When it comes to using vitamins in your skin care routine, it may seem like vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin C get all the praise and attention. And while they’re certainly key ingredients for a bright and clear complexion, we want to talk about the importance of incorporating vitamin E into your skin care regimen. Believe it or not, vitamin E is one of the most commonly used ingredients in skin care products. In fact, you probably currently use a moisturizer or serum with vitamin E in it. But because it’s not talked about as much, you might not know what exactly it does.
“Vitamin E is a general term used to denote a family of eight antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of oxygen free radical damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and CEO of customizable skincare brand Curology. “Vitamin E is commonly found in over-the-counter moisturizing creams and lotions and other skin care products.”
So while there are technically eight different forms of vitamin E, if you see the ingredient listed on the back of a bottle of cream or serum, it’s likely tocopheryl acetate, a combination of acetic acid and vitamin E, says Dr. Lortscher. This combination is typically used because of its “antioxidant and skin condition[ing]” properties.
Antioxidants are, of course, crucial for fighting off free radicals, which can be the result of environmental pollution and sun exposure, therefore preventing the skin damage they cause. Combined with vitamin E’s moisturizing and skin barrier-strengthening abilities, it can work wonders in protecting your skin from damage over the years. Of course, the protection it offers from the sun’s rays is nowhere near enough, so this is definitely not an excuse to skip SPF.
Lipid-rich vitamin E “helps protect the skin from oxidative stress that damages and ages our skin,” says Lindsay Barras, Education Manager at Dermalogica Canada, “while infusing the skin with lipids for dry skin.”
“Vitamin E is great for anyone concerned about signs of aging, as it will protect the skin from free radical damage and help regenerate healthy skin,” says Barras. “It will also help protect our lipid barrier which also starts to degrade as we age, and needs replenishment—especially for those with dry skin.” FYI, those with acne-prone and oily skin might want to use vitamin E with caution, as it is a lipid-rich ingredient.
Below, eight of our favorite skin care products that contain vitamin E as a hero ingredient.
1Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Firm Eye Cream
This ultra-potent eye cream works wonders.
2The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner
A key part of The Body Shop’s beloved vitamin E line.
3Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Moisturizer
A moisturizer loved by many, this is great for very dehydrated skin.
4SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
This cult fave is definitely pricey, but it’s worth it for its instant brightening effects.
5Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil
The 100% natural oil is a wonderful pick for skin that needs some nourishment and rebalancing.
6Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Vitamin C and E work so beautifully together, as seen by this Sunday Riley serum.
7Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Bright Serum
The newest Glow Recipe launch is loaded with hyaluronic acid, ascorbic acid, and vitamin E.
8 Nuria Rescue Rebalancing Cleanser
A great choice for acne-prone, congested skin.