Is vitamin E good for your skin? The benefits explained

woman sitting on the floor doing skincare routine

What does vitamin E actually do for your skin?

Stroll down the skincare aisle of any health or beauty store and you’re bound to see vitamin E listed as a key ingredient in many creams and cleansers. For decades now, it’s been a staple ingredient in cosmetics and face creams – and with good reason. However, despite its association with the beauty industry, vitamin E’s health benefits go beyond that of a healthy complexion.

From its ability to keep our bones strong to how it can support our immune system, read on to discover exactly why vitamin E is beneficial for our skin health and our general health.

What is vitamin E?

In simple terms, vitamin E is an important nutrient that our body needs to stay healthy and function properly. As our bodies cannot independently produce it, we need to look externally for sources – including eating foods that are rich in it.

As a fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin E is best absorbed by the body when it’s consumed alongside other fats, and it can be stored in our bodies for months.

Also read: Which vitamins should I take daily?

What role does vitamin E play in the body?

An essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant, vitamin E has many roles to fulfil in the body. As well as boosting our skin, it’s also beneficial for healthy blood, better brain function and good vision, while there’s some evidence it might even help us preserve bone mass.

Vitamin E supports key health functions such as:

  • Boosting immune function by supporting the production of infection-fighting T cells
  • Reducing oxidative stress in the body caused by free radicals, thanks to its antioxidant properties
  • As a mild anticoagulant, vitamin E may contribute to the reduced risk of clots forming in our arteries
  • Supports healthy skin by protecting against environmental and UV stress

Also read: What are antioxidants and how can I eat more?

Why is vitamin E called The Beauty Vitamin?

Given vitamin E’s skin-boosting properties, it’s hardly surprising that it’s also known as the ‘The Beauty Vitamin’. It’s commonly found in cosmetics such as face creams and serums, and is available in both oil and cream form.

When ingested – either from food sources or vitamin E supplements – it helps to support skin cell function and reduce the risk of UV damage to the skin.

Applied to the skin directly, via vitamin E oil, for example, it has the effect of moisturising and soothing skin. It can also protect from free radicals when applied topically and is also associated with the reduction of scars, and prevention of visible signs of ageing. However, more research is needed to draw a direct link.

Also read: Can your skin problem be linked to a vitamin deficiency?

What foods contain vitamin E?

 avocados halved on chopping board

There are many easy to attain and nutritious sources of vitamin E. As our bodies can’t produce it, it’s a good idea to seek out vitamin E to support our overall health.

Foods rich in vitamin E include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Spinach
  • Butternut squash
  • Red peppers
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Rainbow trout

Try to add as many of these food types into your diet to boost your vitamin E intake, or add a vitamin E supplement.

Also read: Which cooking oil is the healthiest?

What are the benefits of taking vitamin E supplements and who are they good for?

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, so if you’re struggling to eat foods rich in it, a supplement may help support this. It’s advised that men need 4mg of vitamin E per day, and women 3mg.
As it’s a fat-soluble nutrient, it is best to take vitamin E supplements with food.

Supplements can also support those with deficiencies, which are more likely in those following a very low-fat diet – many natural sources of vitamin E are found in high-fat, plant-based ingredients.

If you do take vitamin E supplements, don’t take too much as it can be harmful: stick to no more than 540mg a day.

Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin E deficiencies are rare. However, the signs can include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Walking difficulties
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Vision deterioration
  • Poor immunity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: Speak to your doctor before starting a new supplement regime.

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Nature's Truth

Writer and expert