How Using Vitamin E For Skin Can Upgrade Your Beauty Routine

Your guide to the antioxidant.

by Sienna Fantozzi and Paris Giles
Originally Published: 

When you were a kid, getting your vitamins meant adding fruits and veggies to your plate. When you’re a skin care aficionado, on the other hand, you’ve grown to understand that beneficial vitamins aren’t only found in broccoli; they’re essential in topical formulations, too, since your skin also needs them. That’s why beauty brands tend to include a myriad of complexion-boosting vitamins inside their products. Perhaps the least talked about yet ubiquitous is vitamin E. It regularly shows up in the ingredient roundups of beloved skin care products, but isn’t as constantly praised as, say, its cousin vitamin C — so maybe you’re wondering what vitamin E is and how it benefits your skin. If you’re nodding, then scroll on because Bustle pinged board-certified dermatologists for all of the intel on using vitamin E for skin.

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Vitamin E For Skin Benefits

Vitamin E is the equivalent of the multi-hyphenate celeb who sings, acts, and runs a beauty brand — that’s to say the ingredient kind of does it all. Most notably, vitamin E (often on skin care labels as alpha-tocopherol acetate or tocopherol) is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it protects the skin against free radicals and environmental stressors (including sun exposure) that can cause damage and premature aging. And, as board-certified dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., notes, vitamin E is unlike most other antioxidants since it’s also a hydrating molecule. The Miami-based derm and founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare explains that the vitamin acts as both a humectant, drawing moisture from the air into the skin, and an emollient, trapping moisture in. That’s why you’ll often find it added to moisturizing oils and creams for an added boost of hydration.

New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, M.D. adds that vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it the perfect addition to a soothing skin care routine or when looking to treat a sunburn or other wound. “It can also have benefits in the treatment of melasma as it works on pathways that lead to the overproduction of pigment forming cells in the skin,” Day says. Melasma, BTW, is a type of hyperpigmentation most often affecting darker-skinned women and usually caused by hormonal changes like pregnancy or because of oral contraceptives.

How To Incorporate Vitamin E Into Your Skin Care Routine

The experts say vitamin E is OK for most skin types, though its hydrating properties might make it more appealing to those who deal with dryness. Ciraldo says she tends to favor serums and creams containing vitamin E for the face and oil-based formulations for the body, especially during the warmer months when more of your skin is exposed to outside pollutants during the day (remember, vitamin E is an excellent defense against the harmful stuff). It’s because of its protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that Day recommends incorporating vitamin E into your morning skin care routine.

Ahead, find a handful of vitamin E-spiked beauty products to add to your routine.

Shop Vitamin E-Infused Skin Care

The Body Oil

For a hydrating body oil, Ciraldo is a fan of this easy-to-use mist. It contains vitamin E, oatmeal, jojoba oil, and vitamin C for a soothing blend that attacks dryness while being friendly to your budget.

The Powerhouse Serum

Both Day and Ciraldo recommend this cult-fave antioxidant-packed serum that relies on the effective trio of vitamin C, ferulic acid, and vitamin E to brighten, firm, and fade fine lines.

The Eye Cream

This creamy concoction from Day’s skin care line uses a blend of vitamins C and E, peptides, ferulic ester, and hydroxypinacolone retinoate (a gentle retinoid ester) to fade dark circles, reduce fine lines, and improve the texture of the skin around your eyes.

The Moisture Mask

This creamy formulation relies on a hydrating and firming blend of vitamin E, niacinamide, and adenosine, which together help even out the complexion. Use it as a daily moisturizer or an overnight mask.

The Antioxidant-Rich Serum

For another potent antioxidant serum to add to your routine, Ciraldo recommends this one that also contains the vitamin C, E, and ferluic acid trio to brighten and protect your skin for a healthier glow.

Studies referenced:

M. Keen & I. Hassan (2016). Vitamin E in Dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal.


Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., Miami-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare

Dr. Doris Day, M.D., New York City-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Doris Day M.D. Skincare

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