Vitamin E Oil For Skin

One of the main reasons people take vitamin E supplements and use vitamin E lotions is for skin care. Using the right kind of vitamin E, however, makes all the difference in how well these products work.

Healthy Skin
The Right Kind of Vitamin E Makes All the Difference in Skin Care

First of all, it's important to understand that it is never a good idea to open vitamin E capsules on skin itself. The kind of vitamin E that is best absorbed inside your body, vitamin E succinate, is not the form of vitamin E that is best absorbed through your skin. Your skin responds better to vitamin E acetate.

And even if you got capsules of vitamin E acetate (they aren't very expensive) and broke them open to apply the oil to your skin, the vitamin E would not stay on your skin or penetrate your skin. Skin lotions are specially formulated to bind to the ceramides in your skin so the active ingredients have a chance to work. The oil inside vitamin capsules in not.

It turns out that "vitamin E oil" is not a great idea for your skin, either. If it's an oily liquid, it's not going to stay on your skin very long. The best vitamin E products for skin care are made with cholesterol (that's right, cholesterol) and other denser natural fats to stick to your skin. And most of the time products that are labeled as vitamin E oil are the forms of vitamin E that do not have the full antioxidant potency your skin needs.

Why vitamin E acetate is the best form of synthetic vitamin E on your skin. Vitamin E acetate (also known as d-tocopheryl acetate or dl-tocopheryl acetate) has many shortcomings as a nutritional supplement taken by mouth. It requires a lot of digestive enzymes to be broken down into a form that can cross into the bloodstream. Even when it is absorbed, the free radical fighting part of the vitamin is chemically bound to the acetate. On the skin, however, this is a good thing.

The antioxidants in this form of vitamin E counteract the free radicals released by sunlight. Solar damage to the skin is caused by both UV-A and UV-B rays. If you apply a cream containing vitamin E to your skin, the vitamin E acts as a natural sunblock, capturing the UV-B rays before they can harm your skin.

Vitamin E does not block UV-A rays, and these rays can trigger inflammatory reactions by the immune system in your skin. Vitamin E, however, modifies that inflammatory reaction so that less damage is done to your skin by the sun.

The same qualities that make vitamin E acetate a poor choice as a supplement make it a great choice for skin protection. But there is an even better vitamin E treatment for your skin. That's natural vitamin E, the -ol form, not the -ate form, applied directly to your skin.

Why natural vitamin E is even better than synthetic vitamin E for your skin. Even better than any acetate, succinate, nicotinate, or linoleate form of vitamin E is natural d-alpha-tocopherol (not dl-alpha-tocopherol or any form of vitamin E identified as a "tocopheryl"). The free radicals in natural vitamin E are much more active on your skin. Tocopherol is always better than tocopheryl, but tocopheryl is what almost all skin care products contain.

And even when you do find a vitamin E oil that is made with tocopherols, the antioxidants in the product are likely lost before you put the product on your skin. Tocopherols are not just active on your skin. The problem is, they are also much more active in the bottle. You have to keep your skin care products tightly sealed to avoid losing all the antioxidant potency of vitamin E in the product to the oxygen of the atmosphere. And natural vitamin E is very expensive.

That's why most brands of "pure and natural" vitamin E oil are neither. They are simply synthetic dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate in a clear fluid that looks like oil. Look for products in which vitamin E is not the main ingredient for your best acne skin care and scar treatment options.

Vitamin E Oil for Stretch Marks

Does Vitamin E Help Stretch Marks?

What are stretch marks? Stretch marks, known in the medical literature as striae distensae, are the natural result of the body underneath the skin expanding faster than the skin can keep up. The skin is held together by a network of stretchable fibers made of collagen.

Rapidly expanding tissues underneath the skin loosen the connections and even cause the fibers to "explode." The rigid fibers in the skin, however, remain intact, so tight bands of skin appear across regions of puffiness. Hair follicles and sweat glands on these patches of atrophy and die.

What causes stretch marks? Stretch marks are most common during pregnancy. The mother's entire body is infused with a hormone called elastin. It loosens connective tissues throughout the body to make sure the cervix can dilate enough to deliver the child. When it loosens tissues beneath the skin, the resulting pressure on the skin above can cause stretch marks.

Stretch Marks

Both men and women can develop stretch marks at any time of life. Stretch marks are not unusual across the shoulders of male weightlifters. Men and women develop stretch marks when they gain weight quickly or lose weight quickly.

Any condition that causes swelling can cause stretch marks, and any condition that increases the body's production of the stress hormone cortisol can cause stretch marks. These skin changes are also common in people who have liver disease and in those who use steroids, whether prescribed by the doctor or used illicitly for muscle building.

