Should You Smear Vitamin E On Scars?
Posting Date: 12/12/2005
Q. I'm a 4th grader working on a science project about applying vitamin E (topically) to scars. Is there any research proving that it heals scars faster if applied daily?
A. The idea that applying vitamin E oil to scars can make them heal faster has been circulating for decades. The little research that has been done does not support this claim, though.
In one study, patients were followed carefully after skin cancer surgery (Dermatologic Surgery, Apr. 1999). A moisturizing ointment (Aquaphor) containing vitamin E was applied to part of the scar while plain Aquaphor was applied to the other part. Neither patients nor physicians knew which ointment contained the vitamin E.
The scars treated with vitamin E did not heal faster. In fact, many looked worse. One third of the patients actually developed contact dermatitis (red rash) in response to vitamin E.
Q. My chiropractor says that NSAIDS will make my arthritis worse over time and recommends glucosamine instead. My orthopedist just laughs and says that?s hooey. He says that the FDA approves drugs because they work and that glucosamine is unproven. Do you have any information on this?
A. Recent research (Arthritis and Rheumatism, Oct. 2005) suggests that long-term use of some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of joint deterioration. Dutch investigators studied more than 2000 arthritis sufferers and found that those on the prescription drug diclofenac were more likely to have X-ray evidence of arthritis progression. Ibuprofen and naproxen did not appear to carry the same risk.
A recent rigorous trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that glucosamine was not very effective. A small subset of patients with moderate to severe knee pain did get some benefit, however.
We are sending you our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis in which we discuss NSAIDs and many other treatment options, including home remedies and herbal therapies. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. AA-2, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.