Vitamin E is both a nutrient and antioxidant, and the oil in its purest form is extremely versatile. Known as tocopherol, it has a light brown/reddish hue and can be found in many skincare products.
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“Vitamin E has been used in skincare for so long that it sometimes gets overlooked when newer, more exotic-sounding ingredients are advertised in products,” shares Tatiana Kononov, Revision Skincare Director of Research & Development. “But the truth is, it’s a highly beneficial ingredient for the skin, especially when it’s combined with other antioxidants.” This helps skincare products form what Kononov refers to as a "first-string defense" against free radicals and other environmental damaging effects.
Vitamin E can be found at any drug or grocery store in either liquid or capsule form. Capsules can be punctured to release the oil for topical application. “Consumers should look for 'tocopherol' on the label when purchasing a product and make sure it’s combined with other antioxidants for the maximum benefits,” says Kononov. “Applying a little bit of vitamin E on a daily basis goes a long way.”
Why Vitamin E Oil May Be Good for Your Skin
As indicated by its vitamin classification, vitamin E is a nutrient to the skin. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) explains that it is an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, which damage cells and might contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer, reactive oxygen species (ROS) formed in the body when it converts food to energy, and environmental exposures such as pollution and ultraviolet radiation.
Although it is often debated in the wellness community whether or not vitamin E is truly is effective for your skin, the ODS says some of its functions can be beneficial. “The mechanisms by which vitamin E might provide this protection include its function as an antioxidant and its roles in anti-inflammatory processes, inhibition of platelet aggregation and immune enhancement.”
Kononov recommends that when purchasing a skincare product with vitamin E, you should look for one that has vitamin E combined with other antioxidants. She recommends vitamin C and CoEnzyme Q10, as antioxidants work best in blends.
How to Use Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil is found in many creams and lotions, most commonly in sunscreens, anti-aging moisturizers and skin brighteners. There are different ways to use vitamin E, depending on what you are hoping to treat:
Wrinkles: Wrinkles come from age, free radical damage, improper skin care and poor habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol in excess. According to the book Healing with Vitamins: The Most Effective Vitamin and Mineral Treatments for Everyday Health Problems and Serious Disease, vitamin E oil prevents the formation of wrinkles by blocking free radical damage. It treats wrinkles by boosting collagen production, a connective tissue that keeps skin elastic. Vitamin E oil also treats wrinkles by supporting new skin cell growth and speeding up cell regeneration.
Brown Spots: Brown spots on the skin are caused by aging, free radical damage and poor liver function. Vitamin E oil prevents and repairs free radical damage. When applied topically to brown spots on the skin, it helps to lighten and smooth the rough skin by lubricating cell membranes and encouraging cell regeneration.
Cuticles: Pure vitamin E oil is also an effective treatment for dry, cracked cuticles. Applying a few drops of vitamin E oil to nails and cuticles helps to rehydrate and smooth them as well as prevent future cracks.
Rough Skin: Vitamin E oil provides the skin with necessary moisture as well as antioxidants for intense healing. However, pure vitamin E oil is not ideal as a daily moisturizer because it is so thick and sticky. An intense vitamin E oil bedtime therapy is ideal for concentrated skin healing and preservation. Mix vitamin E oil with olive oil for smooth application and added therapy. Olive oil contains oleic acid, which makes skin more permeable and able to hold in necessary moisture.
Dry Lips: Just as vitamin E oil can help with rough skin, it can help soften dry lips.
Possible Side Effects of Vitamin E Oil
The Mayo Clinic reports that skin reactions, including inflammation or itching, have been reported with vitamin E applied to the skin. Additionally, breakouts can occur due to the additional moisture on the skin. However, Kononov notes that while some skin types are sensitive to vitamin E, it is a rare condition.
You should call your doctor immediately if you develop a skin rash after a vitamin E supplement or skin allergy such as dermatitis. Additionally, you can see an allergist or dermatologist for treatment.