How are stretch marks treated? When it comes to treating stretch marks, the motto is "the sooner, the better." If you wait indefinitely, you may find yourself visiting the dermatologist for laser ablation or treatment with Retin-A, neither of which is advisable for pregnant women or persons of either sex who are working hard to build muscle. But you may be able to slow down the development of stretch marks by using topical creams of vitamin E. Vitamin E for stretch marks is part of a sensible program of stretch mark prevention.

It also helps to exfoliate, removing dead skin. This keeps the outer layers of skin from pressing down on the inner layers of skin. It's not a complete cure, but it removes some of the stress that causes collagen to break down. The best natural exfoliants for preventing stretch marks are the alpha-hydroxy acids, but use caution if you have dry skin. Exfoliation will also increase vitamin E absorption.

For men and for women who are not pregnant, it also helps to make body changes slowly. If you are a woman and pregnant, of course, you have to let yourself expand for the sake of your baby, but these two simple steps, vitamin E oil and exfoliation, can make a big difference in how quickly your stretch marks go away after you give birth.

Vitamin E Oil For Wrinkles

Will Vitamin E Moisture Cream Wipe Away Your Wrinkles?

The problem with wrinkle removers. There are literally tens of thousands of wrinkle removal products for both women and men. The problem with most wrinkle removers is that they are formulated for light (or white), dry skin. They exfoliate the skin of the face to lift and separate flakes of dead skin that keep wrinkles tight, causing just a little inflammation in the process.

In skin with deeper and rich pigments, such as skins of people whose origins are in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, or Asia, inflammation causes pigmentation. Wrinkles are removed, but age spots replace them!

Vitamin E to the rescue. That's why vitamin E moisture creams are so useful for persons who have darker skin pigments. Vitamin E moisturizes the skin, making it more supple and flexible, allowing wrinkles simply to fall out of the skin. But it also stops the inflammation that creates freckles and age spots and, in African-American skin, permanent black, prominent melasma that can be just as cosmetically challenging as the wrinkles they treat.

If you have dark skin, think B, not C. Many vitamin E moisture creams for wrinkles combine vitamin E ascorbate with a highly absorbable form of vitamin E known as ascorbyl palmitate. This form of vitamin C goes into the skin to do its work as an antioxidant, kept charged by the vitamin E. But if you have darker skin tones, vitamin C can also be mildly inflammatory. Inflammation is something you just don't want for darker skin.

That is why the best cosmeceuticals for darker skin tones combine vitamin E with two forms of vitamin B, vitamin B3 and B5, also known as niacinamide and panthenol. The first thing you need to know about these two ingredients is that there are some people who shouldn't use them, either. If you have an allergy to vitamin B, which is rare, you really should not be putting this product on your face. Test a tiny spot of skin on your arm or wrist overnight to make sure any product you plan to use won't cause you to break out.

In tests with women in India, the combination of vitamin B and vitamin E:

  • Evened out skin texture
  • Wrinkle
  • Evened out skin tone
  • Prevented pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads, and
  • Lightened the skin evenly across the face.

That last characteristic is especially important because of the tendency of other wrinkle creams to leave spots. The only problems with this treatment were a tendency toward dryness in about 10 per cent of users, but that is easily prevented by a nightly application of an alcohol-free, water-based moisturizer. This formula proved especially helpful for users who had both wrinkles and rosacea.

Where can you find vitamin E for wrinkles formulated with vitamin B? Some popular products include B & C Skin Tight, which is popular with African-American women, and Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Moisture-Enhancing Gel, which works with all skin types, especially after you have been using a vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate) cream that proved to be a little too strong. Your skin needs a lot more vitamin B, by weight, than vitamin E, so look for B vitamins first on the label.

Vitamin E for Hair Loss & Growth

Does Taking Vitamin E Really Enhance Hair Growth?

Vitamin E is best known for its benefits for heart health. Many doctors report, however, that vitamin E supplements taken by mouth can also help with the growth or regrowth of hair.

Vitamin E in your body to stimulate growth of hair. There is a combination of symptoms that tell you whether taking vitamin E might help you regrow your hair. If you have angular stomatitis, that is, inflammation at the corners of your mouth, cheilitis, that is, dry and inflamed lips, and brittle nails, then taking at least 200 IU of alpha-tocopherol plus 200 milligrams of mixed tocotrienols may help your hair.

If you have these symptoms, however, chances are you have general problems with malnourishment that can only be addressed by getting enough calories and enough vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and plant nutrients.

