I recently came across an article in the Huffington Post on Vitamin E Oil in which the author cautioned about the use of the oil on the skin. It was surprising to see that some health doctors even did not support the claim that the oil even helps the skin at all.
The post quoted Dr. Stafford R. Broumand, who is a plastic and cosmetic surgeon in New York saying that Vitamin E existed in eight form and none of the oil contain any of these to meet human requirements!
Not only that, the paper even further emphasised that Vitamin E oil could be ineffective and may even cause allergy. Quoting Dr Elizabeth Tanzi, the post suggested that natural oil product cure was an obsession of the people these days and that apart from moisturizing the skin, these oils were no good more than that and that “the Vitamin E part is totally unnecessary!”
The post further cautions people that using vitamin on skin could cause allergic reactions.
The post is ironical. From initial disapproval and warnings to be cautious, it also shows various ways to use vitamin E for great skin health benefits.
This aroused my interest of digging further into the issue. I know that the market is flooded with many products containing vitamin e why hyper claims. I am a great fan of natural and alternative medicines, but I am absolutely no blind follower of any so called over hyped claims not supported by sound scientific evidence.
I consider homeopathy to be a part of natural or alternative medication. There is a good scientific and an overwhelming anecdotal support that homeopathic treatment is effective in many cases without any side effects or the usual harm caused by traditional allopathic medication.
Evidence in Support of Vitamin E
My own personal experience shows that good quality products that contain Vitamin E has a very positive effect on dry skin. This may even help treat conditions like itching, inflammation and even eczema. In the following paragraphs I collected some scientific research conducted in different countries to support the positive effect of Vitamin E in relation to eczema, dry and itchy skin.
The International Journal of Dermatology (2002) published a study in which it was confirmed that “that people suffering from eczema can find relief by taking Vitamin E supplement. This included even children.”
Four hundred people participated in the study. The group who received Vitamin E supplement showed and overall improvement of 60% while those under placebo showed only 2 % improvements.
Sixty percent is much higher than mere two percent. That means out of 400 participants 240 showed improvement while 160 remained unaffected.
The Whole Health Center endorses lotions and creams containing vitamin E to help relieve the symptoms of eczema.
In annother study, consisting of 396 school children, researchers found that children with highest levels of tocopherols (a form of vitamin E) had 67 percent less risk of eczema and asthma. The study was published by Paediatric Allergy and Immunology in 2006.
The Reuters Health reported that a study conducted by Dr. Masayuki Okuda of Yamaguchi University confirmed significant improvement in eczema condition of children who at food that contained vitamin E.
Hudson, Tori, N.D writes in an article that vitamin E and Vitamin C are very important to protect the skin from the damage of free radicals. The article was published in May 2003 under the title Women and Skin Conditions in Townsend Letters for Doctors and Patients.
The Science Against
I do not claim for sure that there is no research in support of the claims that Vitamin E either does not have an effect or may cause allergic reactions on skin. Apart from Dr. Stafford R. Broumand and Dr Elizabeth Tanzi views quoted in the Huffington Post, I did not see any major research claim to support the claims.
The only evidence I found in support of the claims against the use of vitamins was the Cochrane review. In a review titled as Dietary supplements for Established Atopic Eczema published by the Cochrane Library, Chichester, UK, the authors looked at 11 studies with 596 participants taking dietary supplements including Vitamin E for eczema. The authors concluded that none of the studies provided any good evidence to support that Vitamin E could help relieve eczema.
Regarding the allergic reaction suggested in the Huffington Post, research shows it is very rare. In fact, Dermatitis published a scientific review in 2010 which confirmed that allergic dermatitis from Vitamin E was extremely uncommon.
To Be or Not to Be?
As we have seen above there is no major conflict and the evidence in support is far heavier than against.
Common sense should still prevail. Apply it to a little area and wait for the results and then act accordingly.
If you are in any doubt, you must seek professional medical advice.