What is Vitamin E? - Fight Free Radicals, Protect Your Skin

The reason vitamin E is so good for us is that it's an antioxidant. That means it helps eliminate free radicals, unstable particles that can damage the human body. This is especially helpful in the blood vessels, and the vitamin can also keep particles from sticking to the cell walls inside them. Oils and nuts are excellent sources of vitamin E, including wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts. Spinach and broccoli also contain it in lesser amounts.

How Does Vitamin E Help the Skin?

The skin is exposed to the same free radicals as the rest of the body, and our faces are exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, air pollution and cigarette smoke, all things that can cause damage to skin cells. Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin because it can actually absorb some of the energy from the sun that would otherwise cause skin damage.


Because vitamin E is lipophilic, or attracted to fat molecules, it will penetrate all layers of the skin and oily skin usually has more vitamin E available than dry skin. If your skin is getting dry as you age, applying a vitamin E cream or serum will replace the lost vitamin. As it accumulates in the lipid layer of the skin, it makes the cells more resistant to oxidization.

The reason its use on the skin is linked to less fine lines and wrinkles is that the vitamin helps the skin retain moisture to smooth out wrinkles, leading to younger-looking skin. Vitamin E also helps prevent inflammation of the skin and even helps wounds heal faster. If you suffer from eczema, a vitamin E lotion will help soothe the dryness and itching, and it's been linked to a reduction in the symptoms of psoriasis.

Finally, vitamin E can help lessen the effects of sunburn, although it's always vital to wear a sunscreen when you're outside. Some people are allergic to skin application of the vitamin and have allergic reactions that make the skin red and rough. To make sure you're not allergic, test a small patch of skin with your vitamin E lotion or serum before applying it to your entire face.

What is a Vitamin E Serum?

First, a serum is a beauty product that you apply between cleansing your skin and applying moisturizer. The reason it's the first thing you put on your face is that you want it to penetrate the cells and do as much good as possible. It's made up of a high concentration of small molecules that will sink into your skin easily. If it includes hyaluronic acid, as many facials serums do, it will also help your face retain moisture. But it's not a moisturizer, and your facial lotion will add a moisture barrier to help hold onto all the beneficial ingredients of a serum.

Because of its healing properties, vitamin E can smooth rough skin and scars. It does this by encouraging new cells to form that replace the damaged skin. In the same way, it can lighten brown spots and dark circles under the eyes by increasing cell turnover. One helpful tip is to use vitamin E oil to remove makeup at night. You're hydrating and protecting your skin at the same time that you're removing the makeup.

Your serum won't be the same as vitamin oil. Some serums are water based so that they'll sink right into the skin and be absorbed. However, oil-based serums have also gained in popularity for those with dry skin. Vitamin E serum usually includes vitamin C because it has similar skin benefits, and the vitamin C gives vitamin E be a boost in effectiveness.

vitamin c serum with vitamin e

Dont Go Overboard with Vitamin E

Apply your vitamin E lotion and serum as suggested. You want the vitamin to accumulate under your skin in the right amount, and slathering vitamin E oil on your face several times a day won't make your skin any smoother. It may even be toxic! Doctors recommend applying vitamin E lotion at bedtime and using it during the day to target especially dry areas of the skin.

Just like anything that's good for you, there are limits to Vitamin E use. As I mentioned above, this vitamin is fat-soluble and can be stored in the fatty tissues of the body. So, if you're taking a supplement as well, just make sure that you don't go over the recommended daily intake.

How to Apply Your Facial Serum

A quality vitamin E and C serum will brighten and tighten your skin because it helps produce collagen, a protein that gives skin strength and elasticity. This will also help fill out fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing their appearance on your face. I recommend applying the serum before bed for a couple of reasons, one being that sun damage continues even after you're no longer in the sun. Also, morning is generally the time that you apply glycolic acid or retinol, which shouldn't be used at the same time as vitamin C.

If you apply your serum at night, the vitamins will build up in your skin and the antioxidant protection will still be there the next day. Enough time will have passed to keep the vitamin C and retinol from causing redness and burning on your face. Both of these are mild acids that help encourage cell turnover, but together it's too much at one time.

Part of a Complete Skin Care Routine

Applying your serum is one of the steps in taking the best care of the skin on your face. Some women use the same routine of cleanser, serum and moisturizer on any part of the body that will be exposed to the sun. Vitamin E serum works to protect and restore the health of your skin and, used with a sunscreen, it will keep you looking younger for a long time.

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