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Ingredient Watch List: Tocopheryl Acetate, the Potentially Irritating Form of Vitamin E

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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice... read more

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is general in nature and for informational purposes. It is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. None of the statements on this site are a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. read less

If you have read up on your vitamin E, you may recognize the word “tocopheryl” in this ingredient. Wouldn’t that be something good for you?

Take anything and mix it with something else, and you can come up with something potentially harmful. That can be the case with tocopheryl acetate. The tocopheryl part is vitamin E, but the acetate comes about when the vitamin E is mixed with acetic acid.

The resulting ingredient can actually irritate your skin more than help.

It contains vitamin E, but it’s been messed with in the lab.

What is Tocopheryl Acetate?

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This ingredient is basically a form of vitamin E created in the laboratory. Manufacturers take natural vitamin E and add acetic acid to it.

Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar. The word “acid” means just what you’d think—it’s corrosive, and attacks the skin. A simple carboxylic acid, it’s used in the production of chemicals for photographic film, wood glue, and synthetic fibers and fabrics. Why would manufacturers mix perfectly good vitamin E with this irritating ingredient.

Two words: cheaper, and longer lasting. Adding the acid to vitamin E makes it last longer on the shelves. That makes it easier for manufacturers to process, ship, store, and sell their products.

What are the Concerns?

The concerns with this ingredient are first, that it can be potentially irritating to skin, causing redness, rashes, and potential allergic reactions. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) of the ingredient, tocopheryl acetate helped protect against oxidative damage, but produced skin sensitizing or skin irritating effects in one animal study. A 1991 study detailed four cases of contact dermatitis caused by cosmetic creams that contained tocopheryl acetate.

The CIR, though it concluded that tocopheryl was safe for cosmetics, also noted that studies with the ingredient demonstrated some “enhancement of photocarcinogenesis,” which means it may actually encourage the carcinogenic effects of UV rays.

High doses of this ingredient have also been found in animal studies to cause tumor formation. Though that’s not likely to be a concern if you’re using only a little of the ingredient, as in most personal care products, the concern is the potential buildup over time. We simply don’t have the necessary safety studies on this ingredient when used for several times a day over many years.

Another issue comes from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which notes concerns regarding contamination with hydroquinone, a whitening compound. During the manufacturing process, tocopheryl acetate may be contaminated with hydroquinone, which can also cause dermatitis, increase sensitivity to UV rays, and may have potentially carcinogenic properties.

Why Take the Risk?

Of all the potentially harmful ingredients, this is probably one of the milder ones. It is vitamin E, which can have some benefits. The thing is, why not just stick with natural vitamin E? Why take the risks with tocopheryl acetate when you don’t have to?

Have you had a reaction to tocopheryl acetate? Please share.

* * *

Photo courtesy Administrador Galeria Uninter via Flickr.com.

Source
Cosmetic Ingredient Review, “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate, and Tocophersolan,” International Journal of Toxicology, November 2002, Vol. 21, No. 3, suppl 51-116, http://ijt.sagepub.com/content/21/3_suppl/51.abstract.

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COMMENTS ( 101 and counting )
  1. Charlotte says:

    They are now putting this is cereal and “health bars” I have eaten cereal and wondered why my stomach felt strange——now that I am looking for it, I have found it in “health bars” too……………….YUK!!!! Leave God’s vitamins alone!!!

    • admin says:

      YIKES you just never know where these nasties will show up, reading the label is a great start and a necessity. Thank you so much for sharing, have a wonderful day.

  2. C Femminella says:

    Where can I obtain a list of prodycts containing tocopheryl acetate? I have a contact allergy dermatitis reaction to it.

  3. Cindi says:

    I have been using a vitamin e cream acetate in it and I have never had a problem could it be maybe that some people have a sensitivity to it?

    • Ghosty says:

      Yup. That’s exactly right. Contact dermititis is caused by allergies. If tocopheryl acetate is giving you irritated skin, that means you’re allergic to it, and might want to stop using it, or use less and/or treat your allergy symptoms. However, of course this means that not everyone will have this allergy, which of course means that tocopheryl acetate is not “bad” across the board, and for plenty of people will be utterly harmless.

      Here I’ll begin to address the general population on the site…

      In fact: (sourced from wikipedia, feel free to check their sources on the Tocopheryl Acetate page) “Tocopheryl acetate is used as an alternative to tocopherol itself because the phenolic hydroxyl group is blocked, providing a less acidic product with a longer shelf life.”

      A less acidic product than pure Vit E.

      If there’s anything I’ve learned by looking up compound names, its that they are not intuitive if you’re not familiar with the grammar. Just because something is mixed with acid doesn’t make the compound more or less acidic in the end result. Things are going on on a very small scale here, and the nature of the results are fairly unpredictable to the layman.

      I trust the sources who aren’t selling me a product. (Like say this site.) I object to the idea that a vitamin is goodly but as soon as you mix it with something else, it is suddenly cutting dangerous corners to make a quick buck. (Even though people actually lose money by selling a harmful product!) Like maybe tomato juice is good, and carrot juice is good, but combined they are surely disasterous.

      But of course, if you’re getting an allergic reaction, by all means find another route to go down! Nobody should have to suffer through that. I’ve got crummy dog allergies, so I feel your pain. But remember that TEA isn’t evil or anything, just like long grass or the neighbor’s puppy aren’t evil, even when they’re giving you hives.

      Best wishes; stay well; G

      • Tabitha says:

        As I understand it, some vitamin E is derived from corn which an alarming number of people are allergic to or have a hefty intolerance to. I am one of those and am having a tough time finding anything without some form of vitamin E in it for my face. My face seems to react to corn derivatives worse than any other part of my body. I’m not understanding if there is a differentiation (corn wise) between tocopherols and tocopheryl acetate.

