Vitamin E is a popular ingredient in many skin care products; but why is vitamin E added to so many cosmetics and what are the actual benefits of vitamin E? Vitamin E occurs naturally in many base vegetable oils that are used to formulate natural-based skin care products and it does have several perceived benefits. However, vitamin E is a complex chemical substance and comes in various formats, so it is good to have a basic understanding of vitamin E if you are going to formulate your own skin care products.
Types of Vitamin E
Vitamin E exists in eight different formats and can be broken down into two major chemical groups; these are tocopherols and tocotrienols. These groups can be sub-divided into alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms. Tocopherol is the type of organic compound that is found in many skin care products (source: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database); alpha- tocopherol is the strongest format of vitamin E available (source:Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, Phyllis A. Balch).
Different Names for Vitamin E
You may not necessarily recognize that your skin care product contains vitamin E as it can be described under a different name; alternative names for vitamin E in cosmetic products include:
- tocopherol acetate
- tocopherol phosphate
- tocopherol linoleate
- tocopherol succinate.
(source: The Essence of Mineral Make-Up, Tocopherol Acetate: Skin Vitamin E)
Benefits of Vitamin E in Skin Care
Vitamin E has several benefits but the primary reason that vitamin E is added to skin care products is its value as an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants prevent the formation of free radicals in the body, a group of atoms that can cause cell damage, lead to illnesses such as cancer and contribute to the aging process. Vitamin E also helps to repair tissues, reduce scarring, strengthens capillary walls and promotes healthy skin (source: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, Phyllis A. Balch).
Vegetable Oils That Contain Vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in many food sources, including herbs and dark green leafy vegetables, but one of the main sources of vitamin E for skin care products is cold-pressed vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are used a lot in the practice of aromatherapy, both in massage and in aromatherapy-based skin care products. Cold-pressed vegetable oils have not been exposed to excessive heat in the extraction process from the plants from which they are available; this means that they retain the majority of the natural properties of the plant. Vegetable oils that are rich in vitamin E content include:
- carrot oil
- corn oil….