Vitamin E is an organic fat-soluble compound that’s an important part of maintaining optimal nutrition and good overall health. It’s a powerful antioxidant, which helps perform a number of health-preserving functions. There are eight different forms of vitamin E, and of the eight, the alpha-tocopherol form is the most abundant in the human body. The other forms are metabolized and excreted by the liver.
Alpha-tocopherol protects by mitigating the damage caused by free radicals, which are molecules that contain an unshared electron. The body gets routinely exposed to free radicals through things like the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, air pollutants, and tobacco smoke. Free radicals have relatively high energy states and are thought to cause tissue damage, leading to a wide variety of maladies, including issues with the skin.
Available forms of vitamin E
Vitamin E is available in two basic forms: dietary and supplemental, including topical creams and lotions. The dietary form is the most common source, and is the most highly recommended by health and dietary experts. Vitamin E foods include things like fortified cereal, eggs, meats, nuts, seeds, nut oils, poultry, olive oil, and whole grains. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach also have a significant vitamin E content.
Vitamin E is currently being researched in terms of its role in coronary artery disease, eye diseases, cancer, and cognitive decline. Given that adequate intake of Vitamin E can help in maintaining healthy skin as well as affect the possible course of these other ailments, it is easy to appreciate the health benefits of adequate vitamin E intake.
Supplemental forms of vitamin E can include pills, capsules, lotions or creams. Many people take vitamin E pills or capsules to keep platelets from sticking to blood vessel walls. It is also commonly used to decrease the possibility of having a second heart attack by slowing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol that is tightly packed in the lesions associated with coronary artery disease.
Vitamin E skin benefits
In addition to taking in adequate quantities of dietary vitamin E, many people use lotions or creams that contain vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol acetate. Vitamin E is considered most beneficial in topical form because it doesn’t oxidize — it can actually penetrate down through the surface of the skin into living cells. It is estimated that approximately 5 percent of the vitamin E that is applied to the skin gets converted into free tocopherol and provides the antioxidant effect. Another form of vitamin E, called gamma tocopherol, has been demonstrated to provide longer-lasting photo-protection and less photo-oxidative stress than that which is seen with topical application of alpha-tocopherol acetate.
A lesser-known use for vitamin oil is its use in perineal massage during childbirth. It purportedly makes the perineum softer, suppler, and allows it to stretch to a greater degree. It is also thought to help minimize stiff scar formation in the event of a perineal tear.
While Vitamin E can help a lot of skin issues, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that impact your skin’s health.