Vitamin E, a neccesity?

Today we're gonna have a look at vitamin E and its purpose in skincare. Starting when you are young, you learn to take your vitamins, or to eat healthy so you have enough vitamins in your system. A lot of companies now advertise their skincare such as: 'hey, this contains so much vitamin E (or C or...), you should definitely try this'. Are we fools to think that vitamins in skincare are a necessity or does it really do something for us?

The Body Shop has a whole section with vitamin E enriched products. This is where I picked up the Vitamin E moisture-protect lip care with an SPF (due to the ingredient otocrylene) of 15.
The reason why I picked up a lip product and not a skincare product is because I have slight oily and therefore acne prone skin. Since vitamin E is one of the fat soluble vitamins (you can find it in plant oils), I think it would break me out. But hey, my lips where so chapped from the cold weather here in Belgium, so I gave the lipbalm a try ;).

Vitamin E on the ingredient label

How can you recognize vitamin E on the ingredient label? Vitamin E is not one molecule but it comes in 8 forms namely: alpha-, bèta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols and alpha-, bèta-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienols. Sometimes these molecules aren't mentioned in the ingredient label but the plant oils that consist them will be. Tocopherols (the alfa form is the one that occurs  most in your skin) can be found in all green (photosynthetic) plants but seeds contain the highest amount of them. Olive and sunflower oils contain a lot of alpha-tocopherol. The tocotrienols can be found in a high amount in palm oil.

It contains a lot of plant oils and also tocopheryl acetate (ester of alpha-tocopherol) which is not natural but a synthetic vitamin E.

It contains a lot of plant oils and also tocopheryl acetate (ester of alpha-tocopherol) which is not natural but a synthetic vitamin E.

Vitamin E and its benefits

Antioxidant

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which means it can help your cells when they are in 'stress'. Environmental changes such as pollution and UV or endogenous production of reactive oxygen (this is normal, everyone makes this) can cause this stress. This can damage your cells and can destroy them. Vitamin E counteracts these reactive oxygen and other molecules so they don't harm your body.

Photoprotective

Low doses of UVA and UVB can deplete the stratum corneum (top layer of skin) of the vitamin E levels. This indicates that it acts as an antioxidant in your skin and helps to protect you from sundamage. So low levels of vitamin E in your skin can be a predictor of an early event of photodamage. Ozon has the same effect as UVA and UVB and also depletes vitamin E from your skin.

So if you enrich your skin with vitamin E, it can protect your skin -  to a certain extent - from the sun. Applying it before UV exposure reduces redness, edema, etc... So sunscreen and vitamin E work synergistically.

Anti ageing

Well, this comes hand in hand with the previous. If you experience less photodamage in your skin, you will have less pigmentation and less wrinkles ;).

Depigmentation

Vitamin E (also C and hyrdoquinone) should help to depigmentate because pigmentation is caused by oxidative stress.

Scar prevention?

There are a lot of studies about vitamin E and scar prevention. However, so far, these studies have been inconclusive. There are some that show it helps, and some even say it has an adverse effect...

Moisturizing?

Vitamin E itself is not known to be very moisturizing. So the moisture claim on my lipbalm is probably from all the oils in it ;).

If you have normal to dry skin and want some extra protection against the sun, I would certainly recommend using vitamin E. My lips have approved a lot using the Vitamin E enriched lipbalm from The Body Shop and I've been only using this for 3 days now (my lips were very grateful for this purchase).

Let me know if you have tried vitamin E enriched skin care products and what you think of them ;).

Talk to you soon,
Emilie