      • Tiffany says:

        I believe it is more to do with the vitamin then the actual acetate… Vitamin E is derived from animal or vegetable oils (and other things)… One person mentioned corn oil. Acetate is the main ingredient in vinegar at a likely much stronger dosage then what is mixed to make this. Many times people recommend putting a very small amount of vinegar in your bath water if you have skin issues. The oil of the vitamin E is probably causing acne, allergic reactions, etc. However, like this person States don’t automatically label this product bad for everyone… Unless you are allergic to vinegar (which I’ve used directly on mosquito bites to maintain the itch… Because of its low acidity changes the pH of the bite area, neutralizing it)… Look closely at any alternative vitamin e’s you use. Pure acetate is not good but mostly… By the time it reaches you it’s percentage in the product is very low. (I’ve worked with lab strength acetate in organic chemistry when I was an undergrad :)… It’s strong by itself but diluted works for a multitude of household things… P. S. Besides my biology undergrad work and just common knowledge of vinegar, I have no actual scientific basis, this is only a thought and to perhaps remind you that alternative forms of Vitamin E may contain the actual allergens you are trying to avoid.

  4. Sara says:

    Wow! I started dealing with severe eyelid swelling since last winter, after I bought Vit E for dry skin around my eyes. I never imagined it was the culprit and even bought a higher strength bottle of the stuff (Tocopheryl Acetate) to treat the swelling! It got so bad that my eyes were burning, little white patches were showing and a doctor said, “It’s an allergy. Here’s some cortisone.” Well, no way am I going to treat one poison with another one so I went home. Didn’t use anything except an herbal ointment that stopped the burning and it went away. Used it again last week for one day and again today. Finally, it clicked. It wasn’t something I ate, or something in the environment, it was the “treatment!” Good grief! This is serious! I thought it was just the pharmaceuticals that were killing us!

  5. Sara says:

    I noticed when I read my previous comment that one sentence is confusing. “Used it again…” should read “Used Vit E oil (tocopheryl and acetate plus safflower oil) again …” It is now a few hours later and my eyelids are really red, swollen and itchy and my face looks scary. I have gone through my skin care products, including hand creams, face creams, hand sanitizers, sunscreen and, yes, health bars! and have thrown out a lot (including health bars). I can’t believe tocopheryl acetate is allowed on the market. I would add that I have fair skin and am allergic to quite a few things but I hadn’t imagined this. Thank you so much for running this column.

  6. santigold says:

    is it possible for you to sell the pure tocopherol on here? that would be great for many, am sure. I cant find the pure stuff anywhere !

  7. lisa says:

    Beware of Home Health Almond Glow oil..they have peanut oil and tocopherol acetate which they call vitamin E which caused us to break out in hives everywhere! because it may be made from soybean oil!!!! We are allergic to soybean and soybean oil!! Are they trying to save money now on their products using soybean oils?? If so, bad move Home Health!! Thought this product was going to be ok what a sham “natural Health begins at home” that’s their by line on the label..

  8. Charles Femminella says:

    i need a list of products that contain tocopheryl acetate. I have ACD an must avoid this chemical.

    Thanks

  9. Karen says:

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. Your experiences have given me some insight that this tocopherol acetate could be a cause of my problem. I developed chemical allergies last year, and was off all commercial lipsticks. On occasion, I substituted Zuzu LUXE Lipliner (made in Germany) that I bought at the health food store. I noticed when wearing it I had a very slight ‘weird feeling’ on my lips…imagination? dryness? After putting it on for my ‘big’ New Year’s Eve celebration, as the clock struck midnight, I noted two large cracks in my lips. By morning, my lips were swollen and red, with a systemic allergic reaction blister appearing on my hand! I am off this product and checking my lotions as one person suggested. Thank you!

  10. Charles Femminella says:

    Still looking for a list of products that contain tocopheryl (tocophyerol) acetate.

  11. Teresa Wolfenbarger says:

    My whole life I have been plagued with acne and rashes, I am nearly 60 years old now. I finally just started making my own lotions and creams. It is incredibly simple to do and you control the quality of the product. Mine are all organic oils and butters. And my friend makes soap for me so I no longer break out or have rashes from the irresponsibility of big chemical companies and big pharma

    • Andrew May says:

      Teresa,

      I’m really interested in how you’re able to make your own creams and butter. My family suffers from various skin issues ranging from seborrheic dermatitis to rosacea. We’ve been through the ringer with dermatologists’, traditional medicine and now we’re on the path less traveled – healthy organic eating, supplements and healthy living.

      Could you recommend some resources that helped you get started on your path? books, authors, topics etc.

      Thanks

  12. eddy harding says:

    have just taken delivery of Cetaphil Moisturising lotion which was recommended to me by my dermatologist as I have rosacea and can’t find a suitable moisturiser. I also told him I was allergic to TA so as soon as I got the moisturiser I put it on and within minutes my face went bright red.- I turned over to look at the ingredients on the container and low and behold – TA was there!
    I’m now awaiting my doctor to call me back…
    Please read the ingredients – no matter how much you trust your doctor’s knowledge!

  13. Marilyn R. says:

    Recently I had a dermatitis reaction to Life Brand Vitamin E oil. It was bad enough that I had to go on prednizone to counteract the inflammation. This is new for me, I have never had allergy to products like this before and hopefully my message will help someone.
    The reaction started on the eyelids, spreading to my face and onto my upper chest. It was very itchy and at first it was not diagnosed correctly, antihistimines/antibiotics did not address the problem. A visit to Emerge where the hospital has an eye clinic, quickly recgonized the infected area as an allergy.
    My google research tells me that some brands add tocopherol acetate so the product lasts on store shelves, it seems the acetate is the problem. Therefore shop with care and read all labels.
    M.

