Also-called-like-this: Vitamin E
What-it-does: antioxidant
Irritancy: 2
Comedogenicity: 2

Quick Facts

  • Primary fat-soluble antioxidant in our skin
  • Significant photoprotection against UVB rays
  • Vit C + Vit E work in synergy and provide great photoprotection
  • Has emollient properties
  • Easy to formulate, stable and relatively inexpensive

Geeky Details

Vitamin E is the major fat-soluble antioxidant in our skin. As a strong antioxidant it’s an A-player in protecting the skin cells from the nasty little things called free-radicals that want to destroy the lovely collagen that makes our skin nice and firm. 

Because it’s fat soluble our skin just loves to absorb it (as opposed to water soluble things where we have to trick our skin to absorb them).

Vit E can be found in many foods: vegetables, oils, seeds, nuts, corn, soy, whole wheat flour, margarine and even some meats and dairy products. The natural form is denoted by a ‘d’ in the beginning of the name and  ‘dl’ denotes the synthetic form. While this is absolutely not always true, in this case research shows that the natural form is more active and is better absorbed

The name tocopherol actually refers to a whole group of stuff and it has four subtypes: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. The subtypes are quite different: alpha-tocopherol is the nicest and most active one, while delta-tocopherol seems to be the lazy guy and does not even have antioxidant properties. In cosmetic products mixed tocopherol (containing all subtypes) or alpha-tocopherol is the best choice. 

There are lots of studies showing that Vit E has some nice photoprotection properties, meaning it can protect the skin from UV (and in case of Vit E it’s mainly UVB) rays. If you put it on your skin,  it lowers the production of sunburn cells, reduces the damage caused by UVB rays and inhibits photocarcinogenesis. 

What it does not do is helping agains UVA caused skin issues like sagging. But if you combine it with Vit C (especially in high amount like 15%), the two together work in synergy, give broad spectrum protection and double each other's effectiveness. 

There is also this urban legend that Vit E helps in wound healing. Well, that just seems to be a legend. Several studies were made to prove this point but so far none of them managed to do so. In some cases it made things even worse. :( So if you have some surgical scars do not put Vit E containing stuff on it. It’s an urban legend, no proof. 

Show me some proof

  • Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Vitamin E - pages 293-294
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology., 2003 Jun;48(6):866-74., UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.

Products with Tocopherol

Life-flo Pure Rosehip Seed Oil Swisse Rose Hip Oil Tarte Maracuja Oil URANG Whitening Blue Oil Serum skyn ICELAND Arctic Face Oil Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly Odacite Black Cumin + Cajeput Serum Concentrate Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil Pearlessence Rosehip Balancing Facial Oil URANG Vitamin Oil Serum Herbivore Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar KORA ORGANICS Noni Glow Face Oil Lovely Day Botanicals Skin Rescue - Problem Skin Oil MV Organic Skincare 9 Oil Cleansing Tonic Pixi Rose Oil Blend Sister & Co Super Seed Facial Formula Tailor Skincare Oil Cleanse Acure Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Night Oil Buena Skin Cosmeceuticals Camellia Botanical Deep Cleansing Oil Evidence Skin Care Reverse C Serum Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion Pm Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum Timeless 20% Vitamin C+E Ferulic Acid Serum Votary Cleansing Oil – Rose Geranium And Apricot dr. denese Hydroshield Ultra Moisturizing Face Serum sCOSMETICS Moisturising Fluid For Oily Skin Andalou Naturals Blossom & Leaf Toning Refresher Bliss Make-Up Melt Dry/Wet Gentle Cleanser DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Powder Spf 30 Garden of Wisdom Retistar Retinol 1% Serum Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Facial Oil Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Treatment Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm Lyonsleaf Calendula Cream MINISO Hydrating And Moisturizing Olive Oil (03 Orange Blossom) NIOD Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester Napoleon Perdis Rebirth Venus Cleanser RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo Skinstitut Multi-Active Oil Sprouts Unscented Vegan Lip Balm Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant + URANG Glow Oil Serum iS Clinical Sheald Recovery Balm