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Written by Jess Burman
More people are asking these questions: "is vitamin E good for skin? "is vitamin E good for hair?", "and how can this vitamin benefit us all?". In this article we will provide you all the most relevant information about this vitamin and also about Vitamin E oil.
1) What is Vitamin E?
There are so many new, trending skincare ingredients promoted all the time, that one would be forgiven for side-tracking vitamin E without realising how beneficial it is in keeping the skin healthy and supple, whether that be by taking it internally and/or applying it topically.
Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is found in the upper layer of the skin, and may not currently have the same hype in the skincare industry as hyaluronic acid, or even vitamin C, but it’s a fat soluble antioxidant that helps keep your eyes and skin healthy. This lies in the fact that antioxidants fight free radicals, which cause inflammation and stress in the body and age us faster.
It’s hard to avoid free radicals, unless you’re living off the land in the thick of the forest far away from civilisation, hiding from the radiation of the sun, the environmental pollutants and tobacco smoke you can find wherever lots of people are. But vitamin E is a free radical scavenger that can stave off the toll that these environmental stressors can have on our beauty and health, by taking it as a supplement, or applying topically to the skin.
Generally speaking, whatever nourishes your internal organs will also nourish your skin, which is the largest organ of the body. Some sources of vitamin E include almonds, spinach, kale, pine nuts, broccoli, avocado and plant oils such as hempseed oil, coconut oil and olive oil, and of course, almond oil.
There’s a reason why avocados are now appearing on t-shirts on the high street, and there’s a long list of health-conscious celebrities who mention vitamin E rich oils in their answer to what their elusive beauty secrets are. As an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and organic products, supermodel Miranda Kerr has talked about her love for plant oils like avocado, rosehip and coconut. Part of that Hollywood glow is down to a nutritious diet and nourishing skincare routine that includes vitamin E.
2) So, how exactly is vitamin E good for skin?
Here are some of the skin issues and conditions Vitamin E can treat.
- Hyperpigmentation and Dark Spots
This is a skin condition that occurs when the sun’s rays causes the skin to produce too much melanin, which in turn causes a darkening and discolouration of the skin. It’s more effective to apply this to the skin if the discolouration is new. Vitamin E has a brightening effect on the skin, which treats hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
- Dry Skin
Vitamin E oil can be good for skin that is dry, as it is deeply moisturising, anti-inflammatory, and hydrates the skin. Use the oil as a night treatment in place of your moisturiser, as it can be too thick for the daytime.
- Sun burn
Exposure to the sun’s rays is essential for the body to make vitamin D. However, too much exposure can lead to sunburn, damaging the cell and collagen in the skin and subsequently causing age spots, dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles. Tanning of the skin is actually an inflammatory reaction, but visibly burning is even worse.
It’s better to prevent sunburn, rather than have to treat it, but there are ways to treat the damaging effect the sun can have on your skin.
Rubbing vitamin E oil into sunburned skin helps counteract skin damage and reduce inflammation. This was recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as a method that’s good for healing. You can also apply both Vitamin E and Vitamin C together, and this combination can offer photo-protection and help to reduce the formation of sunburn cells.
- Dry, Chapped Lips
Many lip balms contain vitamin E as it is naturally conditioning and hydrating. This is great news for dry lips, especially in autumn/winter when our lips tend to suffer more.
- Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Vitamin E is found in the upper layer of the skin, but as we age, and we continue to live through the daily stressors that cause free radical damage, the amount of vitamin E here decreases. Replenishing our vitamin E levels can protect skin from free radical damage that cause collagen to break down, as well as supporting the production of collagen and elastic.
Collagen is a protein in the human body that keeps our bones and fingernails strong, our skin supple, and our hair shiny. Babies are born with an abundance of collagen, but by our mid to late twenties, the collagen levels in the skin starts to drop by 1 – 2 % each year. Collagen is essential for so many functions in the body, including keeping the skin supple, smooth and radiant. Massaging vitamin E oil into the skin is good for protecting and producing collagen.
More information about Vitamin E Oil for face benefits
- Stretch marks
These can be prevented if vitamin E oil is rubbed on the belly during pregnancy. Vitamin E oil is good for skin that has stretch marks, as applying the oil to these areas will fade them faster.
- Skin tags
Skin tags are skin-coloured growths that are similar to warts. Although there is no scientific evidence to support this, many people claim that applying vitamin E oil to skin tags can reduce the size of skin tags significantly.
- Dry hands
People often forget to treat hands, but our poor hands are used every day, and exposed to a lot, including chemical soaps, wind, sun and hot water. Vitamin E oil can be used to counteract the effects of these conditions.
Applying vitamin E oil to your hands and putting on cotton gloves, will help the vitamin E absorb more into the skin. If you don’t own cotton gloves, it’s not essential. You can give yourself a hand massage knowing that the oil is nourishing your skin cells.
A scar is a mark left on the skin after a wound or injury has healed, but they can fade over time. Most never disappear completely, but applying vitamin E oil can help in the process of fading them. If you want to get more information about how to use vitamin E for scars, read our article Vitamin E oil for scars.
