Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with powerful antioxidant properties; hence, its popular use in preventing diseases brought about by compromised immunity. While the role of vitamin E in the alleviation of Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, diabetes, heart disease and cancer is yet inconclusive, it is quite established that vitamin E immensely benefits the skin and eyes and restores immunity.
Vitamin E refers to a group of molecules with similar structure and antioxidant qualities. The most common form that meets human requirements is tocopherol, and adults 19 years old and older need to consume, at most, 400 IU of it a day. This is because prolonged intake of vitamin E supplements contributes to a higher risk of stroke. It has also been found that vitamin E intake during the early stages of pregnancy contributes to an increase in congenital heart defects. In addition, males who take the supplement seven times a week are likelier to develop prostate cancer.
Sticking to a diet rich in vegetables and fruits allows most people to get enough vitamin E with no need for supplementation. The best natural sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, eggs, fortified cereals and nuts.
In topical (as those found in skin care products) or oil form, vitamin E functions as:
1. Sunscreen. When combined with vitamin C, the mixture acts as a natural form of UV barrier. This is because vitamin E absorbs energy from ultraviolet light, preventing free radicals to wreak havoc on the skin. Given this photoprotection property, make sure your skin care products contain this vitamin or use it alongside products without vitamin E.
2. Skin brightener. Vitamin E helps repair damaged tissues, so if you are looking at healing your scars or lightening them to make them less noticeable, apply creams that contain vitamin E.
3. Moisturizer. In oil form, vitamin E applied to the skin at night (since it can be thick and greasy) soothes chapped skin. Use this by itself or in conjunction with whatever night creamers your skin is already used to for better hydration.
4. Hair conditioner. If applied to scalp, vitamin E oil increases blood circulation to the scalp and strengthens hair follicles.