Skin care products - Vitamin E


For additional information, please review the following:

Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 27;19(1). pii: E70. doi: 10.3390/ijms19010070. Review. PMID: 29280987

Overview of vitamin E for the face and skin

Vitamin E for the face and skin is derived from both natural and synthetic sources. Tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E. Pure vitamin E is too sticky and its scent is too unpleasant for practical use, so it is mixed with other ingredients like coconut oil to make it viscous enough for topical application. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. As such, it prevents free radical damage that results in premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging. When molecules in the skin have a number of electrons in the outer shell that are even in number, the molecules are stable, and the skin is safe from damage. Molecules that have an odd number of electrons are unstable and referred to as free radicals. To attain stability, these unstable molecules will take an electron from the stable molecules in your skin. In turn, this makes the molecules in the skin unstable. In a chain reaction, the process continues throughout the other molecules in the skin. The process is called free-radical damage and it destroys the skin at the cellular level and damages the skin’s DNA causing premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging. Free radicals occur and accumulate when the skin is subjected to air pollution, ultraviolet rays from the sun and other adverse conditions. The skin is the body’s barrier to these external hazards, and this being the case, takes the brunt of the damage. Vitamin E reacts with free radicals to stabilize them, and by doing so, ends the process of free radical damage. The body does not produce vitamin E on its own, so to get vitamin E to the skin, it must be applied topically. Consuming vitamin E as part of daily diet helps, but the most effective means is topically.  

Snapshot of vitamin E

  • Mixes well with: almond oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, rice bran oil, soybean oil Benefits to the skin: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, hydrates, moisturizes, and photoprotects.
  • Treats: cold sores, UV damage, sunburn, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, age spots, dark spots, and melasma
  • Used in products: moisturizers, sunscreens, skin creams, lotions, serums and skin brighteners.
Products with vitamin E: Pitta Facial Oil, Amla Skin Brightening Lotion, Ayurvedic Kapha Facial Oil, Ayurvedic Vata Facial Oil, and Jasmin Serum[Information provided by JustDerma]

6 Benefits of vitamin E for the face and skin:

1. Antioxidant

As discussed above, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant especially in its natural (non-synthetic) form. As an antioxidant, vitamin E can offer photoprotection benefits by protecting the skin from free-radical damage caused by exposure to the sun. This would also help to prevent skin cancer. To realize the photoprotection benefits for the skin, vitamin E must be applied topically as research has shown that vitamin E consumed in daily diet confers no photoprotection benefits.  When combined with vitamin C (another antioxidant) the antioxidant capabilities of vitamin E are increased. This is because vitamin C recycles vitamin E molecules that have been oxidized. On its own, when the vitamin E molecule neutralizes a free radical, it gets used up. However, when combined with vitamin C, the vitamin E molecule reactivated so that it can be used again to fight another free radical.  


Vitamin E enables the skin cells to retain water, and in doing so, maintains hydration levels within the skin. Vitamin C is also effective on the lips to prevent dry and chapped lips. Vitamin E relieves flakiness and dryness.  

3. Anti-inflammatory

Studies have shown that vitamin E reduces the inflammation associated with sunburn caused by over exposure to the sun and UV damage. Vitamin E's anti-inflammatory benefits are greatest when applied immediately after sunburn occurs, however substantial benefits are realized even when applied many hours later. Vitamin E also relieves the inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis.  

4. Skin lightener

Vitamin E is effective in treating discoloration related to hyperpigmentation, age spots, dark spots, and melasma. Providing skin its color is melanin which is a pigment. When excessive levels of melanin are produced, dark spots and discoloration occurs. Vitamin E has been shown to depigment the skin and lighten the dark spots. Vitamin E’s ability to depigment the skin is enhanced when it is combined with vitamin C.  

5. Treats cold sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and there is no cure for this unsightly and uncomfortable condition that appears on the lips. However, vitamin E relieves the swelling, pain and blisters affecting the area.  

6. Relieves Psoriasis

Vitamin E helps alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis. It heals the affected skin and scaly skin patches that accompanies psoriasis  

What vitamin E oil is NOT good for (according to research)

  • Vitamin E for the face and skin is a well-researched substance and has many proven benefits as described above. However, claims have been made that vitamin E possesses particular benefits, but unfortunately, such claims are not supported by research. Some of these unsubstantiated claims are as follows:
  • Vitamin E prevents and treat stretch marks- vitamin E in topical form was the focus of 6 studies involving a total of 800 female subjects. These studies found vitamin E played no meaning role in the prevention of stretch marks among the subjects studied.
  • Vitamin E removes scars- Australian dermatologist Dr. Philip Artemi, the Honorary Secretary of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, states that it is “a proven scientific fact” that vitamin E will not help remove scars.
  • Vitamin E Oil stimulates collagen production- vitamin E has not been shown to stimulate collagen production, nor the production of elastin as well
  • Topical vitamin E heals wounds- studies suggest the contrary and that vitamin E inhibits the healing process.

Safety and warning information

Vitamin E is safe for most individuals whose skin tolerates the vitamin well. However, for a small minority, vitamin E can cause rash and allergic reaction. Before applying widely across the skin, try the vitamin on a small spot of skin to the wrist first. Unscrupulous manufacturers of synthetic vitamin E for the face and skin may adulterate the vitamin with hydroquinone. Hydroquinone can cause blistering, crack, and turn the skin bluish-black (exogenous ochronosis). A whitening compound, it can cause elevated sensitivity to UV rays, and dermatitis. As such, natural vitamin E would be a safer alternative. Tocopheryl acetate is also problematic. The tocopheryl part is vitamin E and is beneficial. The ‘acetate’ part is acetic acid and is a harmful skin irritant for many individuals. It causes rashes, redness, allergic reactions. Manufacturers add acetic acid to enable the vitamin product to have a longer shelf life and lowers production costs.

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