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Vitamin E (Tocopherol) for Skin, the Classic Antioxidant


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

Vitamin E, also called “tocopherol,” isn’t just one compound—it’s actually a name used to describe eight chemical forms of fat-soluble compounds found in nature.

It was discovered in 1922 when researchers gave rats a purified diet devoid of vitamin E. The animals became infertile as a result. When researchers added wheat germ to the diet, the animals became fertile again. The oil-based substance that would become vitamin E was later isolated and called the “anti-sterility” vitamin, though later studies were not able to approve that vitamin E is needed for fertility.

Vitamin E (tocopherols) are needed in skin care, however! They have antioxidants, which can help protect and provide anti-aging effects.


Vitamin E helps protect.

A Little Bit About the Ingredient Itself

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Natural vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms: alpha, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol, and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form recognized to meet human health requirements.

Internal Health Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is used by the body in many ways. First of all, it’s antioxidant properties help protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin E is also involved in healthy immune function, gene expression, and blood circulation. It is known to protect artery walls and keep “bad” LDL cholesterol from sticking and creating artery narrowing. It’s also important in protecting the health of nerves, and in preventing mental degeneration due to aging. Some studies have indicated that vitamin E supplements may help reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Vitamin E is present in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, as well as green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.

Vitamin E’s Benefits to the Skin

When looking for vitamin E in your skin care, look for the term “tocopherol.” Labeling requirements prohibit the use of the word “vitamin” on cosmetic labels.

The first role of tocopherols in skin care is to protect from environmental stressors. Tocopherols also helps tighten and firm the look of skin which makes vitamin E the perfect addition to any anti-aging formula.

Vitamin E has a long reputation as an effective moisturizer. Not only does it hydrate, but it moisturizes — this can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Try It!

I’ve added tocopherols to several of my skin care products, particularly those that are likely to stay on your skin and help protect. Use these daily and you’re likely to see your skin become more resilient, moisturized, and youthful looking.

Have you tried vitamin E for skin conditions? What were your results?

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Photo courtesy shutterstock.

Alexander J. Michels, “Vitamin E and Skin Health,” Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, February 2012,

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Please Note: Due to our interest in FDA cosmetic guidelines compliance, all blog comments are reviewed before posting and may be removed from Annmarie Skin Care website or edited for claims that do not meet FDA standards.

COMMENTS ( 3 and counting )
  1. Claire H. says:

    Hi Annmarie,
    Thanks for the interesting article. I make my own face oil blends and am keen to buy some Vit E (tocopherol) rather than the other Vit E options, where do you buy yours?
    Best wishes,

  2. I recently bought tocopherol – vitamin E ! I need to know if vitamin e oil and tocopherol is different or the same ? Because Tocopherol looks like a thick gel i wonder if its highly concentrated and needs dilution ? Also should i use it in same quantities as i would use vitamin e oil ?


    • Annmarie Skin Care says:

      Hi Nikita! Vitamin e and tocopherol are indeed the same thing. If you are going to use it, we would recommend using a small amount combined with another oil of your choice. Hope that helps!