Vitamin E is good for your skin – right?

Jun. 2
You are what you eat, so they say. But you are also what you put on your skin. Vitamins are an essential part of your skincare routine, but how much do you actually know about vitamin E? As it turns out, vitamin E is really important for protecting your skin and helping you maintain a healthy complexion. Have you wondered what vitamin E actually is, how it works and how to actually use it? Read on to find out more.
What is it?
Vitamin E is a bit of a misnomer, because in fact, vitamin E refers to a class of 8 oil-soluble anti-oxidants; 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. Vitamin E is naturally synthesized by your body, but can also be made in a lab. Because the natural version is so expensive to obtain at mass scale, you’ll most likely find a synthetic form of Vitamin E called tocopheryl acetate in your skincare products.
What does it do?
Vitamin E’s chemical structure gives it a magical ability to fight off free-radicals – which are unstable atoms commonly caused by UV radiation that will steal electrons off your skin and cell membranes, thereby causing damage that can accumulate to cause aging of the skin. Vitamin E is able to help stave off such damage by being an electron donor to these free radicals, so instead of nicking electrons from you skin, they’ll take them off the vitamin E instead, and in so doing form a bond that neutralizes them from further damage. Clever, isn’t it?
These anti-oxidant properties of vitamin E make it a prized ingredient for moisturizers, creams and sunscreen. Not only does it fight off free radicals, it can also slow blackhead formation by inhibiting the oxidation of sebum.
In addition to its anti-oxidant effects, vitamin E also accelerates and facilitates the healing of skin damage – scars, burns or damage from the sun – by as much as 50%! Besides, it also retains moisture and increases the moisture content of your skin by protecting the lipid layer of your skin and keeping it intact. That’s why you’ll find vitamin E in many anti-aging formulas.
One study even found that oral supplements of vitamin E significantly relieved eczema, and topical use of vitamin E may have a similar effect.
Who should use it?
Vitamin E is most suitable for those with normal to dry skin types. It’s not advisable for people with very sensitive, very oily or acne-prone skin. Though very rare, occurring in less than 1% of the population, vitamin E can be an allergen to some, causing irritation, itching or even rashes.
How to use it?
Vitamin E is easily absorbed into the skin, and applying it in the form of creams, moisturizers and oils will increase its concentration in sebaceous glands to give your skin the beneficial effects described above. When using a product containing vitamin E for the first time, you may want to select a moisturizer instead of a serum, since serums tend to have a higher concentration and are therefore more potent. It’s probably also a good idea to patch test on a spot of skin to make sure you won’t get dermatitis before using it. Vitamin E can also be found in its pure form in capsules, and you can apply the oil to a scar or an area of skin that you’d like to heal.
Lastly, vitamin E and vitamin C work well together to improve the appearance of your skin. Studies have shown that vitamin E and vitamin C used together with sunscreen can provide four times the sun protection compared to just using sunscreen on its own.
On the face of it, it does sound like Vitamin E’s amazing. It prevents oxidation, moisturizes and heals the skin. But, the scientific community has thrown up some mixed evidence towards its efficacy. A recent study showed that vitamin E’s effects in scar healing isn’t clear cut, with some participants showing a significant improvement whilst others reporting increased itching and even a rash. And although it’s commonly found in sunscreens, there’s limited evidence to suggest that vitamin E can actually prevent or reduce sunburns. This isn’t to say that vitamin E is bad – it continues to be a great choice for cosmetic use, but just make sure that apart from ingesting and applying a healthy dose of vitamin E, to also have a healthy dose of scepticism and validate some of the claims before believing what you read.
Did you just go look for vitamin E in your skincare product label? Tell us about how you use it and what you like and don’t like about it below!
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