  14. Red says:

    Thank you all for sharing your stories! I just got back from seeing my physician as I developed a red burning itchy rash while vacationing at a wonderful resort! Was poolside all day and left sun screen at home ! This resort had a “Natural” Aloe sunscreen product available to buy so I did! I have used sunscreens in the past and thought nothing of this causing a reaction! I applied several times as we were out all day and gradually started getting the red itchy rash on legs, palms of my hand and lips ! I also applied on my lips as I wanted protection!! I noticed this was the same rash I developed while using a fake suntan lotion and spray! My doctor had to prescribe Prednisone for me twice before this would clear up! So today I pulled out old bottle of self tan lotion and other lotions that made me itchy along with the product I bought this past weekend! Guess what? TOCOPHERYL_ACETATE was present in all of them!
    In the garbage they go !!!!

  15. Kay says:

    I purchased the Vitamin E 400i.u. dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate a week ago. I’ve been taking it every day. Now I have a medium-heavy rash on my arms from shoulder to wrists. I also have white heads on my upper arms. The rash is dry, but very itchy.

  16. Arlene says:

    Tocopheryl Acetate is a prime ingrediant in a particular brand of baby cleansing wipes used several times a day over a period of time. Need I say more?

  17. Diane Snyder says:

    I ordered 100% Pure makeup made by Purity Cosmetics. They list all natural ingredients and vitamins. Some listed tocopheral-a. I have contact dermatitis to carbo mix/carbomic acid. My eyes were itching, burning, watering, throbbing for 24 hours. The reaction to the makeup was within the hour. I also used their lip gloss and it felt as if my lips had been peeled. I looked online for the MSDS/materials safety data sheet and they aren’t even listed. I wrote to Purity Cosmetics asking for the MSDS/label, ingredients and received no response. They’re advertising 100% natural makeup.

  18. Martha says:

    I read online that coconut oil and vitamin E make a good eye cream. Had irritation but couldn’t pinpoint the problem until I used the vitamin E oil by itself. My eyes swelled up, turned red, cracked and itched a little bit. It was Nature’s Gate and had tocopheryl acetate in it. Took Benadryl. Some of the redness is gone but they are still swollen a day later. Also washed and rinsed them off with cool water and put an ice pack on my eyes. It didn’t happen immediately. I had put the vitamin E oil on and it flared up about 2 or 3 hours later while I was out shopping. Taking it back to Whole Foods. Horrible stuff.

  19. I have always had an allergy to Vitamin E. I was never able to use make -up with vitamin E in it. I recently decided to take Omega 3 and within a couple of days my hands and feet swelled up and I felt stiff in all my joints. I really thought I was in trouble with some kind of disease. I began to research and found out that Omega 3 has vitamin E in it and it is used as a preservative. I quite taking it and feel much better.

    Oh by the way Vitamin E is known as tocophyeryl on labels. I did not know that either.

  20. megan gutierrez says:

    I was using a 100% tocopheryl acetate on my face for wrinkles – recommended by a friend. At first it was fine but then I started to swell up and break out in a rash. I did not know which product it was that was causing the reaction so I had to stop using all my facial creams and then reintroduce them one at a time. When I used the tocopheryl acetate, sure as anything I woke up with a a puffy, red, itchy face. Glad I figured it out, now I need to read alllll the labels from now on!

  21. Terri says:

    I have found many hair products, makeup, and even Chap Stick contain this product. On the good side, the less expensive products don’t seem to add the ingredient. Many products don’t list Vitamin e or Tocopheryl Acetate until I go to the internet for a full list.

  22. Zoe Z says:

    For the past 4-5 years I have been avoiding balmy lip products, chapsticks, and lipsticks because my lips start to swell up after using them. Not only do they swell but they start oozing pus so I decided to stay away from all of it since I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. And all I’ve been using on my lips are vaseline.

    And than 2 years ago I decided to take vitamin E supplements, and my face started breaking out in eczema, I still couldn’t figure out why because at the time I was also taking biotin and trying a new moisturizer. This was sadly around the time of my graduation.. My whole face was just red and itchy, and to help it I cracked open the Vitamin E gel tabs and applied it to my face T_T and after nothing work I resorted to slathering Vaseline on my face and taking Benadryl, it cleared up after about a week.

    TODAY, I just figured out it’s the vitamin E I’m allergic to. I bought some vitamin E oil to use as a moisturizer before I sleep and I woke up with eczema yet again. So I decided to look through the lip products and other moisturizers that I’m allergic to VS the ones I’m using now, and the ingredient in common is tocopherol.

    It’s been 3 days since my face broke out and it’s starting to clear up now, sucks that I had to find out the hard way but I’m glad I know now so I can avoid it.

  23. Jennifer says:

    I recently found out I am allergic to tocopherol after having two bouts of breakouts of hives all over my body. After finally finding out what it was, I started looking through all of my lotions and creams. I was dissapointed to find that almost everything Bath and Body Works makes has it-I have hundreds of dollars worth of their products. But the big surprises were finding that it’s in Eucerin and other dry skin/advanced healing formula lotions, and make up!!! Pretty much every brand of liquid and powder face makeup/foundation has tocopherol. Only the all natural brands or the mineral/organic versions of some brands do not. And guess what? They’re SO expensive!! But it’s worth the money because the hives got so bad I had to stay home from work once for a week because they started to itch and hurt and burn to the point that I couldn’t even wear clothes. Be careful of every product you use! I’m 33 years old and I have been using these products for years and not until 4 months ago did I ever have issues. Crazy!

