Vitamin E Is Criminally Overlooked but Vital to Your Beauty Routine

Photo: Stocksy/Leandro Crespi
If you've come across vitamin E oil in your skin-care products, it's probably been used as a sidekick, meant to amplify or balance out other spotlight-stealing ingredients, such as vitamin A (AKA retinol) and vitamin C. The underdog skin-care staple, however has a laundry list of benefits for your complexion that will make you reconsider its role in your beauty routine.

"Vitamin E can be found as a key ingredient in many cosmetics," say Mostafa M. Omar, PhD, a natural product chemist and founder of Phyto-C, going on to explain that it's a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. The truth is, vitamin E oil goes by several other names like tocopheryl linoleate, tocopheryl oleate, tocopherol, and tocopheryl acetate, according to Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and the founder of her eponymous skin-care line. So you might already be using it and not even know.

That said if you're not, it's easy enough to incorporate into your routine on the daily as a stand alone ingredient or in a bottle with other ingredients. If you're looking for a product that simply has vitamin E as one of the key ingredients, Dr. Omar says to look for 1 to 5 percent concentration to get maximum benefits. If you're, instead looking to buy it alone, take note: Rouleau recommends smaller bottles since "vitamin E oil can oxidize and go rancid," she says. "To get the most effectiveness, you don't want to be using the same bottle for a long time."

If you're prone to breakouts look for a product that simply has vitamin E as and ingredient because thicker oils can actually cause problems for those with oily or clogged pores, she says. If your skin doesn't skew acne-prone, however, lightweight options, such as Derma E Vitamin E Skin Oil ($9) or Jason Natural Vitamin E Oil ($8), make vitamin E more layerable with the other products in your routine,. Keep scrolling for 5 benefits to take note of now.

Vitamin E benefits for skin that will make you a believer

1. It guards against free radicals: Vitamin E can't be classified as a sunscreen but it is often touted for its ability to help boost the powers of SPF (ever the sidekick) by squashing free radicals. Vitamin E is a photo-protectant, which doesn't mean that it's a sunscreen, but instead that when used along with an SPF, it's able to help fend off sun damage. Rouleau says to combine it with vitamin C, when applying for maximum photo-protective properties.

2. It's extremely moisturizing: It's probably not surprising that an oil helps to condition skin, but vitamin E is especially moisturizing, because it's "a fat-soluble nutrient that improves dry skin by repairing the skin’s lipid barrier," Rouleau says.

3. It can offer topical relief for severe skin issues: Rouleau says that people who suffer from eczema sometimes find relief from the itchiness with vitamin E oil, something that is backed up by science. More research is needed on vitamin E oil's effect for those with dry skin conditions, but when taken orally, one study found that while not more effective than other psoriasis medications, vitamin E oil does, in fact, reduce symptoms of the skin condition and is likely suitable for people dealing with mild bouts.

4. It can encourage growth and health in your hair: Although Minoxidil remains the only FDA-approved treatment for hair growth, studies have found that vitamin E oil can help with the circulation in your scalp facilitating overall hair health. For example, a 2010 study conducted on humans found that, when ingested, the vitamin helped improve hair growth and impeded hair loss in people dealing with hair loss.

5. It's really good at keeping skin youthful: So, while it's good on its own, we can't drop the mic without explaining why it's such a good sidekick. "The most interesting skin benefit of Vitamin E oil is that it has been found to increase the antioxidant protection factor when combined with Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid) by four-fold," Dr. Omar says. Rouleau adds that this essentially means it combats "signs of aging by providing an antioxidant boost that protects the skin from damage caused by UV rays and encourages healthy skin cell growth." So yeah, sign me up.

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