Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Vitamin E

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E

Unless your skin is extremely oily or acne-prone, all facial skin care should make use of some degree of true Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and not a derivative.

Care of body and hand skin should always include true Vitamin E.


The benefits provided by Vitamin E have long been accepted.

Vitamin E is a tocopherol, the skin's most important lipid or fat-soluble antioxidant, and (if not topically supplemented) consistently found to be depleted in the upper layers to the skin's overall detriment.

Vitamin E has significant irreplaceable antioxidant functions, especially in cell membranes and lipoproteins.

It is important to keep skin cell membranes intact, otherwise the skin cells and their components are destroyed by environmental reactive oxygen species, deteriorating health and increasing the need for repair and premature renewal.

Topically applied Vitamin E works with your body's own Vitamin C stores, allowing the two to work in synergy.

Vitamin E is recognised as an anti-oxidant that can help prevent the formation of lipid peroxides and UV-induced free radicals.

As an antioxidant, it protects other fat-soluble vitamins and other skin elements from oxidative damage to provide generally enhanced and prolonged skin protection.

Vitamin E lasts longer in the skin than other primarily important antioxidants, Vitamin C and Ubiquinone (Co-Enzyme Q10).

Cosmetic Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also known to improve the appearance of age spots, increase elasticity and skin barrier function, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin E:

  • is necessary for tissue repair;
  • a natural anticoagulant;
  • promotes healing.

Vitamin E can also help reduce the appearance of some of the wrinkling and reddening of the skin associated with the effects of UV-B exposure.

Useful Vitamin E

The predominant form of vitamin E in human and animal tissues is alpha tocopherol.

Alpha tocopherol comprises about 90% of the tocopherols in animal tissues and displays the greatest biological activity in most bioassay systems.

The empirical formula for vitamin E or alpha tocopherol is C29H50O2.

Other Names for Vitamin E

Other names used for vitamin E are mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol or DL-alpha tocopherol.

Tocopherol is the form the body uses.

Unlike L-ascorbic acid, alpha tocopherol is not an inherently unstable molecule, but vitamin E requires vitamin C in order to replenish itself along with trace elements such as selenium.

D-alpha-Tocopherol is considered to be the biologically most active form of Vitamin E.

Vitamin E Derivatives

Vitamin E derivatives do not have the antioxidant effects of pure vitamin E or alpha tocopherol, because they are not primary antioxidants.

Cosmetic companies often (mis)use the term "vitamin E" to refer to a derivative.

The best suggestion is to read the ingredient list and to know what vitamin E really is: alpha tocopherol.

While this is the only form of vitamin E the body can use, there are nevertheless many derivatives that are used in cosmetic formulations.

Vitamin E derivatives are primarily moisturizing emollients and not antioxidants.

Non-Antioxidant Vitamin Es

Tocopheryl acetate (the ester of acetic acid) is the predominant example of emollient and non-antioxidant "Vitamin E."

Tocopheryl acetate is probably used as an alternative to tocopherol itself because the phenolic hydroxyl group is blocked, providing a less acidic product.

Any Vitamin E not specifically designated as mixed tocopherols, d-alpha tocopherol or DL-alpha tocopherol should not be considered true antioxidant Vitamin E.

These natural Vitamin Es will always be more bioavailable and useful than synthetic vitamin Es.

Undesirable Vitamin E in Skin Care

Vitamin E Drops

Do not apply the contents of Vitamin E capsules to skin.

Dietary Vitamin E is intended for digestion, and will coat skin like Vaseline rather than be considerably absorbed to its benefit.

Moreover, this un-miscellized Vitamin E is associated with skin irritation and a greater tendency to scar in around one third of people.

Pure Vitamin E drops sold for topical application typically contain oil identical to that found in supplements and have the same problems, although they make for superior lip balms.

Excess Vitamin E can also be harmful.

Optimal Skin Care with Vitamin E

Unless your skin is extremely oily or acne-prone (Vitamin E is found in sebum) all skin care should make use of some degree of true Vitamin E.

Care of body and hand skin should always include true Vitamin E.

Vitamin E Skin Care Products/References

Related Skin Care Information, Products and Expert Discussions

Ubiquinone (Co-Enzyme Q-10)

Ceramide 3

Ferulic Acid

Ergothioneine

Ceramides


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