Vitamin E can be taken in pill form and is also present in many foods. These include dark leafy greens, broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, squash and kiwifruit. It is an antioxidant of paramount importance in maintaining healthy skin. While vitamin E deficiency is not common, it can occur in certain conditions which affect the absorption of fats (i.e. Crohn’s Disease). This vitamin has also been shown to be of benefit in the prevention of diabetes, control of high blood sugar as well as treatment of some types of liver disease
Vitamin E is found in normal sebum of the skin and is present in other membranes and tissues throughout the body. In regard to topical vitamin E preparations, the alcohol based alpha-tocopherol penetrates the skin the best (vs. alpha-tocopherol-acetate). There are several important roles that Vitamin E plays to help keep your skin looking young. In addition to neutralizing free radicals it has a photo-protective effect. It absorbs the energy from UV rays while also reducing skin inflammation.
This vitamin is present in to a greater degree in those who make more sebum. Remember, sebum comes from sebaceous (sweat) glands. Those who make more sebum tend to have oily skin but also have more Vitamin E. This is one of the reasons why those with oily skin tend to age more gracefully than those with dry skin. While Vitamin E is primarily in the epidermis, topical preparations can penetrate deeper into the dermal layers.
How Vitamin E Specifically helps your skin:
- Antioxidant – This is what I consider one of several powerhouse antioxidants. Powerful neutralization of free radicals makes this vitamin a true anti-aging gem.
- Photoprotection – It has been shown to decrease sunburn damage and skin dryness if used prior to UVB exposure.
- As a topical preparation, it (alcohol based Alpha-tocopherol) is able to penetrate into the dermis to boost collagen resulting in fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
- Anti-inflammatory – Studies have demonstrated that Vitamin E is particularly capable of reducing UV-induced skin inflammation (reduction of redness and swelling)
- Fade Age Spots
- Wound healing – While many people may have used the liquid inside a vitamin E pill to apply to a wound to hasten healing, the data backing up the effectiveness of this option remains in question. The issue here appears to be the fact that the actual concentration of the vitamin, in this situation, may indeed be too high. Hence, when mixed with other skin healing ingredients (i.e. at a lower concentration), evidence points to it offering a favorable outcome in the treatment of scars.
Thank you for reading!
Dean M. Tomasello, MD