  24. Sherry says:

    I had a bicycle accident and got Vitamin E to put on my skin after the scabs fell away to keep it from scarring. I then got a bad sunburn on my face one day because I normally put a strong sunscreen on it and one afternoon I was at the beach a few hours wit little sunscreen and it got pretty fried. I thought why not use Vitamin E on my face & neck. I have been cutting open the capsules and putting on my skin. After a few days I began to get skin lesions! I kept using it and now have several on my face and neck!! I never had anything like it before, searched if E could be the culprit and found this site – sure enough the Vitamin E I have says: dl-alpha Vitamin E 400 IU, ingredients say dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate. There’s that ACETATE that you described. I cannot believe what it has done to my skin, a dozen skin sores! I will not be using it anymore on my face! I’m not sure what it does to ones’ stomach!

  25. Do says:

    Used Jason’s vitamin E on face and eyes for months.After sunning and swimming on holiday recently my eyes bulged, skin flaked off and they were red and sore.
    Took weeks to go away. Can’t use it now. Would not recommend anyone to use it.

  26. Juli says:

    It’s taken me many years to narrow down which ingredient(s) in hair care products keep causing an occasional itchy rash on my scalp. I think this is the culprit and very relieved to finally know what to look for, Since manufacturers keep coming up with ‘new & improved’ and discontinuing previous lines of product, and stores are occasionally out of stock, it is not so simple as sticking with only the product(s) I know are safe for me.

  27. Steve says:

    Some V8 V-Fusion beverages have Alpha-tocopheryl acetate as the last ingredient, before which is a long list of very plain and trustworthy natural ingredients. I am curious if anyone knows of the side effects from ingestion rather than skin application (topical). I have been getting a rash on my left lower leg, but my understanding is that I was allergic to the perfumes and dyes in my Tide laundry detergent. The rash occurs worst on all those parts of the leg that readily come into contact (and abrade against) clothing. However, when I did research on this additive, I came to realize that it might also be an aggravant of the rash. I would be happy to hear other people’s input on this (particularly if you have a degree in dermatology).

  28. MissMetal says:

    i bought some vit e oil a while back to add to homemade lipstick, as i can’t wear store bought varieties and thought i would try making it myself so i know exactly what is in it. Used the vit e on my lips before bed alone just to test and had a reaction. was swollen and burning before the night was even over. had to get up and wash it off and cold compress till the burnig went away. The burning sensation actually woke me up.

    Re read the label and the vit e was cut with safflower oil, so i assumed that was the culprit because i have used vit e before with no ill effects.

    wrong……
    bought vit me Tocopheryl Acetate variety unknowing it was any different than pure vit e.

    same exact reaction. still swollen and a bit burny/itchy today.

    sooooo….
    back to the store and my friend with no allergies who makes her own salves and such has two new things to use in them. Gahh!! Allergies are FRUSTRATING!!!

  29. MissMetal says:

    Added Note: i’ve used the oil out of Kirkland brand Vitamin E capsules ( labelled -D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate- no problems there using the vitamins internally OR on my ilps… did some searching on the subject and came by this

    “Natural vs. Synthetic

    Natural vitamin E has only one isomer, which is a compound that has the same chemical makeup of vitamin E, but different structure. Synthetic vitamin E is esterified to form eight isomers, only one of which has the identical chemical makeup of natural vitamin E. The remaining seven isomers have limited bioactivity in your body and have about half the function of natural vitamin E. In supplements and fortified foods, natural vitamin E has a “d” or “RRR” before the compound name, such as “d-alpha tocopherol” or “d-alpha tocopheryl acetate”. Synthetic forms of the nutrient have “dl” or “all-rac” in front of the name, like “dl-alpha-tocopherol”.”

  30. Elizzdabosslady says:

    I started taking Vitamin E supplement ( alpha Tocopherol Acetate) a few months ago and I had a severe acne break, so I decided to go on the net to find out about it. Thanks so much for the info. Now I know it’s the Vit E supplements that’s causing it.

  31. jenny says:

    I put vitamin e under my eyes and on eyelids before I went to bed thinking it would help with wrinkles. I woke up with itchy, swollen red eyes!!!

  32. Emma says:

    I hope someone here can shed some light on my personal experience with tocopherol acetate. I have had very sensitive skin all my life and there are very few products I can use that are gentle enough not to cause a reaction. I have a vitamin e oil whose first ingredient is tocopherol acetate and it works wonders on my skin. I put it on at night before bed and wake up to smooth, moisturized, healthy skin without a hint of redness. I read all the negative reviews about tocopherol acetate, so I found a vitamin e oil that’s pure tocopherol, Soil Association certified– no extra chemicals or sprays. My skin turned red and blotchy and I broke out for the first time in my adult life. (Used it diluted in organic jojoba oil, which does not cause a reaction on its own.) I really want to use the chemical free oil. Can anyone explain why the acetate works and the unadulterated oil does not? References and citations of research would be most appreciated. Thanks!

  33. Dana says:

    Please do further research. Many tocopheryls and Vitamin E is soy. Soy is a serious allergen in skin products and food. We have a 2 year old with soy allergies. There are many websites on the internet to research the several names given to soy in food and skin care products.

