Ingredients Deep Dive: Vitamin E

Unlock the power of vitamin E for your skin. Learn how this natural component can moisturise and protect the skin.

believe in ingredients: vitamin e

Vitamin E is a naturally occurring component of healthy skin that also contributes to the normal functioning of the body. It is found throughout the body in various quantities, with high concentrations found in the skin. Those with oily skin will have higher levels, as it is highly concentrated in sebum.

What Is Vitamin E

Vitamin E is both a humectant and an emollient, as it not only helps the skin to absorb moisture, but it also helps to trap and retain the moisture within the skin. It also has significant antioxidant properties, so it is useful for a range of skin concerns and for skin repair.

Benefits of Vitamin E

This fabulous ingredient provides a variety of benefits for the skin:

  • Moisturises
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Strengthens skin barrier
  • Protects from UV exposure 
  • Boosts cell turnover & regeneration 
  • Fades acne scarring
  • Fades hyperpigmentation

What Should My Skincare Label Say

There are 8 recognised subtypes of naturally occurring vitamin E. However, tocopherol is the only form that is recognised to “meet human requirements”. Therefore, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate is generally what will appear on your skincare label. 

Tocopherol can be broken down further, indicating whether it is naturally or synthetically sourced.  

  • d-alpha-tocopherol
  • d-alpha-tocopherol acetate
  • dl-alpha tocopherol 
  • dl-alpha tocopherol acetate

Skincare ingredients with a “d” at the beginning are those that are derived from natural sources, e.g. vegetable oils. Ingredients beginning with “dl” are those that are created from a synthetic base. Research suggests that natural forms are more effective than synthetic forms. However, many skincare labels will not highlight whether the vitamin E is derived naturally or not.

How Do I Use Vitamin E 

To replenish vitamin E topically on your skin, you could use a pure oil, or incorporate a vitamin E product into your skincare routine. Serums, oils, and moisturisers are all beneficial for the skin. Vitamin E does not have to be the main ingredient in the products. If you are new to it, it is useful to try a moisturiser, as oils and serums contain high concentrates. Moisturisers with as little as 0.1% vitamin E can significantly boost levels in the skin. 

Consider the order that you layer your products if you are using a vitamin E oil. Oil can penetrate cream to absorb into your skin, but a cream product will not absorb if the products are layered the other way around. Oils should go onto the skin second to last, just before SPF. 

As the body cannot synthesise Vitamin E, you can also boost levels by consuming it, as it is generally absorbed via your diet. 

Consuming Vitamin E 

Your diet should provide your body with all of the vitamins it needs. Foods such as mango, kiwi, broccoli, spinach, seeds, nuts and oils are great for boosting vitamin E levels. Any of the vitamins that your body does not use is stored until you need it. 

Why Are Antioxidants So Important

Antioxidants, as the name suggests, prevent oxidative damage to cells by helping to remove free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms as they have an odd number of electrons. Usually, molecules have an even number of electrons. So, free radicals will take an electron from wherever they can (from skin cells, blood cells etc.)  to stabilise themselves. This process causes damage to surrounding cells. 

Antioxidants are the perfect partner for free radicals, as they are also unstable and have an uneven number of electrons. However, unlike free radicals, antioxidants don’t steal from stable molecules. So, antioxidants don’t cause damage to the skin. However, antioxidants will take an electron from a free radical, allowing them both to become stable. Therefore, antioxidants such as vitamin E protect the skin from damage. 

Without antioxidants, free radicals will take molecules from wherever they can get them, which causes oxidative stress. The molecules that lose an electron to the free radicals become unstable and damaged, and potentially die. This results in cellular damage, right down to the DNA level. 

When your body experiences oxidative stress, signs of ageing and disease are likely to be present too. For example, excess sun exposure can cause oxidative stress in the skin. This can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, skin cancers etc. 

Free radicals have been connected to symptoms of ageing skin, cancers, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases etc. 

Vitamin E & UV Rays

As it is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to highlight how Vitamin E can enhance your SPF. You can use an SPF product that has vitamin E in it, or add a pure vitamin E to your routine for extra protection against damage caused by UV rays. This ingredient absorbs UVB rays to protect the skin and minimise inflammatory responses, such as redness and swelling. Inflammatory skin conditions are a leading cause of premature signs of ageing on the skin, so vitamin E will enhance the health and appearance of your skin too. It is important to note that Vitamin E should not be used to replace your sunscreen, as it does not have sunscreen action alone, and does not offer any protection against UVA rays. 

SkinBase Daily Repair and Protect 

The SkinBase Daily Repair and Protect cream is a combined moisturiser and SPF cream that contains vitamin E, to provide enhanced regenerative and protective benefits for the skin. It is a daily skin staple product, with wide spectrum UVA and UVB protection to defend the skin against sun damage and premature ageing.