Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for health, and a powerful antioxidant to boot. This nutrient is well known for its skin benefits, but what you might not know is that many of the creams and lotions proudly displaying their vitamin E content contain very little of the nutrient and in a form that is unstable and poorly absorbed. If you're interested in the benefits of vitamin E for skin health, read on to find out which type of vitamin E to look out for, and what this antioxidant can do for you.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds with varying degrees of antioxidant activity. Humans require a good intake of vitamin E in tocopherol form to support health throughout life. This can be in forms including tocopheryl acetate, tocopheryl linoleate, or tocopheryl nicotinate. Vitamin E is present in foods such as nuts, seeds, and leafy greens, including spinach, and requires the presence of fat to be properly absorbed and used in the body.
We need vitamin E for healing and immune function, healthy circulation and reproductive health, and, of course, for skin health. Vitamin E acts as a potent antioxidant, helping to protect cell membranes and keep them flexible and functional (Krol et al., 2000). Vitamin E also helps protect our skin against ultraviolet radiation from the sun (Packer & Valacchi, 2002). Specifically, this antioxidant helps to reduce free radical and oxidative damage to the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin as well as mitochondrial DNA in skin cells (Addor, 2017).
Collagen and elastin are essential for the plump, firm, and elastic skin of our youth, while protecting DNA means our skin cells can function and reproduce in healthy ways. It's no surprise, then, that vitamin E can help guard against visible signs of ageing such as wrinkles, age spots, and fine lines, as well as against skin cancer and sunburn (Addor, 2017). Collagen is also important for maintaining skin hydration and, with it, a good supply of essential nutrients and efficient removal of metabolic waste products and toxins. As collagen levels decline and collagen fibres become damaged, your skin is less able to stay hydrated and healthy, which increases the risk of additional skin damage.
Vitamin E may also help with healing from cuts, scrapes, and burns, but shouldn't be applied to any open wounds. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to pure vitamin E oil, and the pure oil may not be suitable for use on very oily skin as it is also oil-soluble and heavier than other creams and lotions.
For oily skin, check out Jason C-Effects Pure Natural Lotion, which offers antioxidant protection in a lighter form suitable for all skin types. If you’re looking for intense support for dry skin, though, vitamin E is ideal, especially for skin frequently exposed to the sun, such as the backs of your hands and your face. Just be sure to choose a vitamin E product such as Jason Vitamin E Skin Oil that contains a meaningful amount of the nutrient as vitamin E acetate!
Why Choose Vitamin E Acetate?
Tocopheryl acetate, or vitamin E acetate, is a stable form of vitamin E that can penetrate the upper layer of dead skin cells to travel deeper to the living cells. Tocopheryl acetate is an esther (basically, a combination) of acetic acid and tocopherol (vitamin E), and it is often used in skin treatments because it is not oxidised and is well absorbed. Once absorbed, tocopheryl acetate is converted into free vitamin E and can provide antioxidant protection in the skin's cells. Vitamin E acetate appears to be released slowly in the skin to provide active vitamin E support, including against UV damage (Beijersbergen et al., 1995).
Given these benefits of vitamin E for skin health, the smart choice is to use a daily vitamin E acetate treatment to replenish vitamin E stores in the skin. Whether you're young and proactive about skin protection, or you're older and already have signs of premature ageing, tocopheryl acetate (link to Jason's vitamin E oil) is a great choice for healthy skin.
Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, G.M., Junginger, H.E., & de Vries, H. (1995). Hydrolysis of RRR-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E acetate) in the skin and its UV protecting activity (an in vivo study with the rat). J Photochem Photobiol B, Jul;29(1):45-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7472802
Addor, F.A.S. (2017). Antioxidants in dermatology. An Bras Dermatol, May-Jun;92(3):356-362. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.20175697.
Krol, E.S., Kramer-Stickland, K.A., & Liebler, D.C. (2000). Photoprotective actions of topically applied vitamin E. Drug Metab Rev, 32:413–420. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11139138
Packer, L., & Valacchi, G. (2002). Antioxidants and the response of skin to oxidative stress: vitamin E as a key indicator. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol, 15:282–290. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12239421