  34. Judy says:

    Mystery solved ! I blamed this horror on many things moved from a house where I was living. I thought I was being asphyxiated by my heating system. My face looked like fell into a bed of Poison Ivy. Huge watery bags under under my eyes. I aged 30 years in appearance. Not good when your 60. That was 3 yrs ago. I recently used 1 of the only products I was too cheap to throw away. Guess what? A roll on tocopherol acetate. It felt amazing going on my chapped skin and eyes. Then they exploded to sagging sacs of fluid. I found this sight. Mystery solved. Right I’m sticking with olive oil. I’m not using anything with vit E added. clearing nicely. When I see older women with bags under their eyes instead of only seeing tired over worked humans. I now see poisoned tired & over worked. What a world! Thank You

  35. jd says:

    I went through patch testing in June of last year. Tocopherol Acetate was the major culprit of my red, itchy patches, but I am also allergic to Formaldehyde and neomycin. My derm gave me access to a special website with passwords where I can find items without TA in them; however, despite reading labels on everything, I am still experiencing periods of break-outs and am completely frustrated. I am sorry there are so many of us with this allergy, but I am comforted knowing I am not alone. Perhaps my next step is food allergy patch testing. ugh.

  36. Sophie says:

    I purchased a Victoria’s secret body wash from the airport last week and when I used it I had lumpy skin spots forming on my body which were soo itchy. I couldn’t put my finger on it as I tried to remember if I came in contact with any unusual plants or ate anything that might give me an allergic reaction. This went on for a week and I thought it was subsiding, but then I had a shower and used this body wash again . And lo and behold the itchiness came back, awful itching at night! I visited the clinic that day and was put on antihistamines and cortisone cream to get rid of it!
    I read the ingredients on the the bottle and sure enough it has this tocopherol acetate in it with some other toxi sounding ingredients in it. I can’t be 100 percent sure that this is the culprit but it sure sounds like it might be. I will not be using this stuff again!

  37. Aesha says:

    I had an allergic reaction to Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 a while ago, but stopped using it. Today, I tried a sunscreen called EltaMD Clear SPF 46. After about 30 minutes my face was itchy with a burning sensation and where I scratched, hives were starting to develop. I compared the ingredients of the Cetaphil and the EltaMD and found only one common ingredient – Tocopheryl Acetate.

  38. Barbara J. Cook says:

    I have had reactions for years to tocopherYl . Lotions, shampoos, dog food and the dogs that eat it, kleenex with lotion, fruit juices that contain it… Most any severe allergic reaction I have had I can trace back to it or the possibility. Frustrating now that they only list it as Vitamin E supplements. I can’t eat anything with vitamin E supplements!

    Is it possible I could take or eat tocopherol so that receptors would be taken up with the natural form and the YL form would be quickly neutralized or eliminated (neutralize the acetic acid?) instead of creating an allergic reaction? How come some don’t seem to be sensitive to it hardly if at all?

  39. Chanah Lee says:

    I have been using Clairol Light Ash Blonde.every 2 months for years. It contains Tocopheryl and Acetate. Perhaps there was a buildup because my forehead is now covered with little bumps. I wish it could be made leaving out the cause.

  40. Ali Oli says:

    I just purchased a product called Denine Define with this ingredient, now I’m skeptical about using it… Any answers?

  41. Patricia says:

    I have been having allergies & starting switching products to what I thought was going to be more conducive to my body. Mistake it seems that when that is listed it is not indicated it is synthetic unless it is listed from (sunflower or certified organic). Lesson Learned, after a rash that itched like CRAZY from sides face to end of torso, my culprit was an allergy to ragweed which is a cross allergy to sunflower which is what the vitamin E tocopheryl acetate was from. Individuals are like targets for these companies marketing can be deceitful and misleading. Buyer Beware & do your homework first.

  42. DR says:

    i used Purell Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel on my hands (as I had a bacterial eye infection — highly contagious — and wanted to make sure my hands were clean when visiting the Doctor today.) I thought: Oh no, now what: I have itchy bumps over parts of my hands (within an hour of using it — twice — and looked up the ingredients. Sure enough: Tocopheryl Acetate is one of the ingredients. Found this site and the description matches the reaction I am having on my hands
    And I was contemplating colouring my hair — will embrace the strands of gray I now possess =) instead. (after reading one of the above comments.)
    On a cheerful note: I’m glad to learn that my whole body isn’t falling apart and that I have had an allergic reaction instead =)

  43. Pat says:

    Hi I bought vitamin e oil in January and did not affect it only after 6 months I developed a terrible allergic reaction. I only realized it came from the Vitamin E when my reaction cleared the first time and when I applied it the second time that is when I woke up with red and swollen face. I will never use this again. it definetly was the tocopherly acetate that they mix with Vitamin E

  44. Ashley says:

    Hello! I recently found out that I am allergic to tocopheryl. But I am having THE hardest time finding ANY products without it. Literally all of my makeup, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. have it. ALL of them. And I’ve been researching for the last week trying to find alternatives but because I have other allergies (propylene glycol, lauryl glucoside, parabens, etc.) I’m just not finding anything.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  45. Deborah says:

    I’ve been donating my plasma for a few months and have developed a hard knot at the site the needle is inserted. The the phlebotomist said was just scar tissue. She told me to apply vitamin e oil and it would soften and heal right up. I couldn’t find a suitable product at the pharmacy as all listed the first ingredient as soy bean oil, so I figured that I would use some of my vitamin e capsules that I get from my homeopathic nutritionist by popping it and dripping some on my arm. As for the knot, it worked wonders almost immediately, sadly though, I soon developed a horrible itchy rash. At first I thought I was allergic to the latex bandage they were wrapping my arm up in so I continued with the vitamin e oil for a few weeks and asked them to use a different type of bandage. The rash only got worse and seems to be spreading so I assume the rash can only be contributed to applying straight vitamin e oil directly. I’ve since stopped using it (yesterday) and have been applying a cortisone cream. I hope this goes away soon!