How to Apply Vitamin E on your Skin
You can apply vitamin E oil at night rather than in the morning as it can be thick and greasy. If you’re prone to breakouts, it’s best to use this oil with caution, perhaps in place of your normal bedtime moisturiser.
Alternatively, you could mix a couple of drops into your night time moisturiser to be able to reap the benefits without it being too greasy on your skin.
3) How is vitamin E good for hair?
Not only is Vitamin E good for skin, but it’s also extremely nourishing for our hair. Do you want hair that bounces with vitality? Sometimes our hair needs a little TLC (tender loving care) and this is when vitamin E can step in to improve our hair health.
- Healthy Scalp
If you rub vitamin E oil to your scalp, you’re nourishing it with an antioxidant that helps repair and rebuild tissue, reduce inflammation and repair damage to the follicles. This can help the hair to grow back stronger and faster.
- Smooth and Shine
A lot of us have frizzy, damaged hair that’s lacking in its lustre. Do you want hair that shines like one of those TV adverts? I think a lot of us wouldn’t mind that. Rubbing Vitamin E oil into the cuticles of your hair can help you achieve this, and can help in the repair of damaged hair.
- Circulation of Scalp
Vitamin E encourages circulation, and therefore encourages hair regrowth. This is good if you want to speed up the process of growing your hair longer.
- Regulate oil production
You would think adding oil to your hair would make it greasier, right? Well, oil can actually have a balancing effect on oil production, believe it or not, so massaging a small amount into the scalp might actually be a good thing for greasy hair.
More information about vitamin for hair in our article Vitamins for hair.
How to Apply Vitamin E on your Hair
You can massage the oil into your hair and scalp, giving any split ends more attention. Use a wide-toothed comb to distribute it evenly through your hair and then cover with a shower cap or wrap in foil to allow it to absorb to its optimum. If you leave the oil for over the night, it will have the chance to penetrate deeply, and therefore you will feel the most effects.
Another way to apply vitamin E on your hair is to look for shampoos and conditioners that have this as one of their ingredients. Each time you wash your hair, you’ll be nourishing it with this powerhouse of a vitamin.
4) Vitamin E Rich Oils to Use on your Skin and Hair
Instead of buying vitamin E in capsule form, you can buy vitamin E enriched oils, or even pure vitamin E Oil. Here are oils that contain vitamin E, and other nourishing vitamins and minerals you might be interested in supplying your skin with:
- Pure Vitamin E Oil
You can be sure to get all of the benefits of vitamin E by buying a bottle of pure vitamin E oil, as long as you look for an oil with an antioxidant property rate of at least 30,000 IU/g. Products with lower figures will have a cheaper price, but this will be of lower antioxidants too.
Look for organic, freshly cold pressed oils made up of plant oils that are rich in vitamin E, such as olive, coconut, and wheatgerm oil, or any of the examples below, and ɑ, ß, γ & d Tocopherols. Various added essential oils can have different added benefits too.
Vitamin E oil can help fight against environmental damage to your hair and also promote circulation to the scalp. It can block free radicals that age us faster.
Vitamin E oil can reduce inflammation and improve moisture and elasticity in the skin. Also, it encourages cell regeneration whilst lubricating cell membranes.
- Camellia Oil
Camellia oil has been an ancient Japanese beauty secret and has been used by the geishas to cleanse their faces, remove their makeup and nourish their hair for centuries. They use this oil instead of water. Japanese women and women from other Asian countries still slather this on their skin and hair today.
This may be because it has a consistency similar to sebum which means it penetrates the deep layers of the skin and is easily absorbed. Camellia oil is good for treating acne scars, encouraging skin elasticity, moisturising and hydrating the skin. In Japan, it symbolises the divine and represents the beginning of spring.
- Almond Oil
Almond oil is a great choice for baby skin, as it’s also great for sensitive skin. It’s mild, hypoallergenic, and can be used as a carrier oil to combine with essential oils of different skincare benefits. Sweet almond oil both prevents initial damage and slows down UV damage when it’s already struck. It’s a gentle oil that delays aging on the skin.
- Avocado Oil
Avocados are having a moment in Hollywood at the moment. It seems as though every celebrity and their dog are raving about avocado to help them nourish their skin from the inside out.
Applying avocado oil to the skin provides deep moisturisation as it penetrates into the second layer of skin. It’s rich in oleic acid which is good for people with dry and sensitive skin types. The oil can also treat and prevent sun damage, as a result of the vitamin E fighting UVA rays.
- Olive Oil
The immortal Greek poet, Homer, nicknamed this oil, ‘liquid gold’. It wasn’t given this name for nothing: the Mediterranean diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world and there’s good reason for that.
Not only has it always been regarded as the ultimate health food since ancient Roman and Greek times, but it has been revered for its beautifying properties too. Cleopatra used to take baths in this magic gold to nourish her skin and keep it supple. The legendary likes of Sofia Loren and Joan Collins use it both internally and externally to maintain their beautiful looks and delay the sign of ageing. It’s safe to say that olive oil and its vitamin E is good for skin.
