Vitamin E is one of the most popular ingredients in skin-care products. It's commonly added to creams, lotions, eye serums, anti-aging treatments and ointments for specific skin disorders. This nutrient exhibits photoprotective, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, guarding your skin from oxidative stress and UV radiation. A quality vitamin E skin cream can take years off your face and reverse the signs of aging.
Heals Skin Naturally
One of the primary benefits of vitamin E lies in its ability to heal the skin. According to a 2014 review published in the International Wound Journal, this nutrient accelerates wound healing by modulating gene expression and cellular signaling. It also has positive effects on connective tissue growth factor, leading to faster tissue repair and regeneration.
Read more: Vitamin E & Wound Closure
If you have any wounds on your face or body, you may apply a vitamin E ointment on the affected area. Consult your doctor beforehand; she may recommend a dermatologically tested formula with no harsh ingredients or chemicals to worsen your symptoms.
Scars can affect your confidence as well as your looks. As Cleveland Clinic points out, these marks are a natural part of the healing process. As your skin recovers from burns, cuts and other injuries, your body begins to form new collagen to offset the damage. When your wound heals, a scar takes its place.
According to a review published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in 2016, there's no significant evidence that vitamin E reduces the appearance of scars when applied topically. However, subjects in three of the six included studies saw major improvements after using a vitamin E ointment. Two other studies have found that topical vitamin E may cause skin rashes, itching and contact dermatitis. This nutrient, though, appears to be effective against scars when used in combination therapy.
Read more: Normal Healing of Scars & Blisters
So the evidence is mixed. Vitamin E skin cream may or may not work for you. The subjects enrolled in these studies reported either major improvement or no improvement. Stay on the safe side and discuss your options with a dermatologist before treating your scars.
Hundreds of studies indicate that oxidative stress is a major contributing factor to aging and chronic diseases. A 2017 review article featured in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging notes that reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS)— or free radicals — alter our DNA and other cellular macromolecules like proteins, lipids and carbs, a process that accelerates the aging process.
Oxidative stress occurs when the human body can no longer neutralize these compounds or repair damaged tissues; it may also result from an overproduction of free radicals in your system. Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, bad eating habits and lack of exercise, further increase RONS concentrations in the body.
Read more: 21 Anti-Aging Foods
Even though the above studies state that vitamins have a limited ability to fight oxidative stress, clinical evidence confirms the antioxidant power of vitamin E. According to a 2014 study published in the Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, this nutrient may protect against heart disease, cancer and the effects of aging due to its antioxidant activity. Other studies indicate that vitamin E may prevent and treat diseases mediated by free radicals.
Potential Vitamin E Cream Benefits
The use of vitamin E for face and body treatments remains controversial. Even though this fat-soluble nutrient increases skin hydration and moisture, its effects on scar appearance, eczema, stretch marks and wounds require further research. A quality vitamin E lotion can benefit your skin and may protect it from free radicals, but don't expect it to be a cure-all.
Read more: Vitamin E for Eczema
Additionally, not all vitamin E skin-cream formulas are created equal. Some contain too little of this ingredient to be effective. Others are loaded with additives and chemicals that may worsen acne, rosacea and other skin conditions.
If you still want to give it a try, make your own vitamin E ointment or cream at home. All you need are a few basic ingredients like vitamin E oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter or shea butter. Another option is to add a few drops of vitamin E oil to your body lotions and facial creams. Before using these products, test them on your wrist or the side of your neck to see how your skin reacts.
- Indian Dermatology Online Journal: Vitamin E in Dermatology
- International Wound Journal: Vitamin E and Wound Healing
- Cleveland Clinic: Scars: Frequently Asked Questions
- Aesthetic Surgery Journal: The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management
- Clinical Interventions in Aging: Oxidative Stress, Aging and Diseases
- The British Journal of Nutrition: Vitamin E Function and Requirements in Relation to PUFA
- Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal: The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases
- The Korean Journal of Internal Medicine: Evidence for Beneficial Effects of Vitamin E
- Oprah: The Wrinkle Report
- NYU Langdone Medical Center: Aging Skin