Vitamin E for face – what is it for and how to use it

Vitamin E combines a whole family of 8 tocopherols and tocotrienols, which belong to the category of essential nutrients that are not synthesized by the body, so they must enter it from outside. It is found in egg yolks, oilseeds, avocados, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, whole grains and vegetable oils. This fat-soluble vitamin is very beneficial for the skin, providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the cells of the epidermis, effectively fighting aging. That is why vitamin E is often used in various cosmetic formulas.

Vitamin E is called the vitamin of “beauty and youth”. This fat-soluble nutrient is part of the cell membranes, gives the epidermis elasticity and plasticity, protects the skin cells from aging.

Aging of the body in general and the skin in particular is largely associated with oxidative stress caused by free radicals. When the amount of oxidants, caused by ultraviolet rays, environmental pollution, smoking, improper nutrition and lifestyle, exceeds the natural antioxidant abilities of the body, cells and, in particular, their DNA, are damaged. The harmful process worsens with age. At the skin level, this damage manifests itself as wrinkles, spots, redness and even cancer.

Cell membranes are the first line, because they consist of fatty acids, very sensitive to oxidation. Vitamin E acts as a trap for free radicals, limiting the chain reaction of oxidative stress. That is why it is very often used in anti-aging care and sun protection, strengthening the protective mechanisms of the skin.

It has been established that vitamin E has the following properties:

  • has a general antioxidant effect
  • moisturizes and softens the epidermis
  • regenerates tissues
  • has an anti-inflammatory effect
  • strengthens the skin barrier hair and nails
  • protects from sunlight
  • improves blood circulation in the vessels
  • prevents skin aging

Tocopherol optimizes the delivery of nutrients to the skin and detoxifies it. It plays a very important role in healing and regeneration of skin tissues, activates microcirculation of blood, which positively affects the hair follicles – hence its high reputation in relation to hair growth and nail strengthening.

Scientists have noticed that rats with ulcers on their bodies have changes in the cross-links of skin collagen and a deficiency of vitamin E. The exact cause of such effects has not been established, but these studies may indicate the importance of vitamin E for health and youth of the skin.

Studies on rodents also showed that the use of alpha-tocopherol or alpha-tocopherol acetate before exposure to ultraviolet light reduces lipid peroxidation in the cells of the epidermis. When applied topically, vitamin E significantly increases the photoprotection of the skin. Blocking part of the UVB rays, it prevents the appearance of sunburns, limits inflammatory reactions, such as redness, erythema and edema, therefore it is an obligatory component of sunscreens for the skin.

Cosmetics rich in tocopherol can regenerate dehydrated skin, and due to the improvement of metabolic processes, the healing of skin tissues is accelerated. Vitamin E provides the skin with the necessary fat to restore comfort and radiance. Providing excellent hydration, it reduces insensitive water loss, promotes natural collagen production, thus supporting the elasticity of the epidermis.


Thanks to the ability of tocopherol to block UV rays, it prevents pigmentation caused by solar radiation. In addition, scientists claim that this substance can inhibit the production of melanin in the skin, thus preventing the appearance of pigment spots.

Vitamin E eliminates irritation and peeling, evens out the tone and often enters the composition of whitening cosmetics along with vitamin C, alpha-arbutin and other components, effective in fighting hyperpigmentation and dark circles under the eyes.

Studies on animal skin have shown that the combined use of two antioxidants vitamin C and E before UV exposure helps to avoid sunburns and DNA damage, reduce pigmentation and suppress erythema.

Does vitamin E lighten the skin? According to a number of dermatological studies, products with vitamin E in the composition can lighten pigment spots, even out the complexion and make stretch marks and scars less noticeable.

Prevention of aging and wrinkles on the face

There are conflicting data on this. Some studies have shown that topical application of vitamin E derivatives to the skin for 2-4 weeks contributes to its hydration and smoothing of wrinkles. This is associated with the fact that vitamin E stimulates the production of collagen – a structural protein that gives tissues mechanical resistance to stretching, thus preventing the appearance of wrinkles. In addition, due to its antioxidant action, it protects the skin from irreversible damage caused by the presence of free radicals.

However, other studies have shown that tocopherol can prevent the formation of new wrinkles, but cannot significantly reduce the already existing ones. When analyzing the diet of Japanese women, scientists did not find a clear relationship between this nutrient and the formation of wrinkles.

Despite the lack of reliable data on the effect of vitamin E on this aesthetic problem, cosmetologists recommend including creams and masks enriched with vitamin E in their care to prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Conducted studies have shown anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties of vitamin E. Laboratory experiments on mice have established that two forms of vitamin E – alpha-tocopherol acetate and gamma-tocotrienol – can reduce the synthesis of interleukin – an anti-inflammatory cytokine, as well as reduce the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and NADPH oxidase, caused by ultraviolet light. Moreover, such an effect is observed both with oral intake and with topical application of vitamin.

It works against all diseases that cause irritation and inflammation of the skin, such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, and also helps healing of weakened and dehydrated skin.

Some laboratory studies have shown that alpha-tocopherol acetate can partially prevent the occurrence of erythema, edema and hyperkeratosis when applied before or immediately after irradiation.

To date, there is enough reliable data on the successful use of vitamin E derivatives in the therapy of chronic dermatological diseases, both in combination with other vitamins and in monotherapy.

For cosmetic purposes, you can use liquid vitamin E from capsules, mixing it with regular moisturizing creams.

Makes lips soft and smooth

Being a natural moisturizer for the skin, vitamin E has a softening effect on dry skin of the lips. Increasing the protective barrier of the epidermis, it protects the lips from the negative effects of atmospheric factors: sun, wind, frost. Promoting collagen production, it makes them more plump and smooth.

What you need to know about vitamin E in food

Being a fat-soluble substance, vitamin E is mainly found in fats and most of all – in vegetable oils. Fruits, seeds of oil crops, sprouts and seeds of vegetables, vegetable oils are some of the main sources of it. Due to the size of the portions consumed (from 100 g to 200 g), vegetables are the second food source of tocopherol. While a portion of oil contains up to 10 g of this nutrient (90% of the daily norm), 150 g of boiled spinach covers only 25% of the adult’s need for vitamin E.

The richest source of vitamin E is wheat germ oil, sunflower, olive, soybean, corn, and grape seed oil. It is abundant in nuts, seeds, sprouts of whole grain cereals. From 12 to 18% of this nutrient can be obtained from vegetables and fruits. The most tocopherols are found in spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, asparagus and chestnuts.

What else is useful to know about vitamin E? This nutrient is not afraid of high temperatures, but is sensitive to light and oxygen, so products with a high content of tocopherol should be stored in a dark place tightly sealed. The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is 12 mg per day. This value serves as a guideline for labeling food products in Europe regardless of the age and gender of the target audience. And an overdose is considered to be the consumption of more than 300 mg of vitamin E per day.

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