Originally published Jan 13, 2020; updated May 1, 2024.

Vitamin E has long been revered in dermatology and cosmetic science for its myriad benefits in promoting healthy, radiant skin. From its potent antioxidant properties to its soothing anti-inflammatory effects, Vitamin E offers an array of advantages that cater to a wide range of skin concerns. It may not be the flashiest ingredient in our cosmetic laboratory, but Vitamin E’s steadfast presence and multifaceted benefits for skin have subtly redefined skincare practices for decades, resulting in an increased emphasis on holistic wellness and proactive skin protection. In this article, we explore the transformative potential of Vitamin E in skincare, delving into its science, benefits, and practical applications.

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that offers antioxidant protection for our bodies, defending against cellular damage. Vitamin E plays a key role in the health of the skin, eyes, blood, and brain, as well as the reproductive and immune systems.

The term “Vitamin E” refers to a group of eight compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Among these, alpha-tocopherol is the most common and biologically significant form, often synonymous with Vitamin E in dietary supplements and skin care products. This specific form is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1) as the only one that satisfies “human requirements,” essentially signifying its suitability for human consumption. Therefore, one of the other names for Vitamin E in skin care is tocopherol, which indicates the presence of the primary and most relevant form of Vitamin E.

Like other vitamins, Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that our bodies are not able to make in sufficient quantities and therefore must obtain through foods. Dietary sources of Vitamin E include nuts, leafy greens, whole grains, and oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil. However, the advantages of Vitamin E go beyond nutrition. Applying Vitamin E topically can be particularly beneficial for skin health, as it allows for direct and targeted delivery to the skin.

Vitamin E Benefits

There are many benefits of Vitamin E for overall skin health and achieving skin goals. Some of the notable advantages of Vitamin E include:

    • Antioxidant Protection: Vitamin E’s primary role in skin care is its potent antioxidant activity. It actively combats reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules produced by factors including UV radiation. By neutralizing these free radicals, Vitamin E protects the skin from damage. Vitamin E is a key contributor to combatting visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles and diminished elasticity. 
    • Moisturizing Properties: Vitamin E offers highly effective moisturizing qualities, due to its dual function: it acts as a humectant that attracts water into the skin and as an emollient that locks in moisture. This combination hydrates the skin and reinforces its barrier function, which is crucial for preventing moisture loss. Consequently, this superhero ingredient is favored in lotions and creams as Vitamin E skin care addresses dry skin and offers hydration. 
    • Anti-inflammatory Action: Vitamin E possesses anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent ingredient in Vitamin E skin care formulas aimed at soothing and healing irritated skin. It is commonly included in treatments for eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions, providing relief and promoting skin recovery.
    • Sun Protection: While we still need to use SPF as our daily sun protection and cannot rely solely on Vitamin E to protect the skin from sun damage, Vitamin E does significantly boost the efficacy of sunscreens. Vitamin E plays a critical role in photoprotection by reducing UV-induced DNA damage and mitigating chemical and structural changes in the skin. 
    • BFFs with Vitamin C: One of our other favourite skin care ingredients is Vitamin C, which pairs beautifully with Vitamin E for skin care. Topical application of Vitamin E allows the ingredient to penetrate cell membranes and the outer skin layer, contributing to its antioxidant defenses. When included with Vitamin C, both vitamins’ stability and antioxidant effects are enhanced. This potent combination is frequently used to combat signs of aging and improve skin brightness, offering a dual approach to skin care that targets both resilience and radiance.

The advantages of Vitamin E in skin care make it a versatile choice for all skin types, particularly beneficial for those with dry or aging skin. Its gentle properties ensure that it can be seamlessly integrated into skin care routines at any stage of life, whether to enhance the natural defenses of youthful skin or to provide deep nourishment for mature skin. This adaptability makes Vitamin E skin care an essential component in maintaining skin health and vitality across the lifespan.

Vitamin E Skin Care Tips

Skin care products with Vitamin E can be found in many forms, from serums to creams and more, each formulated to harness the ingredients’ full potential. Here are our tips for selecting the right Vitamin E skin care product for your skin’s needs:

    • Serum: Choose a tocopheryl acetate-infused serum for nighttime use to hydrate and rejuvenate tired skin deeply. This lipid-rich formulation is designed to deliver concentrated doses of vitamin E where it is needed most.
    • Moisturizer: Choose a rich moisturizing cream combining alpha-tocopherol and soothing agents. This blend is especially effective at repairing and protecting dry, irritated skin, strengthening the skin’s natural barrier, and reducing sensitivity.
    • Vitamin E Body Oil: Vitamin E body oil is an excellent option for whole-body hydration. Easy to apply and offering enduring moisture, this ingredient is particularly beneficial during dry, colder months. Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties also protect against environmental stressors and free radical damage, a bonus during sun exposure in warmer weather. For best results, apply to damp skin following a shower or bath to enhance absorption and hydration benefits. 
    • Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen containing both Vitamins E and C. This combination provides superior photoprotection against harmful UV rays and boosts the skin’s antioxidant defense. 

Wondering how much Vitamin E should be used per day? Nutritionally, the recommended daily allowance for adults is approximately 15 mg of Vitamin E, which can be achieved through a balanced diet or with supplements as advised by a healthcare professional.

Topically, Vitamin E can synergistically enhance your skincare, offering a holistic approach to protecting and rejuvenating the skin. We recommend incorporating Vitamin E into your daily skincare routine to achieve the best results, especially products with Vitamin E listed midway in your product’s ingredient list, which indicates a beneficial concentration that is both effective and safe for regular use. Generally, Vitamin E concentrations ranging from 0.1% to 1.0% are considered effective for enhancing the skin’s Vitamin E levels without irritating.

Vitamin E Skin Care Pairings

Vitamin E works exceptionally well with a variety of other skincare ingredients, including:

    • Vitamin C: Combining Vitamin C and Vitamin E creates a potent antioxidant duo that excels in protecting against oxidative stress, diminishing signs of aging, and enhancing skin radiance. Vitamin C extends the antioxidant ability of Vitamin E, so the two are often paired together in daily products such as serums and creams. To harness these BFF ingredients’ full potential, apply both morning and evening. 
    • Retinol: The nourishing properties of Vitamin E can help alleviate the irritation and dryness often associated with retinol use. Applying a Vitamin E-enriched moisturizer after your retinol treatment can enhance the skin’s moisture barrier and lock in the therapeutic effects, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable skin rejuvenation process.
    • SPF: Because Vitamin E enhances photoprotection, it is recommended to combine it with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, especially during daylight hours. Select a sunscreen that complements your skin type and environmental exposure for optimal protection.

Vitamin E for skin care is renowned for its extensive benefits that tackle a wide range of skin concerns. Integrating Vitamin E into your skin care regimen, whether used independently or alongside other ingredients, can improve skin health, shield against environmental aggressors, and bolster your skin’s inherent resilience.

Discover the benefits of Vitamin E with consistent, regular application to elevate the skins’ natural protective barriers and long term health. Reach out to our professional Skin Therapists to answer your questions about Vitamin E and how to incorporate this superstar ingredient into your skin care routine.

Reference:

(1) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

 

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.