Vitamin E Oil is The Skincare Ingredient You've Been Overlooking

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / Honayst

You've probably heard of skin hero vitamin C, right?

The ingredient has become popular for its ability to stimulate collagen production, brighten skin, and reduce signs of aging. As a result, dermatologists, beauty bloggers, and our own editors have gone crazy over the stuff. But are we overlooking another potent skincare superhero?

Enter: vitamin E oil.

What is vitamin E oil?

Vitamin E oil is a naturally-derived oil with antioxidant benefits, which explains its growing popularity in skincare, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Vitamin E exists in foods like avocados, almonds, olive oil, and sweet potatoes, and some people consume vitamin E as an oral capsule, but its primarily used in skin care, Dr. Zeichner says. (The ingredient is sometimes listed as tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.)

Vitamin E oil benefits for skin

Applied topically, vitamin E oil can block free radicals and replenish lipids (read: our natural oils), which helps slow down the skin's aging process. The ingredient may also help reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and keep skin looking youthful, adds Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist.

However, vitamin E can be more difficult to use in its natural state, so consider a beauty product that combines it with other skin-enhancing ingredients. It's also been shown to work better on the skin when fused with vitamin C, Dr. Zeichner tells us.

The best way to incorporate vitamin E into your skincare lineup is to apply it in the morning to help protect skin from environmental damage that you may experience during the day, explains Dr. Zeichner. New York-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, totally agrees, telling us that adding a few drops of skincare products with vitamins E and C on your face in the morning before you apply sunscreen and makeup will act as a lightweight shield to protect skin.

Who should use vitamin E oil?

Safe for many skin types (including sensitive skin), vitamin E has anti- inflammatory properties to calm and hydrate even the most irritable complexions. Still, you should proceed with caution if you have acne, since the oil can be very thick. "It’s heavy, so if you are acne-prone it could make you break out more," warns Dr. Jaliman. If you have rosacea or dry skin, seek lightweight formulations that absorb quickly, or products combined with hyaluronic acid and other anti-inflammatory agents like aloe or green tea, advises Dr. Nazarian.

Want to reap the benefits of vitamin E oil, but don't know where to start? We've enlisted the experts for their favorite vitamin E oil products to protect skin and boost your glow.

1 Neutrogena Hydro Boost Multivitamin Hydrating & Revitalizing Face Serum with Vitamin E & Hyaluronic Acid

Best drugstore steal

Vitamin E is more common in skincare products than you might think. Even your favorite beauty hero may have it without you realizing it, points out Dr. Zeichner. His pick: Neutrogena Hydro Boost, since the combination of vitamin E and hyaluronic acid deeply and intensely moisturize. Plus, you can't beat the price.

2 Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic

Best anti-aging serum

Vitamin E plays nicely with vitamin C and ferulic acid, says Dr. Nazarian. "Using them together enhances the protection of skin and minimizes additional daily damage and environmental aging," she says. Plus, not only does this highly-reviewed product improve wrinkles and skin firmness, it also lasts on skin for an impressive 72 hours.

3 Kiehl's Lip Balm #1

Best for lips

Kiss chapped lips good-bye with this potent little stick. Formulated with squalane, aloe vera, and vitamin E, this balm will restore moisture to flaky lips, soften and soothe cracks, and neutralize skin-damaging free radicals. So, it's basically the answer to all your winter lip woes.

4 One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm

Best for under-eye lines

This all-natural balm is like a fountain of youth for the delicate under-eye area. With the help of vitamin E, organic shea butter, pomegranate, and sea kelp, the formula nourishes skin and smooths fine lines around your peepers. Also good: it's safe for sensitive skin and won't irritate or sting your eyes.

5 Jason Vitamin E 45,000 IU Maximum Strength Oil

Best for both face and body

Depending on your skin type, pure vitamin E may be too thick, but it can still be a great option for some clients. Dr. Jaliman loves this all-over vitamin E skin oil for those with dry skin. If you're using it as a face moisturizer, she recommends applying in the evening, because pure vitamin E can feel too heavy to wear during the day.

7 Skinbetter Science Alto Defense Serum

Best for a longer shelf life

A combination product, this serum has additional ingredients that stabilize the vitamins, keeping them effective longer, Dr. Nazarian explains. Boasting 19 antioxidant ingredients to improve uneven skin tone and redness, you'll want to apply to your face and neck to reap all the benefits.

8 The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream

Best for hydration

Packed with vitamin E, plumping hyaluronic acid, and wheatgerm oil, apply this hydrating cream at night to protect and moisturize. You'll wake up to visibly softer, smoother skin. Trust us.

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