplements-just the amount you get in a multivitamin pill, however-to keep acne in control, along with your best skin care practices.
Graf J. Antioxidants and skin care: the essentials. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Jan;125(1):378-83.
Puizina-Ivic N, Miric L, Carija A, Karlica D, Marasovic D. Modern approach to topical treatment of aging skin. Coll Antropol. 2010 Sep;34(3):1145-53. Review.