Vitamin E on your body to stimulate growth of hair. What about vitamin E in shampoos? Vitamin E certainly helps keep the other ingredients in the shampoo fresh, but the antioxidant power of the vitamin can be used up while the shampoo is still on the shelf. And there is not a lot of benefit from putting vitamins in your hair only to wash them off a few seconds later.Healthy Hair

There is one application of vitamin E to the scalp that is very likely to stimulate the growth of hair, however, and that is the combination of a vitamin E shampoo with minoxidil, the hair growth product.

But not just any kind of vitamin E will work. When you are applying vitamin E to the scalp, it's very important that the vitamin "sticks" there long enough for it to get into the hair follicles. The kind of vitamin E that isn't easily washed or sweated off is tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate.

You don't want to mix up your own shampoo since too much of this form of vitamin E can actually counteract hair growth. Only up to about 2 per cent of this form of vitamin E in the shampoo will be beneficial. You can get this product from compounding pharmacists who specialize in custom made nutreceuticals and cosmeceuticals, such as Prescription Lab (, which will work with you to find exactly the combination that works best for you.

Vitamin E Oil For Scars

Does vitamin E oil Work for Acne Scars

Vitamin E is very popular for many treatments for scars, especially scars caused by acne. In these products, however, it isn't actually the vitamin E that heals the scar. It is far more likely that vitamin E is added to the skin care cream as a stabilizer, and alpha-lipoic acid or DMAE in the cream do the actual work of skin repair.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is even more powerful than vitamin E. It has an unusual chemical characteristic. It dissolves in water, or in fat.

This means that when you apply a cream that contains alpha-lipoic acid to your skin, it can penetrate both the fat layers underneath the skin and the watery tissues between the collagen fibers of the skin. It can move across the cell membrane into the cell, or it can circulate in the bloodstream.

Alpha-lipoic acid latches on to potentially toxic free radicals in the skin. It keeps them from accumulating in skin cells. On the level of the cell and on the level of the skin itself, this stops skin from sagging. It smooths out scars that bulge out from the smooth surface of the skin.


You can overdose alpha-lipoic acid you take orally, but you are highly unlikely to overdose alpha-lipoic acid skin creams. (If this were to happen, you would notice burning and then peeling. If this happens with any skin care product, discontinue it immediately and ask for a refund).

DMAE, also known as diethylaminoethanol, works on scars that cause indentations in the skin. It is also an antioxidant, but it tightens the skin so you don't need filler to conceal the scar.

An interesting side effect of DMAE use occurs when it is absorbed into your bloodstream. It can help you feel more focused and improve your memory.

What about vitamin E oil for scars? What about vitamin E for acne? Along with the form of vitamin C known as ascorbyl palmitate, these free radical fighters are far more useful than vitamin E in reversing scars. The vitamin E in the formula, however, keeps the mixture fresh and all the other ingredients at maximum potency.

As for treating acne, vitamin E helps recharge the far more important acne-fighters, vitamin C and selenium. You need all three supplements-just the amount you get in a multivitamin pill, however-to keep acne in control, along with your best skin care practices.

Selected References:

Burrows NP, Lovell CR. Disorders of connective tissue. In: Burns T, Breathnach S, Cox N, Griffith C, editors. Rook's Textbook of dermatology, 7th edn. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 2004. p. 46-7.

Lawley TJ, Yancey KB. Skin changes and diseases in pregnancy. In : Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, editors. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in general medicine. 6th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2003. p. 1362

Biro K, Thai D, Ochsendorf FR, Kaufmann R, Boehncke WH. Efficacy of dexpanthenol in skin protection against irritation: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Contact Dermatitis 2003;49:80-4.

Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, Chhoa M, Matsubara A, Miyamoto K, et al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. Br J Dermatol 2002;147:20-31

Chen CH, Sheu MT, Wu AB, Lin KP, Ho HO. Simultaneous effects of tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate (TPGS) on local hair growth promotion and systemic absorption of topically applied minoxidil in a mouse model. Int J Pharm. 2005 Dec 8;306(1-2):91-8. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Graf J. Antioxidants and skin care: the essentials. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Jan;125(1):378-83.

Puizina-Ivic N, Miric L, Carija A, Karlica D, Marasovic D. Modern approach to topical treatment of aging skin. Coll Antropol. 2010 Sep;34(3):1145-53. Review.

Written By Robert S. Rister
Robert Rister is the author of Healing without Medication and many other books that have been translated into eight languages. He is a chemist, a formulator of natural products, and a writer of consumer guides to getting the greatest value from natural health care.

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