Vitamin E is far from a recent addition to beauty cabinets. In the past, it was prominently featured in teen magazines as a remedy for treating acne and addressing residual scarring. Its acclaimed properties include hydration, antioxidant effects, and protective qualities, with assertions that it can even revitalize brittle hair. While the allure of experimenting with the newest products is understandable, there's merit in sticking to a tried-and-true favorite.
But what exactly is the role of vitamin E?
TYPE OF INGREDIENT: Barrier booster
MAIN BENEFITS: Seals in moisture, smooths skin, antioxidant
WHO SHOULD USE IT: In general, anyone with dry skin. Vitamin E is not recommended for sensitive skin.
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT?: You should only use vitamin E once a day maximum, preferably at night, as it is usually too thick to put under makeup.
WORKS WELL WITH: Vitamin C and ferulic acid.
DON'T USE WITH: Retinol/vitamin A
What Constitutes Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is classified as both an antioxidant vitamin and oil, often incorporated into antioxidant blend topicals or moisturizers within skincare routines. Typically available in oil or cream formulations, vitamin E plays a crucial role in skincare.
The human-metabolizable form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, is commonly synthesized but can also be sourced naturally. Avocado, pumpkin, and wheat germ oil are excellent natural providers of this vitamin, suitable for both external application and internal consumption.
It's worth noting that the type of vitamin E matters. Synthetic vitamin E comprises eight different forms, with only one identical to the natural molecule. Consequently, natural vitamin E is found to be at least twice as potent as its synthetic counterparts. It is also employed in cosmetics in the form of tocopheryl acetate. Given that natural D-alpha-tocopherol is approximately eight times more expensive than synthetic vitamin E, the latter is generally preferred in cosmetics, particularly in high-potency products. Additionally, synthetic vitamin E avoids the need for multiple processing steps to eliminate pesticides and weed killers, a concern not entirely resolved with natural vitamin E.
Advantages of Vitamin E for Dry Skin
Vitamin E maintains the freshness of lipids in your skin, safeguarding the integrity of your skin's protective barrier. This preservation helps seal minor cracks in the skin's barrier, preventing moisture loss and alleviating the sensation of tightness and dryness.
Sustains skin moisture: Expanding on the aforementioned point, vitamin E enables prolonged moisture retention between skin cells, surpassing the duration provided by products lacking this essential component. It delivers up to 16 hours of continuous hydration.
Promotes skin healing: The widespread appreciation for vitamin E, citing its significant role in accelerating the healing process of skin damage, including burns and wounds, at a rate that can be up to 50 percent faster. As an antioxidant, vitamin E also aids in healing sunburns and various forms of skin irritation and injury, while simultaneously increasing skin moisture content, contributing to its anti-aging properties.
Functions as an antioxidant: Vitamin E offers fat-soluble antioxidant benefits, neutralizing harmful free radicals and inhibiting the oxidation of sebum (oil), thereby preventing blackheads. The term "antioxidant" pertains to antioxidation, and vitamin E may impede the darkening process of the tip of blocked oil in pores through its antioxidative properties.
Soothes the skin: Formulations incorporating vitamin E provide conditioning to skin exposed to environmental elements. This ingredient works to smoothen the skin and restore comfort after exposure to pollution and sun damage.
Offers sun protection: Vitamin E serves a photo-protective role as well. When combined with vitamin C and applied under sunscreen, it can enhance sun protection fourfold compared to sunscreen alone.
Possible Adverse Effects of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is identified as comedogenic, signifying its potential to block pores and contribute to breakouts. Individuals prone to acne and breakouts are advised to steer clear of using vitamin E altogether.
We caution you against the direct application of pure vitamin E from capsules to the skin, especially in the delicate and thinner skin around the eyes, as it may induce dermatitis-type reactions. Those who have experienced dermatitis resulting from skincare products understand the importance of conducting a patch test before using it in this area.
Oral Supplements versus Topical Application of Vitamin E
Although vitamin E is naturally present in various foods, and while our need for it may increase with age, most individuals do not require a dietary supplement. Topical vitamin E, commonly found in skincare products, not only offers a safer alternative but also allows for targeted treatment of specific skin areas. Some opt to extract vitamin E from supplement capsules for direct skin application, but this approach may be sensitizing and lead to unwanted irritation. If considering oral supplementation, it is advisable to consult with a physician first, as vitamin E could potentially interfere with medications.
For targeted treatment, puncturing a vitamin E capsule and applying the oil to a specific scar or area for a few weeks. She highlights the antioxidant properties of vitamin E, extensively studied for its ability to combat premature aging. Using a minimal amount and gentle patting for those with sensitive skin. Breakouts or redness may signal intolerance to the ingredient.
Addressing concerns about comedogenicity, when incorporated into skincare formulations, vitamin E is present in small concentrations, different from directly applying pure vitamin E from capsules. This dilution is likely sufficient to mitigate any issues. However, when exploring a new product, the importance of conducting a patch test due to uncertainties about purity percentage and individual skin reactions—an essential practice for any ingredient in any product.
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II DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, not everything works for everybody. I recommend you test the product before completely using any new product. II