- Coconut Oil
It seems like everyone is buying coconut at the moment. Some people even buy two tubs at a time: one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom. One of the reasons why coconut oil is so popular is its versatility.
As well as the health benefits, it has endless beauty purposes. You can even use this oil as an inexpensive way to shave your legs instead of applying toxic chemicals that can be found in shaving creams.
As coconut oil is deeply moisturising, it can relieve dry skin and even help with the itchy, dryness of psoriasis. Add two tablespoons of coconut oil to your bath if your skin tends to get quite tight and dry.
- Baobab Seed Oil
The Baobab tree, nicknamed the ‘Tree of Life’ and the ‘upside down tree’, is prehistoric and a symbol of life and positivity in African folklore. It represents a beacon of hope in a severe environment where other forms of life have to fight to survive. Animals and communities in Africa make their home around this tree, because it produces a fruit in the dry season by absorbing water in its trunk.
Women in countries native to the baobab, such as in Australia, Madagascar and in the African continent, use it for its anti-inflammatory their skin to nourish it and counteract from the effects of aging and/or sun damage.
It nourishes without leaving a greasy residue, so this oil definitely makes a good, natural moisturiser that can even reduce redness. You can mix it with essential oils of your choice in an amber glass bottle to create a moisturiser that will leave your skin cells pretty much buzzing with the supply of antioxidants.
- Buriti Oil
The Buriti Palm Tree grows in tropical climates such as in the Amazon rainforest. The global hype surrounding the benefits of Buriti oil has only been a recent phenomenon, but in terms of beauty, it’s a holy grail for the skin.
Its vast array of vitamins and minerals protects the skin from environmental stressors, plumping, firming and smoothing for a healthy, supple appearance. You can use buriti oil on the hair for extra nourishment and protection from environmental stressors also.
5) Did you know that Vitamin E is Good for your Overall Health too?
Is vitamin E good for skin, hair and also for health? Yes! We all want glowing skin but knowing it’s nourishing your insides with numerous health benefits is good to know too. Vitamin E, found only in plant foods, is responsible for the enzymatic activities, neurological processes, and the functioning of organs in the body. There are many food sources of vitamin E including spinach, almonds and sunflower seeds, but you can also take vitamin e as a supplement in capsule form.
Here are the main benefits you should know for your health:
- Balancing Hormones
Vitamin E is good for skin partly because it helps to balance hormones which can control skin changes. PMS (Pre Menstural Syndome), fatigue, weight gain, anxiety and allergies can all occur with a hormonal imbalance. Many people will have some or all of these symptoms and feel awful on a daily basis, without realising that they have a hormonal imbalance.
- Managing PMS and the Menstrual Cycle
PMS can make a woman feel pretty bad in the weeks leading up to her period. Bloating? Breakouts? Crying at an advert for no apparent reason? Does this sound familiar? Making sure you’re getting vitamin E before, during or after a menstrual period can reduce painful cramping, reduce blood loss, and keep the cycle regulated. Adding vitamin E to your diet may contribute towards maintaining a healthy weight, and may give you a new energetic spring in your step.
- Physical Endurance
Not only is Vitamin E good for skin, but it can also improve other aspects of your appearance as it can improve your physical endurance. This can increase your energy when working out, and the anti-inflammatory effect of this powerful antioxidant reduces the level of oxidative stress on your muscles afterwards too.
Consuming vitamin E rich foods before and after a workout can eliminate some of the strain of heavy physical exertion, by promoting blood circulation and nourishing your cells to counteract any fatigue. It can also improve muscle strength, so using vitamin E to enhance your workouts and performance, could be a good idea.
- Anti-Cancer and Anti-Tumour
Tocotrienols make up half of the chemical compounds found in Vitamin E, but some vitamin E supplements will only make up the other half, tocopherols. Both are important but a supplement without tocotrienols won’t have as many preventative benefits. Tocotrienols are lipid-lowering and provide anti-cancer, anti-tumour and anticoagulant properties. It’s good to check the label of vitamin E supplements to check that there are tocotrienols, as well as tocopherols.
6) Where can you Buy Vitamin E?
When purchasing Vitamin E, it’s recommended by healthcare experts to choose natural forms of vitamin E, scientifically known as d-alpha-tocopherol rather than synthetic vitamin E, where it reads dl-alpha-tocopherol on the bottle instead. This is because the latter is less bioavailable, which means it’s not utilised by the human body as easily.
You can buy vitamin E in oil or capsule form, and you can buy pure vitamin E or oils that contain vitamin E and other beneficial vitamins and minerals, like the list above. You can buy vitamin E in the natural form from various health food shops and websites selling natural, organic products.
Many brands will use words like natural and organic on their products when they’re not at all. To guarantee that you’re buying a product you can trust is pure and organic, you can look for the Soil Association logo on packaging. This logo means the product has been produced with fewer pesticides, no artificial additives, preservatives and GM ingredients.
Have you got any favourite vitamin E rich plant oils? Did you already know that vitamin e is good for hair and skin? Will you be trying out vitamin E on your skin soon?
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) in Writing