  46. Coe says:

    itchy eczema like rash develops with use of TE ingredient.

  47. Isha says:

    I used to put vitamin E on my face every night( the acetate kind was all I could find online or at stores) as a beauty treatment. It worked wonders and made my skin look soft and supple. I was diagnosed with rosacea a few months back and that is when my allergic reaction to Vitamin E started.

    I kept putting it on the dry red spots, on my face and they started to become welps and took over my entire face. I couldn’t understand how a product I had used for years could become so damaging. I stopped using the vitamin E and my Rosacea cleared up and I got my old face back.

    After I stopped using vitamin E, I noticed how dry my skin would get and I couldn’t find a product that hydrated so well. Last night stupidly I decided to give Vitamin E one more chance and I put it on a few dry spots on my cheeks. It made my skin a little itchy but it didn’t burn or make my skin uncomfortable.

    First thing I did when I woke up today was examine my face to see if it helped or did nothing. When I looked in the mirror I was in disbelief. My entire face was swollen and covered in red, dry scaly patches. As the day has progressed my eyes have almost become swollen shut and my face looks like a horror show.

    I now know, I am very allergic to Vitamin E and it is a terrifying thing because almost all beauty products have it listed as an ingredient.

    • Vitamin E can be irritating if not mixed with a carrier oil. Often times than not this is the reason for the reaction.

      • Stephanie says:

        I have been using a vit e oil that is mixed with other oils (safflower, grape seed and calendul flower extract) to take eye makeup off and improve the skin around my eyes. I suddenly started reacting to it (red, itchy swollen allergy). I thought it might be contaminated makeup or brushes and kept using the oil thinking it would help. When I switched to coconut and olive oil it got better. I only figured it out when I put the e oil on again one night and went crazy with itching all night.
        My question is aren’t these other oils considered carrier oils and why did I develop a sudden reaction after using for several months before?

  48. Heather says:

    I have had eczema all of my life, but if I use ant lotion, sunblock, oil, etc with tocopheryl acetate I break out in TERRIBLE eczema everywhere it touches and generally it takes about 2-3 weeks to go away. It’s awful. I just happened to think today that i need to be checking food ingredient lists to see if they contain “Vitamin E” in the form of tocopheryl.

  49. Tony says:

    Within minutes of applying to. My face the burning was obvious. I knew something acidic was on my skin.

  50. Cheryl says:

    I have known that I was allergic to vitamin E/tocopherol since I was 17 and used deodorant that boasted that vitamin E was its active ingredient. My skin became red, swollen, erupted with boils and my skin broke open in bloody sores. In recent years, vitamin E (tocopherol) has become the darling of the manufacturers of cosmetic, sunscreen and paper products. It is in everything and it has become almost impossible to identify body contact products that don’t contain a bit of vitamin E/tocopherol. I know that I am not the only one, but it seems that we are a customer set that has been ignored by manufacturers and the government. Each subsequent time my skin comes in contact with vitamin E/tocopherol my reaction becomes more severe. I recently discovered that there are some manufacturers that outsource their paper fillers and do not know what is contained in the ingredients they are using. Thus, they only list what they add to the product and have taken no interest in what their suppliers have already included. Another gripe I have is that the ingredient list on the back of most products is getting so small that I need a magnifying glass to read it. To those that share my malady; my sympathies.

  51. I have tried many moisturisers and makeup and body lotions and oils which always left my skin red and burning – I noticed that they contained Vit E and it was only when I read that jojoba oil contained Vit E and what it did that I realised it was actually burning my sensitive skin – now I am having great difficulty in finding an oil for my dry flaky skin – especially face – any suggestions – even meu oil has vit added for preservative. Coconut oil has Vit E – shea butter has Vit
    E – I am sure it does many p[eopel well who are not sensitive to it – Thanks for any advice

  52. Catherine says:

    I put some pure vitamin e oil on a scar I has on ny cheeks. Few days later, I developped a severe, very itching rash around my mouth. I never had any allergy before. I went to the doctor who said it was a perioral dermatitis. I resorbed slowly. Months later, I tried the vitamin e again : within hours the rash reappered! It did everytime I applied the vitamin e anywhere on my body.

  53. Janice says:

    I have searched and successfully found, and use cosmetics and cleansers without TA. Higher end and low end products both have it in their ingredients. I am happy to share all that I am using if anyone is interested, just reply. I’ll post a list. Both high end and lower priced items are part of my regimen.

    • LJ says:

      Yes, Please Janice! Share your list of products. It is almost impossible to find any body products at all without vit E Tocopherol or Tocopheryl Acetate.

    • Hazel says:

      Janice,
      Can you please share your list of products that are free of Tocopherol, Tocophyrl Acetate, Vitamin E, etc, as I just recently found out that I have an allergy to this and have thrown away many of my products.
      Thank you so much
      Hazel

  54. Jennifer says:

    I have never had an allergy to anything in all of my 47 years. 6 months ago, I started to have reactions to something. My neck would get red and itchy.My lips would get chapped, swollen and slightly scabby with a clear exudate. My eyes started to swell up and get red. My scalp itched all the time. I went to a dermatologist for chemical skin testing. I tested positive for tocopherol acetate. I understand that this may occur with build up. I read labels of all of my skin care products and was shocked to see it in nearly everything. I have been searching all over for tocopheral free products. One think I have noticed is that even if the ingredients say “tocopheroal”, instead of “tocopheraol acetate”, I still cannot trust it. I question whether label laws require differentiation.

