Ingredient Spotlight: Vitamin E

It’s no wonder that vitamin E is commonly associated with skin benefits — this mighty antioxidant has moisturizing and anti-aging super powers. It’s popping up in skincare products everywhere… curious if it’s right for you? Learn more below!

Vitamin E a common moisturizing skincare ingredient

3 minute read


What is vitamin E?

In its purest form, vitamin E oil is known as tocopherol, which is an ingredient in many skincare products. It’s also available in capsules. Vitamin E is not produced naturally in the body, so if you want to supply your body and skin with this vitamin, you have to get it from an outside source.

Plenty of foods are rich in vitamin E, including nuts, seeds, tomatoes, spinach, avocados, olives, salmon, and wheat germ and vegetable oils. If those don’t appeal, you can also take an over-the-counter vitamin E supplement. And, as you might have guessed, vitamin E can also be applied topically to the skin and is found in face creams, lotions, skin brighteners, and many sunscreens.

What makes vitamin E such a powerful skincare ingredient?

Though it’s best known as a moisturizer, the benefits of vitamin E go far beyond treating dry skin. In fact, vitamin E is one of the most potent antioxidants out there. Antioxidant is a fancy term for molecules that stops the oxidation of other molecules, which means that it prevents a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that may damage cells. When you don’t have enough antioxidants to combat those free radicals, it shows up on your skin in wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines. Vitamin E works overtime to prevent damage caused by free radicals and environmental toxins, like UV rays from the sun. Find it in SLMD Dual Defender SPF 30.

In addition to its role as an antioxidant, the vitamin E contains nutrients that actually repair the skin. Topical vitamin E speeds up healing time for minor wounds, cuts, and scrapes, while the vitamin’s anti-inflammatory abilities soothe redness and puffiness. 

Sometimes two is better than one, right? In the case of vitamin E, it makes an extra powerful duo with vitamin C — together, these vitamins help heal the skin, protect from sun damage, and reduce inflammation.

What skin conditions does vitamin E treat?

Vitamin E is very effective on aging skin. It prevents wrinkles from forming, while increasing the rate of cell regeneration and stimulating the production of collagen. It also lessens the appearance of age spots.

For people with acne, vitamin E’s strong anti-inflammatory properties are ideal not just when they’re applied to the skin, but also when taken as a supplement! The vitamin works to calm skin and decrease breakouts over time. And while there is some anecdotal evidence that vitamin E reduces the appearance of acne scars, the science is still inconclusive. Some people develop an allergy or rash after using vitamin E, so it should be tested on a small patch of skin before applying all over.

With all these skincare benefits, adding vitamin E to your skincare routine is definitely worth considering. Want to try a moisturizer with vitamins C and E? Check out the SLMD Facial Moisturizer, also available in the SLMD Acne System.

Dream On is a nourishing nighttime moisturizer formulated with retinol, squalane and vitamin E.

Dr. Lee's last word

Vitamin E has been used in skincare for decades because of its antioxidant and moisturizing properties. Our bodies don't produce vitamin E, so we have to get it from our diet — and it's absolutely critical for skin health.

—Dr. Sandra Lee


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