We know vitamins are good for us, evidenced by that multivitamin some of us take every day! But how much do vitamins impact our skin? Do vitamins help give us younger-looking skin? Let’s take a look at vitamin E. Vitamin E is a vital nutrient, and using vitamin E for skincare may be one of the best things you can do to encourage healthy-looking skin!
What is Vitamin E?
You may see vitamin E labeled as alpha-tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate, the only form of vitamin E that can be used by the body. Alpha-tocopherol is the most potent fat-soluble antioxidant known in nature. Vitamin E helps nerves and muscles to function, prevents blood clots, and can boost the immune system. As an antioxidant, it helps to protect cells from damage throughout the body – which, naturally, also extends to the skin.
Vitamin E can be consumed through diet or supplements, and used as a topical for skin. When consumed orally, vitamin E is delivered to the skin through our sebaceous glands, which means it is a part of our sebum, the oily secretion our skin excretes.
As we age, sebum levels naturally decrease, which is one reason our skin loses its youthful elasticity and glow. Consequently, as sebum decreases, so does vitamin E. Vitamin E levels also decline due to UV light (sunlight, tanning beds, some light bulbs).
How Does Vitamin E Improve Skin?
Using vitamin E for skincare is nothing new – it’s been a workhorse ingredient in the skincare industry for a long time. It’s often combined with vitamin C to increase its absorption and efficacy. As a moisturizing agent, vitamin E improves skin hydration in two ways: it attracts moisture into the skin and it then traps it there. As an antioxidant, it strengthens the skin barrier and protects it from free radical activity. People use vitamin E to:
- Minimize wrinkles and fine lines
- Treat hyperpigmentation (along with vitamin C)
- Improve skin firmness
- Promote healing from burns, scars, and wounds
- Treat chapped dry lips
In at least one animal study, vitamin E has even been shown to reduce skin damage caused by UV radiation.
So, clearly, vitamin E has its place when it comes to skincare.
How to Best Use Vitamin E in Skincare
Since vitamin E is naturally found in our sebum, you may want to proceed with caution if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Those who experience dryness or flakiness in their skin will see the most benefit of vitamin E, due to the enhanced moisturization it provides.
When it comes to using vitamin E for skincare, there are many options to include it into your routine. You can mix vitamin E into your favorite skin products, or you can simply choose a product that already has vitamin E as an ingredient. Whether you use pure vitamin E oil or skincare products containing vitamin E, it can be applied as a spot treatment, overnight treatment, or mask.
How Effective is Vitamin E Consumed Through My Diet?
Vitamin E is found in a wide array of foods, like nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts), sunflower seeds, leafy greens (spinach, collards, beet greens), mango, avocado, red bell pepper, and salmon.
Most Americans consume all the vitamin E they need through a normal diet, and shouldn’t need to supplement. Some people consume vitamin E supplements for medical purposes. And, medically, vitamin E supplementation has its benefits. Promising animal studies have found a positive effect of vitamin E supplementation in preventing or reversing oxidative stress on organs. In people, vitamin E has long been known to reduce the risk of blood clots.
But in general, supplementation with vitamin E is unnecessary, and can actually be dangerous over the long term. Excess vitamin E is stored in fat and can build up to toxic levels.
Long-term or excessive supplementation of vitamin E can be dangerous particularly if you are taking blood thinners. It could even cause bleeding in the brain (a hemorrhagic stroke).
So, if you really want to supplement with vitamin E, consult with your doctor beforehand. But vitamin E for skincare is best left to a normal healthy diet and topical applications that are appropriate for your skin type.
Vitamin E Can Be A Part Of Your Solution
Vitamin E is a powerhouse vitamin; it’s a widely-used ingredient in skincare products for a reason! But it’s certainly not the only way to get younger looking skin. For healthy glowing skin, consider visiting a med spa near you. Hawaii Blue Medical Aesthetics is an award-winning Hampton Roads med spa, and we give people personalized, targeted results for aging skin. Book a free consultation today at our Newport News or Virginia Beach location!