The Benefits of Vitamin E for Skin
Smooth and glowy skin has always been the aspiration for many. One of the most ubiquitous ingredients to help us achieve that healthy glow is none other than vitamin E. Scour through the ingredient list of your moisturizing skin care products, eye creams, or serums, and you will most likely find the presence of vitamin E. In our past article, we've covered this underrated ingredient in our skincare ingredients to-watch-list.
So, what is vitamin E exactly? Does it actually contribute to the improvement of our skin appearance and quality or is it just a marketing scheme? What is the best way to use vitamin E?
In this article, we'll discuss this amazing yet overlooked ingredient, elaborate on the perks of using vitamin E, and how you can incorporate vitamin E into your daily routine.
What is Vitamin E?
Did you know that vitamin E is not a substance? In fact, the term "vitamin E" refers to a group of eight similarly-structured nutrients that have slightly different functions. One of the most abundant and biologically active types of vitamin E is called α-tocopherol (alpha-tocopherol), and it can naturally be found in the human body. Another commonly encountered form of vitamin E in cosmeceuticals is called tocopheryl acetate, which is the synthetically derived ester of tocopherol. A study mentions that the esterified version of tocopherol has higher stability and longer shelf life and the same effectiveness for skin penetration, making it a more desirable component for skincare products.
Occurring organically in food such as avocado, hazelnuts, and broccoli, vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient which means that it is kept in our fatty tissues and liver. This is backed up by research that suggests a high level of vitamin E can be found in our skin lipid layer (sebum) creating a natural moisture barrier to protect our skin from being desiccated. Since people with oily skin have more sebum, it is safe to assume that they also have more vitamin E on their skin. As we age, our skin moisture level will deplete and so will sebum and vitamin E production, causing wrinkles and fine lines to appear.
Further research states that vitamin E has become one of the most important non-enzymatic antioxidative agents, and when combined with vitamin C, it has proven to be effective in improving skin discoloration.
The Benefits of Vitamin E for Skin
- Preserving skin's natural barrier
Dr. Peter M. Elias, an Epidermal Biology Expert illustrated an analogy to Ané.) that the Stratum Corneum (outermost layer of the skin) is like a brick wall where the skin cells are the bricks and the lipid acts as the cement that keeps the bricks together. Due to its lipophilic nature, vitamin E is a major player in replenishing the skin's natural moisturizing barrier because it maintains the lipid supply on our skin. Thus, Vitamin E will help skin cells retain moisture and keep our skin feeling and looking hydrated.
Expert Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist, explained that vitamin E is a double hydrating molecule because it works both as a humectant and an emollient. This means not only can vitamin E attract water molecules to the skin, but it can also lock the moisture in.
- Neutralizing the harmful free radicals
Vitamin E as an antioxidant is nothing new. Its main purpose is to scavenge those free radicals to prevent damage to the cells. Several studies have indicated that vitamin E inadequacy contributes to an increase in molecular damage, inflammation, and accelerated aging of the skin. Since vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, it can also discourage oil (sebum) oxidation hindering blackheads formation.
- Safeguarding skin from the sun
There has been numerous research investigating the photoprotective properties of vitamin E, and the conclusion is that applying vitamin E topically prior to sun exposure significantly reduced sunburn cell damage and acute skin response such as edema and erythema. Moreover, topical vitamin E also conduces in alleviating prolonged chronic UVB and UVA effects such as wrinkles and skin cancer.
UV radiation is known to exacerbate collagen degradation and will lead to preceding aging. Hence, vitamin E along with its equally amazing friend vitamin C work synergistically--usually in sunscreen products--to combat oxidative stressors from the environment. Their alliance in protecting the skin from sun damage has been proven by a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
How to Use Vitamin E
There are two ways to apply vitamin E onto the skin, using pure vitamin E oil or products formulated with vitamin E. However, layering oil can be a tricky task if you have multiple products in one regimen. The suggested procedure, if you want to use pure vitamin E oil, is to layer the oil after a cream product (e.g. moisturizer). Since vitamin E is oil-soluble, it will be able to penetrate through the cream and help lock in the moisture. It is worth noting that oil is generally heavier and thus might feel too heavy and greasy for an AM routine, especially if you want to top it off with makeup.
Dr. Ciraldo recommends applying vitamin E-formulated serums or creams onto the face and vitamin E oil for the other parts of the body, such as the legs or arms. Fellow board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, David Kim, M.D., addressed Allure that those with oily or acne-prone skin should be cautious with vitamin E oil, as it can potentially exacerbate breakouts. It's better to apply products containing vitamin E to minimize the potential of clogged pores.
EWG's Skin Deep rates vitamin E as a safe ingredient and it works generally well with other chemicals. Now that you know all there is to know about vitamin E, we encourage you to integrate it properly with your existing skincare routine. Our Facial Hydrating Lotion is great for normal, dry, and even sensitive skin types. Try it out now! It's never too early to fight chronological aging.
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