You've probably heard your doctor discuss the health benefits of taking vitamin E, which include boosting your immune system, preventing stroke-induced brain damage and protecting against certain cancers. But vitamin E oil can also work wonders when it comes to your hair, skin and nails. (Just take a look at this girl's smooth alabaster complexion). However, it isn't as simple as buying a face cream labeled with the powerful ingredient. |
Skincare specialists praise vitamin E oil for its beauty benefits, but they do so with caution. "Vitamin E is always a tricky ingredient to use," says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. "It's an awesome antioxidant, but it's heavy, so if you are prone to break outs, it could make you break out more. Vitamin E has always been used in skincare, but I think the purity of it has changed."
Dr. Stafford R. Broumand, a New York City-based cosmetic and plastic surgeon, echoes the evolution of the super vitamin, explaining, "Vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta –tocotrienol). Tocopherol is the only form that is recognized to meet human requirements. However, most Vitamin E oils do not contain all eight forms and some have soy."
According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, our society's growing obsession with oils is rooted in the belief that a "natural" product is the cure-all for dry skin, eczema, etc. "The fact is that the oil may be moisturizing to help the condition, but the vitamin E part of it is unnecessary... and can sometimes cause an allergy," she says.
So how can we get the most out of vitamin E oil without causing more harm than good to our bodies?
Apply it at night. "The oil can be thick and greasy, so it's best used before bedtime, possibly in place of a night cream or moisturizer," says Dr. Broumand.
Combine it with vitamin C. "It has been shown that when combining vitamin E with vitamin C, it can act as a natural form of sun protection," explains Dr. Broumand. "Vitamin E oil works to block free radicals from the body, which play a large part in the aging process. If we can fight off free radicals, then we can reduce wrinkles and keep the skin youthful-looking."
Vargas adds, "It has basic antioxidant properties that everyone needs. It is unavoidable that we are all suffering from environmental stress. [Vitamin E oil] protects the skin against cell mutation in the sun and pollution. It's also an anti-inflammatory, so it calms and hydrates sensitive skin."
Swap it in place of skin-brightening creams. "Free radicals can also prevent the healing of scars, so applying vitamin E oil will help to repair and improve the appearance of the damaged tissue," says Dr. Broumand.
Use it to target excessive dryness. "There have been some studies to show that vitamin E oil may increase circulation to the scalp," says Dr. Broumand. "This temporarily increased blood flow to the area could help to enhance the health and strength of the hair follicles. Vitamin E oil can also work to hydrate and moisturize dry, brittle hair."
Vargas also recommends massaging vitamin E oil on your cuticles and lips to prevent and soothe chapped skin.
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