Vitamin E is a popular ingredient in many skin care products; but why is vitamin E added to so many cosmetics and what are the actual benefits of vitamin E? Vitamin E occurs naturally in many base vegetable oils that are used to formulate natural-based skin care products and it does have several perceived benefits. However, vitamin E is a complex chemical substance and comes in various formats, so it is good to have a basic understanding of vitamin E if you are going to formulate your own skin care products.
Types of Vitamin E
Vitamin E exists in eight different formats and can be broken down into two major chemical groups; these are tocopherols and tocotrienols. These groups can be sub-divided into alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms. Tocopherol is the type of organic compound that is found in many skin care products (source: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database); alpha- tocopherol is the strongest format of vitamin E available (source:Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, Phyllis A. Balch).
Different Names for Vitamin E
You may not necessarily recognize that your skin care product contains vitamin E as it can be described under a different name; alternative names for vitamin E in cosmetic products include:
- tocopherol acetate
- tocopherol phosphate
- tocopherol linoleate
- tocopherol succinate.
Benefits of Vitamin E in Skin Care
Vitamin E has several benefits but the primary reason that vitamin E is added to skin care products is its value as an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants prevent the formation of free radicals in the body, a group of atoms that can cause cell damage, lead to illnesses such as cancer and contribute to the aging process. Vitamin E also helps to repair tissues, reduce scarring, strengthens capillary walls and promotes healthy skin (source: Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, Phyllis A. Balch).
Vegetable Oils That Contain Vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in many food sources, including herbs and dark green leafy vegetables, but one of the main sources of vitamin E for skin care products is cold-pressed vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are used a lot in the practice of aromatherapy, both in massage and in aromatherapy-based skin care products. Cold-pressed vegetable oils have not been exposed to excessive heat in the extraction process from the plants from which they are available; this means that they retain the majority of the natural properties of the plant. Vegetable oils that are rich in vitamin E content include:
- carrot oil
- corn oil
- linseed (flaxseed) oil
- peanut oil
- soya oil
- wheatgerm oil.
(source: arrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, Len Price)
Types of Natural Skin Care Products That Contain Vitamin E
Vitamin E is added to the manufacture of soaps, lip balms, lip gloss, bath oils, cosmetic creams, shampoos, make-up products and massage creams. You can add vitamin E to your own home made skin care products, either through the use of the above-mentioned vegetable oils (although check the suitability of each vegetable oil first for the particular type of skin care product that you plan to make) or with base vitamin E creams and oils that have been cosmetically formulated by a supplier.
Home Made Natural Skin Care Products
One of the best ways to know exactly what your skin care products contain is to make your own. Making your own skin care products is relatively easy, no matter what experience you have in the area. You can use base products and add in complementary aromatherapy oils, such as essential oils and hydrolats, or you can combine products such as beeswax, vitamin E and cocoa butter to make natural lip balms or body lotions. However, you do need understand what your base products are – and the compounds that combine to make them.