Though most people think of vitamins in regards to their nutritional value, we like to think of them in terms of what they can do for your skin. Indeed, some of our favorite skincare ingredients are vitamins. Vitamin C, for example, is celebrated for its radiance-boosting properties, while vitamin A can help fight against some signs of aging. As for vitamin E it’s most commonly associated with its moisturizing benefits (using vitamin E oil to visibly minimize skin dryness and scarring is particularly popular). But vitamin E isn’t just useful for managing dry skin—in fact, like vitamin C, it’s a powerful antioxidant and has been used to help address skin concerns for more than 50 years.
Ahead, we’ll introduce you to three benefits of vitamin E for skin. You’ll learn what this skincare ingredient is, where it comes from, and how it can help improve your skin’s health and appearance. We’ll also introduce you to a handful of Kiehl’s staples with vitamin E that you can incorporate into your healthy skin routine. Read on for your official Kiehl’s guide to vitamin E benefits.
What Is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found throughout the body, with high concentrations in the skin (specifically, the sebum) and fatty tissues. Unlike plants, humans cannot synthesize vitamin E. Instead, we obtain this essential nutrient through plant-based foods, including nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Other natural sources of vitamin E include whole grains and plant oils, like olive oil.
Additionally, some forms of vitamin E (there are eight subtypes) can be applied directly to the skin. Alpha-tocopherol is the most abundant form of vitamin E in the skin and is closely involved with protecting the skin against damaging free radicals. This form of vitamin E absorbs well when applied topically; as such, you’ll frequently find it in skincare products like face oils, serums, and moisturizers.
What Does Vitamin E Do For Your Skin?
In topical skincare formulations, vitamin E has several uses, particularly for those with dry or mature skin. Keep reading to learn how to use vitamin E to upgrade your skincare routine for healthy-looking skin.
Vitamin E Benefit #1:
Topical Vitamin E Can Help Soften Dry, Irritated Skin
Studies have shown that vitamin E may be useful in managing the symptoms of dry skin.I It has powerful emollient properties when applied topically and can penetrate the skin to impart lasting moisture. It may also promote a stronger skin moisture barrier—a key characteristic of smooth, healthy-looking skin.
For men’s dry skin, we recommend Facial Fuel Energizing Face Moisturizer For Men. This daily moisturizer with vitamin E and caffeine absorbs quickly to invigorate dull, fatigued skin. The refreshing cream formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily to promote a revitalized appearance.
Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion
On the skin below your neck, use Superbly Restorative Argan Body Lotion. This lightweight yet luxurious-feeling body cream, formulated with argan oil and vitamin E, hydrates and helps improve the skin’s overall tone and texture. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be applied to dry or rough areas after showering to promote radiant skin.
Lip Balm #1
Vitamin E’s skin-softening benefits make it a popular ingredient in lip care products as well. It’s a key component of our iconic Lip Balm #1, which was first formulated in the 1960s. This nourishing formula helps soothe and hydrate dry, chapped lips. In addition to the classic unscented balm, we offer three scented varieties—juicy mango, refreshing mint, and tart cranberry.
Vitamin E Benefit #2:
Vitamin E Helps Your Skin Retain Water
Though “dry” and “dehydrated” are often used interchangeably, in skincare, they’re two completely separate issues. Dry skin is a skin type characterized by a chronic underproduction of sebum, skin’s natural oil. Dehydrated skin, by contrast, refers to skin that lacks sufficient water—a key component of the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Because of this differentiation, it is possible for your skin to be simultaneously oily and dehydrated. We already covered dryness, but vitamin E can also help with dehydration.
Studies show that topical application of vitamin E can increase the skin’s capacity to retain water, effectively preventing dehydrated skin.II By limiting excessive water loss, vitamin E also helps keep the skin’s natural moisture barrier intact and working as it should.
As such, you’ll frequently find vitamin E in skincare products formulated for dehydrated skin, like Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask. This creamy face mask, which also contains avocado oil and evening primrose oil, helps seal in moisture to replenish dehydrated skin. The unique formula leaves skin feeling softer and more hydrated after just 15 minutes and can be used up to three times per week for nourished, supple-feeling skin.*
*Consumer perception study, US: 55 subjects, all skin types, immediate time point.
If you have dehydrated skin that’s prone to sensitivity, try incorporating Skin Rescuer into your routine. This calming daily moisturizer with shea butter, chamomile, and vitamin E helps repair your skin’s natural moisture barrier, leaving it less vulnerable to damage. The lightweight formula imparts lasting hydration and helps visibly diminish the signs of stressed skin, including redness and fatigue. It’s suitable for all skin types (even problem skin) and can be used morning and night to promote a comfortable, balanced appearance.
Vitamin E Benefit #3:
It’s a Powerful Natural Antioxidant
One of vitamin E’s most critical functions in the skin is to protect against the damaging effects of free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species). Free radicals develop after exposure to stressors, like pollution and UV radiation. When left to accumulate on the skin, these damaging compounds can trigger various skin concerns, from premature aging to dark spots and discolorations. As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps neutralize free radicals. Ultimately, this helps limit the effect these stressors have on your skin’s health and appearance.
Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil
To help protect your skin from environmental aggressors, reach for antioxidant-rich skincare products, like Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil. This lightweight face oil, which contains vitamin E, sunflower oil, and ginger root essential oil, helps defend the skin from free radicals. When used daily, the non-comedogenic formula also helps correct the visible signs of fatigue and boosts your skin’s overall radiance.
Of course, while antioxidants neutralize the free radicals generated by sun exposure, they can’t prevent other sun-induced skin concerns, like burns—for that, you need sunscreen. We recommend Super Fluid Daily UV Defense 50+. This antioxidant-rich sunscreen with vitamin E offers broad-spectrum protection against damaging UVA and UVB rays. It also helps protect against other skin-damaging stressors, like pollution. The non-comedogenic formula is suitable for all skin types and absorbs quickly with a lightweight, matte finish.