  55. Hi
    I a waiting for patch testing as 18months ago I developed cracked swollen sore lips. I have never had a problem before then and have always wore lipstick but if I wear it now my lips burn crack and peel. Having read about tocopherol acetate, I am now trying to find a product without it. It may sound vain and some would say don’t wear it but it’s the one thing that I loved to wear. And why only 18 months ago. I’ve never had a problem before then and never even had chapped lips. Is there a cosmetic company that don’t use this so I can try eliminate what I’m allergic to myself as I have heard that in many cases patch testing is inconclusive? Thanks

  56. Veronica says:

    After using J.R. WATKINS shea butter hand cream, I noticed my hand getting irritated. At first, I thought it was because I had dry skin so I used the product more but strangely enough my hands got more rashes and it got to the point where I had to wake up to scratch my hands. I checked the ingredients and found that the product contained tocopheryl acetate. I used to have the same issue on my face when I used sunscreen with tocopheryl acetate. That time, I didnt know what caused contact dermatitis (as my skin doctor had examined) but knowing that both the sunscreen and the handcream had tocopheryl acetate, and after reading this article, I am now more sure that this ingredient is the big cause.

  57. Beverly says:

    I am halfway through a 3-month program of using the Environ cleansing mitt followed by AVST1 Vitamin E cream – and I find my skin feels (but doesn’t look) irritated. Not sure if the problem is letting water near my skin, the exfoliating effect of the mitt, or the tocopheryl acetate I now find is in AVST – but I think I am going to ditch this program!

  58. Jaimee says:

    i just bought me and my husband some vitamin e oil and we were using it on our faces for a few days now and our faces are covered in an itchy rash! My husbands is painful but mine is not. My face is completely broke out and I will never use vitamin e again! I’m so frustrated because I’m a finatic when it comes to skin care. Does anyone know how long this annoying rash will continue on my face? Please help!

  59. JA says:

    I also am sensitive to this ingredient that is in everything! Lotions, sunscreen, foundation, shampoos, hair spray, eye shadow, masquara…..If anyone knows of products that do not have this please let me know, My list of products to use is dwindling!

  60. Hannah says:

    I had a very severe reaction about a year ago when I got my belly button pierced. I had read that it was good to put vitamin E oil on the piercing to help it heal. So I did, and a few weeks later I developed a horrible rash all over my stomach. It was so itchy and painful. My doctor prescribed an ointment to put on my rash and it went away within days. Recently, I put vitamin E oil on my thighs to help get rid of stretch marks, and I developed the same rash. After reading this article, I know now that I’m not able to use the vitamin E oil because the only ingredient is Tocopheryl acetate.

  61. Wendy says:

    I have developed a huge allergy to tocopheryl acetate. If I could only share pictures & horror. Over the past 2-3 weeks, my face has swollen, left eye swollen shut-I looked deformed. I was trying to heal my face from using essential oils, which I’m also allergic to. I tried using a vitamin e oil, which contains, of course, tocopheryl acetate. My husband actually figured it out. Once I stopped using everything that contained that ingredient, my face healed in no time. That stuff is in soo many things 🙁

  62. Janice says:

    Okay, but what about the vitamin pills that you digest? Does it contain acetate in it as well? would that kill me?

  63. JJ says:

    I used vitamin E gel capsuels the”good” kind around my eyes ! And i regret sooooo much doing it ! Before i did this I read alot about how Vitamin E oil would help soften wrinkles around my eyes and that the best time to use it was at night and it would work miracles! Yea right!!!! The first night i used vitaminE oil around my eyes i didnt feel anything But the next day in the morning that i woke up! Ohh My!!! I had really ugley swollen ,puffy eyes even got some red like hives around my eyes ! I got so scared! Couldn’t belive how bad my eyes got to the reaction of vitamin E oil !! I know not every one has the same reactions to Vitamin E ! But i just wanted to let some of you know the reaction i got from Vitamin E oil ! I guess iam allergic to tocopheryl 🙁

  64. BaliRob says:

    Was suffering a local infection on lower lip from biting it accidentally after tooth extraction. Had three small white heads (spots) which were pressed to release pressure resulting in small quantities of pus and blood – these were very small spots not abscesses. My partner then coated the lower lip with lip balm made in Indonesia – the label showing tocopheryl acetate. A few minutes later retired to bed. Awoke to find the whole of the lower lip to have been inflated like a small inner tube and my body and scrotum area itching like crazy. Obviously the acetate was more easily absorbed through the expressed spts. Have never used a balm in my life before.

  65. Sylvia N says:

    One of my cousins is an RN at a large hospital in Columbus Ohio and she shared that the hospital had recently removed all hand sanitizers containing this product from their facilities because of the UV dander and carcinogenic dangers.

  66. Shannon says:

    I had a horrible reaction to tocopheryl acetate around my eyes. I thought I would begin an antiaging regime at 25 by applying rosehip oil containing tocopheryl acetate around my eyes. The next day the skin surrounding them was red and flaky. Over the course of the next 6 weeks I experienced extreme dryness, flaking, and redness around my eyes. I decided to put some vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate…as you can see at this point I hadn’t clued in yet) around my eyes and within an hour was in the emergency room as one eye had swollen shut over the course of 10 minutes, while the other barely remained open. The skin around my eyes then became infected, the swelling remained for a week, and my skin was pussing and bleeding. Healing involved anibiotics, probiotics, b vitamins, and apple cider vinegar….followed by candida cleansing at a later date.
    I looked like a horror movie character. There were massive scabs around my eyes for 10 days while they healed. I didn’t know how my face would look once the scabs were gone, or if they would scar. Luckily, the skin healed well and you would never know I experienced that. Thank you for educating others on this scary ingredient……

  67. artur says:

