Vitamin E for Health and Beauty

by Melissa Chichester

What vitamin actually exists in eight forms?

If you guessed Vitamin E, you guessed correctly! With four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, alpha-tocopherol is the main form of Vitamin E found in the body. Tocopherols are also used in many food and pet products as preservatives that help extend shelf life. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble micronutrient that can be stored by the body and is easy to consume through the diet because it is widely available.

The history of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and a nutrient that was discovered in 1922 by Herbert McLean Evans and Katharine Scott Bishop. It wasn’t until 1935 that it was isolated by Evans and Gladys Anderson Emerson, and in 1938 its structure was recognized. Because it was discovered as being essential for fertilized eggs to promote live births in a study done on rats, it was given the name “tocopherol” which is Greek for “to bear or carry.” Deficiency is rare in humans, but individuals with conditions that inhibit fat-soluble vitamin absorption are at a higher risk.

Food sources of Vitamin E

Many foods are rich in Vitamin E, including the following:

Health benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is well-known as a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body.* Free radicals from the environment and food can contribute to premature aging of cells. In addition, Vitamin E supports immune function and plays a role in maintaining overall good health.*

Beauty uses for Vitamin E

Besides the numerous health benefits Vitamin E provides, it also plays a role in taking care of skin, hair, and other parts of the body as a common ingredient found in cosmetics. Here are some of the ways Vitamin E goes beyond supporting the inside and promotes a radiant outside.

  • Vitamin E oil is naturally moisturizing for softening dry lips.
  • Vitamin E assists in stimulating the production of collagen, a structural component of skin.
  • Vitamin E oil helps to condition dry hair.
  • Vitamin E can also moisturize a dry scalp.
  • Soaking nails in Vitamin E oil moisturizes dry cuticles.
  • Vitamin E oil softens the skin on elbows, feet, and ankles, which is often drier than the skin on other areas of the body.
  • Vitamin E oil can be used to make masks that condition the hair and skin.
  • Mix a small amount of Vitamin E oil with your favorite body lotion for extra moisturization.

Before using Vitamin E on the skin, always do a patch test first, especially if your skin is sensitive.