This Oft-Overlooked Vitamin Is Essential For Plump Skin — 3 Ways To Use It
While I hesitate to call any skin care ingredient "trendy," some do cycle through their time in the spotlight. Think astaxanthin, peptides, and biotech-derived botanicals. They may have been part of the beauty zeitgeist for ages, but they've recently skyrocketed in popularity.
And then there are ingredients that are so fundamental that they often fly under the radar. Vitamin E is one of those players. Sure, it doesn't sound as sexy as, say, CoQ10 or postbiotics, but your skin care routine would not be the same without the antioxidant.
It's time we give vitamin E the attention it deserves—here, three easy ways to take advantage of its many perks:
In collagen supplements
You might know vitamin C as the collagen supplement nonnegotiable—your body cannot effectively produce collagen without the antioxidant1, as it promotes fibroblast production2, tends to damaged collagen DNA, and regulates collagen synthesis3. But did you know that vitamin E is just as important to consider in your blend?
See, vitamin E intake protects against collagen cross-linking4, a process that plays a role in skin aging. When collagen cross-links5, it becomes hard and stiff, and that leads to damage. As an antioxidant, vitamin E also fends off free radicals and fights against oxidative stress; and oxidative stress, as we know, is the process behind inflammation and skin aging.
This all being said, make sure your collagen supplement contains both vitamin C and E. With both star players, your collagen powder will have an easier time smoothing fine lines and keeping your skin plump. Check out our list of high-quality collagen supplements here, a few of which contain even more extra beauty botanicals.
As a spot treatment
Anecdotally, applying vitamin E topically can speed up wound healing—that's why you can find the antioxidant in plenty of dark spot correctors and acne treatments. Some even swear by popping open a vitamin E capsule and rubbing it on areas of scarring or hyperpigmentation.
We always recommend patch testing before trying this at-home trick—it's very uncommon, but topical vitamin E can also irritate sensitive skin—or you could just opt for plant oils notably rich in vitamin E. Carter + Jane's PickFix, for example, contains Turkish pomegranate seed oil (one of the highest natural sources of vitamin E) to help fade stubborn dark spots and scarring post-blemish.
For chapped, aging lips
A stellar lip balm will often include vitamin E oil. Why? "Vitamin E oil has humectant properties, which means it helps to hydrate, and emollient properties, which means it helps to support the skin barrier," says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. This means vitamin E can both coat the area with moisture and plump the fragile skin with the hydration it needs.
Remember, your lips do not contain oil glands, so they do not have natural moisturizing capabilities—that's where vitamin E comes in handy, as it conditions lips and keeps them plush. And because vitamin E can aid in wound healing (as we discussed above), it can also help heal chapped areas, soothe uncomfortable lip cracks, and even smooth lip lines.
Essentially: Vitamin E really elevates your lip products (you'll likely see it listed as "tocopherol"). I'd argue mindbodygreen's lip balm formula wouldn't be the same without it—when paired with shea and cocoa butters, it feels like silk.
While the beauty industry constantly cycles through "trendy" ingredients, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics. Vitamin E is a classic for a reason; in fact, you're probably using vitamin E in your skin care routine without even knowing it. On the off chance that you aren't, consider investing in vitamin-E-rich formulas—be it a supplement, lip balm, or topical treatment.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.