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Vitamin E – a crucial vitamin for cell protection

We learn as early as childhood that vitamins are important for our health and well-being. By eating a balanced, healthy and sensible diet, we can meet all our vitamin requirements. Vitamins also play a crucial role in care product formulas and cosmetics. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means that it can protect our skin against premature ageing. Other properties that make it such an interesting ingredient for the cosmetics industry are its support for the generation of new cells, its ability to preserve the skin’s protective lipid layer, and the way it helps our skin retain its moisture.

Information about vitamin E

  • INCI name (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients name): Tocopherol (in compounds: Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate or Tocopheryl Succinate)
  • Pure form or derivative
  • Production: From natural oils (e.g. sunflower oil)
  • Special properties of vitamin E: Antioxidant, skin-smoothening, reinforces the skin’s barrier layer, prevents dehydration, reduces sun damage, supports the UV protection effect of other substances

Natural vitamin E for cosmetics and care products is usually obtained from oils. The main sources are soya beans, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is particularly rich in vitamin E, for example. Natural vitamin E comes in a variety of forms (including alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-Tocopherols). They are handled in slightly different ways in the body, which allows their effectiveness to be enhanced.

Vitamins delivered to exactly where they are needed

Can we not just absorb enough vitamin E from our diet? Why would it be added to care products?

The human body needs vitamin E for a number of different processes. It is not able to produce the vitamin itself, however, which means that we have to absorb it through our diet. But if we want to bring about a specific effect in a particular area, we can also apply vitamin E directly to the skin. This should ensure that the active ingredients are delivered to precisely where they are needed.

Positive interactions

Vitamin E is often mixed with other active ingredients in many cosmetics products to reinforce and assist the desired effects. Vitamin E is regarded as a very good antioxidant, which means that it scavenges and neutralises free radicals and so prevents them from damaging the cells. This prevents premature ageing of the skin. Vitamin E becomes most effective when it works together with vitamin C. It actually loses its antioxidant power when it binds to a free radical, but the influence of vitamin C reactivates it and allows it to continue its scavenging of free radicals.

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