Ingredient Spotlight: Vitamin E Oil

Back to Basics Skincare

Continuing our “Ingredient Spotlight” series, this week we’ll be delving into the various components that make vitamin E so powerful. Occurring naturally in the skin, vitamin E helps reduce signs of aging, softens skin, and can even increase the effectiveness of sunscreen. Below, we’ll take a deeper look into the composition of this versatile antioxidant.

“Vitamin E” refers to eight different organic, fat-soluble chemical compounds—four of which are tocopherols and four of which are the less-prevalent tocotrienols. Vitamin E is found naturally in the body, helping to fight free radicals and reducing inflammation. Our skin produces it naturally through our sebum, or natural protective oils. As an antioxidant, vitamin E also helps reduce inflammation. It can be found in plants, including soy and cotton. This vitamin can be taken orally, in supplements or multivitamins, and can also be applied topically to moisturize and soothe the skin.

How is vitamin E used in skin care products?

Found in many beauty and skin care products, vitamin E acts as a powerful moisturizer, soothing dry, irritated skin and preventing water loss. Many anti-aging products contain vitamin E; by fighting free radicals that contribute to the signs of aging, this powerful antioxidant helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

A true multitasker, vitamin E is also found in many sunscreens, as it helps increase the effectiveness of SPF. By absorbing the energy from UV rays, vitamin E provides photo-protection, preventing UV-induced free radical damage. It also helps combat environmental pollution and cigarette smoke. Applying vitamin E after a sunburn can also help relieve itchy, inflamed  skin.

How do the different types of vitamin E benefit my skin?

The four tocopherols—alpha, beta, gamma, delta—are the most common forms of vitamin E in skin care products. Each tocopherol contains unique features that allow our skin to effectively retain moisture and protect itself against environmental pollution.

Alpha (α) — Thanks to its easy absorption, permeating both the epidermis and the dermis, alpha-tocopherol is the most popular form of vitamin E in skin care products. Soothing and moisturizing, alpha-tocopherol helps protect against the harmful effects of UV rays while fighting free radicals. Some studies also show that it blocks the enzymes that break down elastin—a powerful protein that contributes to our skin’s youthfulness and elasticity. Alpha-tocopherol is often used in sunscreens and aftersun products, eye creams, moisturizing hair products, and anti-aging products.

Beta (β) — Beta-tocopherol also has antioxidant properties, protecting healthy skin cells from harmful free radicals and preventing cell degradation, thereby allowing for a more radiant, healthy complexion. Beta-tocopherol may also help increase the antioxidant power of alpha-tocopherol, as studies show that mixed tocopherols taken orally are more effective than just alpha-tocopherol in combating free radicals within the body.

Delta (δ) — Like alpha- and beta-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol also helps the skin retain moisture and firmness while preventing signs of aging. The only bioavailable form of vitamin E—which means it enters the bloodstream when introduced into the body—ingested delta-tocopherol has been found to prevent cancer formation and growth. This form of vitamin E can be found in various foods including nuts and soybean oil.

Gamma (γ) — Accounting for about 70% of all vitamin E intake in our diet, gamma tocopherol helps reduce inflammation, guards against certain cancers, and even protects against radiation exposure. In fact, researchers have only recently begun to understand the many unique benefits of gamma-tocopherol. And, like the other tocopherols, gamma-tocopherol also helps moisturize skin while defending against wrinkle-forming free radicals.

So what can I expect using vitamin E skin care products?

  • Help diminished wrinkles and fine lines
  • Smoother complexion
  • Softer, moisturized skin
  • Increased SPF effectiveness
  • Firmer, more youthful-looking skin
  • Helps repair photoaging due to sun exposure and alleviate sunburn
  • Help diminished appearance of stretch marks
  • Reduces free radicals

What’s the best way to incorporate vitamin E into my beauty routine?

Applying a gentle, soothing formula daily will improve the appearance of wrinkles while keeping skin soft and supple.

For a healthy dose of vitamin E, try our Macadamia nut Hydrating Oil - containing high levels of vitamin E—with alpha-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherols, this gentle but powerful oil/serum helps skin stay smooth, moisturized, and radiant. 

Manon von Csiky-Sessoms