It’s not just your insides that need a good balance of vitamins -- your outer layer does too. Vitamin E is one of the most important ingredients for healthy skin. While the body releases some vitamin E into the skin through natural oils, or sebum, you can increase your intake by consuming more vegetable oils, nuts and green vegetables. But eating the right foods doesn’t necessarily mean your skin gets all the vitamin E it needs -- creams can provide specific forms of the vitamin not found in food.
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Protect from Sun Damage
Sunlight generates wrinkle-causing free radicals, but applying a vitamin E cream can boost the skin’s natural defenses against harmful ultra-violet light. It protects against damage by both blocking and absorbing the UV rays; vitamin E is thought to provide more protection against UVB than against UVA rays, so the cream shouldn’t be relied on as a sunscreen by itself. Medical studies have found creams that combine vitamin E with vitamin C have a greater ability to prevent sunburn.
The world is full of damaging free radicals, and sunlight is just one of them. In addition to premature wrinkling caused by sun exposure, free radicals in pollution can reduce the skin’s natural levels of vitamin E, making it more susceptible to wrinkles. Smokers are bombarded by these damaging substances from both inside and out -- cigarettes cause the body to produce free radicals and the smoke itself is packed with them. Moisturize with a face cream containing vitamin E, and you can harness its anti-oxidant properties to help protect against each of these types of potentially aging free radicals. It’s also thought that cream containing the alpha-Tocopherol form of vitamin E may reduce the depth of existing wrinkles and shorten facial lines.
In spite of sunscreen diligence, sunburns are sometimes unavoidable. Harness the healing power of vitamin E by gently smoothing a cream containing vitamin E acetate over the sore areas. This specific type of the vitamin can reduce redness, sensitivity and swelling. One study has shown vitamin E cream can still soothe skin even when applied up to 8 hours after getting sunburned. Store the cream in the fridge for an added cooling sensation on irritated skin.
Soothe Shaved Skin
Limit razor burn and irritation by using a shaving cream containing vitamin E. When you’re removing hair from sensitive skin areas, like the underarms or the bikini line, there’s an increased chance of sore, post-shaving redness. Soothe the rash with a cream containing vitamin E, which can act as an anti-inflammatory. Men who suffer from razor burn can get the same relief from a vitamin E cream to calm the skin and reduce redness on the chin and neck.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E Fact Sheet
- Oregon State University: Vitamin E and Skin Health
- US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health: Photoprotective Actions of Topically Applied Vitamin E
- US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health: UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E
- US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health: Reduction of sunburn damage to skin by topical application of vitamin E acetate following exposure to ultraviolet B radiation: effect of delaying application or of reducing concentration of vitamin E acetate applied
- Epigee: Hair Removal
- Oprah: The Wrinkle Report
- NYU Langdone Medical Center: Aging Skin