The Benefits of Vitamin E for Moisturizing Dry Skin
Vitamin E is by no means a beauty cabinet novelty. Once upon a time, it seemed like every teen magazine evangelized the oil for treating acne and even healing the leftover scarring. It's been lauded for promises of hydrating, antioxidant, and protective benefits—even claims that it could revive brittle hair. And while we're all for trying the latest and greatest, there's something to be said about sticking with an old favorite. But what does it really do? We looked into it to see what science-backed results we can actually expect when using vitamin E for dry skin.
Keep reading for the experts' concrete evidence of the benefits of vitamin E for dry skin.
What Is Vitamin E?
Alpha-tocopherol (the form of vitamin E humans can metabolize) is typically produced synthetically but can be found in natural products as well. Avocado, pumpkin, and wheat germ oil are all great sources of the vitamin both for topical and internal uses. Most often in skin care, vitamin E can be found in oil or cream form. Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and an oil. It’s often found in antioxidant blend topicals or moisturizers.
However, which of the two forms of vitamin E you're getting does make a difference: The synthetic vitamin E consists of eight different forms, only one of which is identical to the natural molecule. As a result, it is found that the natural vitamin E has at least twice the potency of the synthetic vitamin E. It is also used in cosmetics as tocopheryl acetate.
Due to the fact that natural D-alpha-tocopherol is about eight times more expensive than synthetic vitamin E, the synthetic form is generally used in cosmetics, especially in high potency products. Also, natural vitamin E has to be subjected to several processing steps to remove pesticides and weed killers all of which may not be completely removed. Synthetic vitamin E does not have this drawback.
Benefits of Vitamin E for Dry Skin
- Protects lipid barrier: Vitamin E keeps lipids fresh in your skin. This helps to keep your skin's protective barrier intact. Keeping it intact can help seal up little cracks created in the skin's barrier that can cause moisture to escape and leave the skin feeling tight and dry.
- Keeps skin moist: As such, vitamin E allows for long-lasting moisture retention between your skin cells; much longer than products without it. It doles out up to 16 hours of hydration.
- Heals skin: This is why vitamin E is so beloved: The prime benefit of vitamin E is the capability to accelerate healing of skin damage such as burns and wounds by as much as 50 percent of the rate. It is an antioxidant and will heal the skin from sunburn and any form of irritation and injury. It also has the capability to increase the moisture content of the skin. As such, it has skin anti-aging capability.
- It's an antioxidant: Vitamin E offers antioxidant (fat-soluble) benefits as well—it helps neutralize harmful free radicals and, due to its antioxidant benefit, can discourage sebum (oil) oxidation, which prevents blackheads. The words 'anti' and 'oxidant' refer to antioxidation. Since the tip of the hardened and blocked oil in the pores turns dark from oxidation, vitamin E may help slow that process down.
- Soothes skin: Formulas containing vitamin E provide conditioning to environmentally exposed skin. The ingredient works to smooth your skin and make it feel comfortable after irritation from pollution and sun damage.
- Protects from the sun: The vitamin has photo-protective purposes as well. When vitamin E is combined with vitamin C and used under sunscreen, it can provide four times the protection of sunscreen alone.
Potential Side Effects of Vitamin E
When used in its pure form, in a capsule, and applied directly to the skin, vitamin E may cause dermatitis-type reactions, especially for the thinner and more sensitive skin around your eyes. If you've ever had dermatitis—the technical, blanket term name for inflammation of the skin—that was caused by skin care, you understand that using it in this area without a patch test is a bad idea.
It could also potentially clog pores and, for those who are prone to acne and breakouts, add to the problem. Using products with vitamin E is best suited for "normal" (a cringe-worthy description of skin that has few to no blemishes, no sensitivity, minimally visible pores, and balanced hydration levels) and dry skin types. That's not all—it’s important to note that some develop an allergy to it when it is used topically.
Oral Supplement vs. Topical Vitamin E
Vitamin E is naturally found in a wide variety of foods and, though we may need more of it as we age, most people don't require a dietary supplement. Topical vitamin E, found in a variety of skin care products, is not only a safer alternative but also lends itself to spot treating specific areas of the skin. Some prefer to extract vitamin E from a supplement capsule and apply it directly to the skin for a high concentration, but this may be sensitizing to the skin and cause unwanted irritation. If you're considering supplementing orally, consult with your physician first as vitamin E may interfere with medications.
How to Use It
If you have a specific scar or area you want to treat, then puncture a vitamin E capsule and apply the oil to that area for a few weeks. It is a wonderful antioxidant and has been studied extensively for its ability to help with premature aging.
It’s part of the reason why I like getting my Vitamin E as part of an oil, instead of pure Vitamin E, which is usually an alpha-tocopherol version of Vitamin E. If you have sensitive skin, you can still use it just use very little and pat gently. If you’re breaking out or have any redness, it might be a sign that your skin isn’t tolerating it.
As for the common concern about it having a pore-clogging effect, it's important to note when used in skin care formulations, vitamin E is only offered in a small concentration. Using it that way is far from piercing a capsule and applying the ingredient in its pure form. So if you want to try out the hottest new vitamin E serum, go for it; it's likely been diluted enough that it won't be an issue.
That being said, when looking at a product's ingredient list, it's challenging to know the percentage of purity that is used—or how your skin will respond to it. Though, this goes for any ingredient used in any product. It's always best to get into the practice of performing a patch test whenever you purchase a new product.
Vitamin E Skin Care
For nutrient rich, natural ingredient skin care (with vitamin E), then check out Wild Naturals! Your skin care shouldn’t be filled with chemicals and preservatives, but hydrating, repairing, and supple skin. Shop our skin care line today!