    This report that you mention says that tocohperol is far more irritant than tocopheryl acetate…
    http://online.personalcarecouncil.org/ctfa-static/online/lists/cir-pdfs/FR667.pdf
    “dl-α-Tocopherol was classified as having moderate sensitization potential in a local lymph node assay (LLNA).63 Twentyfive
    µl tocopherol in 3:1 ethanol:diethyl phthalate was applied to the dorsum of the ears of CBA female mice for 3 days. T”

  68. Cheryl says:

    I have been allergic to tocopherol since it was first introduced in cosmetics, creams and deodorant back in 1973. At the time it was not as frequently used as it is today. Now it is almost impossible to find a cosmetic that does not include this horrid additive. When my skin comes in contact with tocopherol I break out in blisters, my skin becomes very red and swelling ensues. However, I have noticed over the last few incidents that my reactions have become progressively worse with just the slightest exposure. I find it particularly maddening that products that I once used without any problems are not adding this horrific concoction to their formulations. I can usually tell within a minute if a product contains this ingredient. My skin becomes warm, red and very painful. Even if I wash it off within minutes it will take days for me to recover from the exposure. I am afraid that eventually I will develop an anaphylactic reaction. Luckily, I already carry an Epipen in case I get stung by a bee. I wish there was some way of getting cosmetic companies and the congress will enact legislation that will prevent usage or include a specific warning.

  69. Nina says:

    I bought this Vitamin E Cream that my boyfriends mother uses and recommended to me. After just the first day of using it I noticed my face felt more rough than smooth like the product should have been doing and I’ve always had a smooth face. Turns out there’s littlw skin irritation all over my face where I have applied the product. I have read the ingredients and found no issue really until i did my research and found this article. It in fact has the added acetate in the vitamin E ingredient. I’m never going to touch this cream again and next time I look for a Vitamin E cream I will look for the right kind!

  70. Anna says:

    I used physician’s formula mineral wear, transulent light. It says “minimalist formula, for extra sensitive skin”. Well, after wearing it once for four hours, and then washing it off, my face felt itchy about two hours after wearing it.

    The next day my skin was less dry, but red and tingly feeling. Not burning but sort of tingly. It was though surprisingly smooth and soft to the touch (?).

    I saw this product contains tocopheryl acetate. I think the tocopheryl part helped my skin but the acetate made it prickly feeling. After two days the tingly feeling is almost completely gone. I threw the product away.

    I think i had an allergic reaction to it.

  71. Allergic! says:

    This vitamin e oil with the acid caused terrible hives all over the face! It takes days for it to calm down. The acetate is an allergen to my skin. Yuck!

  72. Tania says:

    I got red rashes when in use evoin vitamin e capsules and lemon now I got red rashes tell me how to cure it in one day

  73. Laura says:

    I have been allergic to Tocopherol/Tocopheryl Acetate since I was 16. I have found it to be quite easy to avoid cosmetic products that contain it, but you just have to read the incl lists carefully.

    What really bugs me is that they add these substances to a lot of “organic” cosmetic products, and to almost all sunscreens. Thus it makes it very hard for me to find a sunscreen that doesn’t cause allergies. Luckily Lush has one 🙂 It’s the only one I’ve found so far!

  74. Sierra says:

    I actually wish I could share a before and after picture of my skin. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant and developed what they referred to as pregnancy induced eczema. My skin was thick, peeling, and horribly itchy. I tried all the usual coconut oil mixtures I could think of, but they only further irritated it. I tried different lotions and creams with all natural ingredients- none helped. I finally started putting vitamin E oil- in the form of tocopheryl acetate- on it and it immediately stopped itching and has almost completely cleared. I’m not saying I’m a proponent of it and I certainly have no further use for it after this is gone as coconut oil does me just fine, but in this case I was thankful for it so that I could avoid putting steroids on my skin.

  75. G. says:

    I have had redness and soreness and peeling at the ends of my fingers for several years. Have been testing various products. Just noticed that babywipes (Kirkland) which I’ve been using for several years, contain tocopheryl acetate.

  76. Linda says:

    I have to avoid soy. I think soy is likely “Tocopheryl Acetate” – Vitamin E.
    It is a cheap product, and sounds good.

  77. Audrey says:

    I have been using Charming ultra soft for several months, the last 4 months I have been going nuts with anal itching. For some reason tonight it hit me to check the toilet tissue for vitamin e as I have known for 40 years I have an allergy to vitamin e topically. There in the ingredients I found “tocopherol acetate”,

  78. Dani says:

    I can’t use anything with Vitamin E or tacopheryl acetate. The contact dermatitis has been so bad I’ve ended up on steroids several times. I have to use pure coconut oil to shave with as I can not find a shave gel with out it. So many lotions and. Body washes have it as well.

  79. Maria says:

    Any vitamin E derivative makes my skin very clogged. I always have to check the products’ ingredients before I buy and make sure they don’t contain any tocopherols. It’s so difficult to find skincare products but I have no choice!

  80. Megan says:

    I am very sensitive to tocopheryl acetate and am desperately searching for a mineral powder foundation that does not have it. Can anyone help me? Thank you!

  81. Anna says:

    I used it on my face last night, after reading it could help tighten wrinkles. I woke up with fire read skin everywhere I applied the cream. And my eyes sting…I guess some of it spread into my eyes over night. I’m a mess. I wish I could share a picture.

  82. Tara says:

    I have been using vitamin e cream by De La Cruz for at least 6 months now, and in the past month I have had red eyes. I have narrowed it down to this cream. It has tocopheryl acetate. My eyes are bloodshot and I have tried to rinse them out, and used sustane and visine eye drops, but nothing works. For the whole day I had to work with red eyes and I looked like a demon.

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