If you search for the best ingredients for your skin, you’ll likely come across Vitamin E. It’s frequently dubbed as a moisturising, antiaging, skin-health powerhouse. But how many of the claims are evidence-based, and what’s simply a marketing ploy?
We’re big Vitamin E fans at Mazillo. That’s why we use it in almost all of our products. But we also know that the research is still ongoing, and a lot of the bold claims can’t be fully backed up yet.
Instead of simply listing the popular benefits, in this post, we take a critical eye to the studies to see what can really be said for the vitamin.
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. You might see it called ‘Tocopherol’ in your skincare products, as that’s the only form of vitamin E that meets human requirements.
The nutrient is transported to the skin through the sebum, an oily substance that creates a protective barrier and keeps the skin moisturised. Put simply, the oilier the skin, the more sebum, and so a greater amount of vitamin E.
Vitamin E and skin health
Vitamin E is best known for its antioxidant properties, which means it kills free radicals on the skin and protects it from harmful environmental factors. People also find it to be very hydrating.
A bonus benefit we love at Mazillo is that it helps preserve the stability of other delicate natural ingredients such as our locally sourced cold-pressed oils.
That’s the basics, now let’s get to the science!
Vitamin E for skin studies
1. Vitamin E and UV protection
Due to its antioxidant properties, many suggest Vitamin E can protect against ultraviolet (UV) light damage.
One study tested this out on 15 mice. They found that the mice treated with topical vitamin E showed fewer signs of acute and chronic damage to the skin, such as sunburn, pigmentation, and skin cancer, induced by UV light.
Let’s address the elephant (or mouse) in the room here. The study was conducted on animals, so we can’t know for sure whether the effects of topical vitamin E on human skin would be the same.
While one human study reported that Vitamin E supplementation reduced the effect of free radicals on the skin, it concluded there was no protective effect against sunlight.
2. Vitamin E combined with Vitamin C
3. Vitamin E and skin hydration
Most products containing Vitamin E say they hydrate and soothe the skin. While there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this, the data is still relatively limited.
Two small studies have shown the topical application of vitamin E can improve the skin’s water-binding capacity after 4 weeks of use.
We hope to see more long-term research on this!
4. Vitamin E for scars
A popular usage of vitamin E among medical professionals and the public is to prevent scarring. Again, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to say this is effective, but little solid data.
A 2016 review of six studies concluded that, although some studies showed a small reduction in scar appearance, there’s not enough evidence yet to recommend vitamin E as a scar treatment.
5. Vitamin E and inflammation
Vitamin E has also been praised for reducing inflammation. This could benefit the skin since conditions like acne cause inflammation.
One 2020 study provides some support for the claim. It reviewed 26 clinical trials and found evidence that vitamin E supplements can reduce inflammation in adults.
More research needs to be done to verify this claim, not to mention it looked at supplements, not topical products. It does, however, provide a good foundation for future research.
Takeaway: Is vitamin E good for the skin?
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence and some studies that provide an exciting case that vitamin E and skin health. That said, a lot more research still needs to be done before we can make huge claims.
What we do know, however, is that topical vitamin E products are antibacterial, can help protect the skin from free radicals, and usually leave the skin feeling soft and moisturised. So, in that respect, vitamin E is good for the skin and that’s why we use vitamin E in most of our formulas at Mazillo.
Now you’re empowered with accurate knowledge, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to try it for yourself. Combined with innovative active ingredients, you’ll find the nutrient in our cleanser, moisturiser, facial oil, and mask.
Let us know in the comments if you use Vitamin E in your skincare routine!