A Malaysian study has found that the vitamin derived from antioxidant-rich palm oil is more potent than other forms of vitamin E when used to improve the healing of dermal wounds.
The discovery could make the ingredient a useful alternative ito treat a host of skin care conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or acne that can often permanently scar or damage the skin.
The study was led by Musalmah Mazlan at the Universiti Kebangsaan, where a series of tests were carried out applying equal amounts of vitamin E palm oil (PVE) extract and alpha-tocopherol, the most biologically active form of vitamin E, on laboratory rats.
The antioxidant potencies of the two preparations were also evaluated to help determine the outcome of the experiment.
The research team interpreted the results by measuring the healing wound contractions in the diabetic rats as well as assessing protein contents.
The results revealed that both PVE and alpha-toc were potent antioxidants and helped to reduce lipid peroxidation levels in the wounds.
However, the researchers said that it was also clear that PVE had a significantly greater potency to enhance wound repair, which in turn helped to induce an increase in free radical-scavenging enzyme activity, when compared to the rats treated with alpha-toc.
Currently the farming of palm oil is one of the most important industries in Malaysia. Although widespread commercial plantings only began in the 1990s, the country is now the world's largest producer of palm oil, with Indonesia coming up as a close second. Last year Malaysia produced 14 million tons and Indonesia 11 million, on a global total of 30 million tons.
In an effort to increase production further, the Malaysian government has been increasing investment in a broad range of programmes aimed at developing the number of applications palm oil can be used for.
Vitamin E has long been an important ingredient in a variety of skin care products, due mainly to its healing and reparation properties. However, recent studies have found that its anti-oxidant properties also make it an important active ingredient for both sunscreen and anti-ageing formulations.