Many of us are familiar with vitamin E as an essential nutrient our bodies need to stay healthy. It's an antioxidant-rich nutrient responsible for many functions — most notably, helping to protect our cells from oxidative damage, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But this vitamin also has a plethora of other benefits, including for our skin. In fact, it's been used in dermatology for more than 50 years, per the NIH.
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Nowadays, vitamin E has made its way into many skin-care routines, especially in the form of oils, which have become increasingly popular over the years as a solution for hydrating skin and protecting it from environmental stress.
How Does Vitamin E Oil Benefit Skin?
Because vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it almost acts like a glue that preserves the integrity of the skin, holding skin cells together to form a healthy barrier, says Dendy Engelman, MD, cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City.
It's also packed with antioxidant properties, "which work to neutralize free radicals in the environment that contribute to premature aging and damage from environmental aggressors," she adds.
Plus: Vitamin E is filled with anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve red, itchy and inflamed dry skin, Dr. Engelman says. She also recommends it to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
That said, here are the best vitamin E oils, according to Dr. Engelman and other dermatologists.
The Best Vitamin E Oils of 2023
- Best Overall: One Love Organics Botanical E Youth Preservation Serum ($75, Ulta)
- Best for the Face: Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil ($105, Amazon)
- Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($169, Dermstore)
- Best for Stretch Marks: Bio-Oil Skincare Body Oil with Vitamin E (From $9.99, Amazon)
- Best on a Budget: Jason Skin Oil ($8.99, Amazon)
How We Chose
We tapped three board-certified dermatologists, who shared the most important attributes to look for in a vitamin E oil and how to find one that best suits your skin's needs. Our top picks are based on their criteria, including:
1. Best Overall: One Love Organics Botanical E Youth Preservation Serum
- Sustainable packaging
- The stronger fragrance may bother some people, based on reviews
This organic vitamin E oil by One Love Organics is packed with plant-based goodness. Watermelon seed oil, sunflower seed oil, sea kale extract and grapefruit extract all work together with the vitamin E to hydrate your skin and give it a youthful glow.
Plus: It's packaged in sustainable, recycled materials.
2. Best for the Face: Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil
- Made from natural ingredients
- Good for oily skin
This face oil by Tata Harper is infused with ingredients like vitamins C and E that can relieve dry skin and help even your skin tone. It has a lightweight feel when applied, making it great for layering with other serums and moisturizers, or using alone (a better choice if you have oily skin).
The product also has natural ingredients gleaned from organic farming. And even though this oil is on the pricier side, a little goes a long way, so this bottle will last a while.
3. Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
- Has vitamins C and E
- Great for hyperpigmentation
Although this antioxidant-rich serum is certainly on the pricey side, dermatologists attest to its impressive results. Allison L. Holm, MD, dermatologist at Dermatology Partners of Western New York, recommends it in particular to those with hyperpigmentation.
"It helps neutralize free radicals, thanks to its high antioxidant potency, and can even aid in skin brightening," Dr. Holm says.
It might come in a small bottle, but a little goes a long way — all you need is a few drops per use.
4. Best for Stretch Marks: Bio-Oil Skincare Body Oil with Vitamin E
- Absorbs quickly
- Some reviewers felt the fragrance was a little too strong
Dr. Engelman loves to recommend this vitamin E oil to her patients looking to prevent or reduce the appearance of stretch marks. In fact, she applied Bio-Oil Skincare Body Oil throughout her pregnancy to help keep her skin more pliable and less prone to such marks. Still, you can use this product whether you are pregnant or not.
"It is also beneficial to use along with vitamin C to protect against UV damage," she says.
In addition to vitamin E, this oil also has soothing chamomile and lavender oils to help calm irritated skin.
5. Best on a Budget: Jason Skin Oil
- Made with tocopheryl acetate, which may be better for sensitive skin
- Contains fragrance, which may not be suitable for sensitive skin
If you are looking for a budget-friendly face oil that has few ingredients, this one by Jason's Skin Oil could be worth a try.
This formula is made with tocopheryl acetate — a potent and stabilized form of vitamin E, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Bonus: It comes with a reasonable price tag.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $8.99
What to Look for in a Vitamin E Oil
1. Type of Vitamin E
There are two forms of vitamin E: tocopherol and tocopheryl acetate. Tocopherol is naturally occurring, while tocopheryl acetate is synthetic, explains Dr. Kung.
"Tocopheryl acetate is often used as an alternative to pure tocopherol because the phenolic hydroxyl group is blocked, providing a less acidic product with a longer shelf life," she says.
She recommends both varieties, but suggests that those with sensitive skin opt for products made with tocopheryl acetate, which offers more stability. (Examples include the Jason Skin Oil and Bio-Oil products above.)
2. Other Antioxidants
Marisa Garshick, MD, dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, recommends looking for vitamin E oils that are combined with other antioxidants.
"When vitamin E is combined with other antioxidants, like vitamin C, it can offer an even greater antioxidant benefit, while also helping to stabilize the vitamin C," she says. "Together this can make both antioxidants more effective and provide even greater benefits for skin issues like hyperpigmentation."
3. Your Skin's Reaction
For those with sensitive skin, Dr. Garshick recommends doing a patch test to confirm a product will be safe and effective. Do this by applying a small amount of oil to the skin first to ensure there is no reaction of the skin.
"Some people may be sensitive to vitamin E or other ingredients in products containing vitamin E," she says. Always check to see how your skin reacts during the patch test to determine if it can be used on your entire body.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.