Your vitamin intake doesn’t have to stop with the one or two multivitamins you take every morning. If you have anything close to a well-rounded skincare routine, you’ve probably already noticed by now that some of your favorite products include vitamins—A, B3, and C, to name a few—as star ingredients because of the many benefits they offer.
Another one that you might be able to find somewhere on your labels is vitamin E. According to celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, vitamin E is “a hydrating and skin-comforting antioxidant” with a ton of pluses for your skin. It’s most often found in moisturizers, serums, and in the form of special capsules that can be applied topically.
To get the lowdown on this potent antioxidant, some top experts detail exactly what vitamin E can do for your complexion and why it’s such a useful ingredient when it comes to soothing, protecting, and hydrating your skin.
From when to use it, how to layer it with other products, and what to look for when shopping for a new product, read on to learn more about vitamin E’s tightening and brightening benefits.
Meet the experts:
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology
- Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and trusted skincare expert
- Nkem Ugonabo, MD, MPH, dermatologist and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery Fellow at UnionDerm in New York City
What is vitamin E?
If you want to get technical, vitamin E (also called tocopherol) is a potent antioxidant that’s actually produced naturally in our skin, says Dr. Illustrator. But you’ll also see it listed as an ingredient in a lot of skin care products, which incorporate the ingredient to protect against environmental damage from sun exposure, UV radiation, and even pollution.
It’s also often listed as an ingredient alongside vitamin C, and there’s a really good reason why. Though vitamin C has similar properties, studies have shown that both vitamins actually work better together to protect skin from elements in the environment. “The two work simultaneously to stabilize and recharge each other,” says Dr. Illustrator. So if you’re looking to super-charge this already powerful ingredient, look for products that contain both C and E.
Vitamin E is also an emollient, which means it’s good for moisturizing and softening. In some cases, the anti-inflammatory properties can also help treat inflamed skin, according to Dr. Ugonabo.
What are the benefits of vitamin E?
Vitamin E’s biggest benefit is protection against free radicals in the environment, says Dr. Ugonabo. Over time, free radicals can cause changes in your skin that not only accelerate aging, but can even leave you more susceptible to issues like skin cancer, “so we love recommending protection against them,” she says. Vitamin E helps neutralize the effects of things like pollution and UV rays to protect you and your face.
Not only will it help skin stay healthy, Rouleau says that vitamin E can stimulate circulation and boost collagen production, soothe irritation and balance excess oil production. She adds that it can also help rehydrate dry skin by allowing for long-lasting moisture retention between your skin cells—much longer than products without it.
Vitamin E is a skin-soother as well: It can help improve and strengthen your skin’s protective barrier, which can help with sensitivity. Its anti-inflammatory properties can often help calm down irritated or sensitive spots as well. Bonus, “it’s also vegan,” says Rouleau.
How can I add vitamin E to my skincare routine?
“The best way to use it is in combination with vitamin C, so I often recommend serums that contain both,” says Dr. Ugonabo.
Since vitamin E is your free radical-fighting friend, you want to put this on in the morning before you start your day for maximum benefits. dr Ugonabo says it works best on freshly clean skin, but don’t forget your sun protection as well: “Wash your face, apply the serum, and then sunscreen goes on top.”
dr Zeichner agrees: “Think of your morning routine as a time of protection and prevention of damage,” he says. “Layer your antioxidant serum underneath sunscreen every morning.”
So after you eat that daily multi-vitamin, don’t stop there! Make sure you’re giving your skin the same protection. Ready to try? Check out these expert-recommended products below.
This cult favorite (and dermatologist-approved) serum contains both vitamins C and E, and lists improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness as well as evening and brightening skin tone as benefits. Users call it the “greatest of all time” and say it gives an “instant glow.”
Alto Defense Serum
Another C+E combo, this serum also boasts an additional 17 antioxidants and ingredients like licorice extract for skin brightening.
Best sun protection
Dew The Most Face Moisturizer SPF 30
Reviewers say that this daily moisturizer/sunscreen combo is lightweight, blends easily into the skin, and gives the skin a dewy look.
Best For Brightening
Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Moisturizer
While vitamin C tends to get the top billing in the skin care world, it’s even better when paired with its antioxidant BFF, vitamin E. This moisturizer features both at a nice price.
Best On The Go
Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Vitamin C Night Serum Capsules
Get the perfect dose of antioxidants with these capsules. They’re biodegradable and great for on-the-go (or for those who want to be sure they’re using just the right amount of product).
Best Lightweight Treatment
Vitamin C & E treatment
If you want to take care of your skin like a starlet, you can’t go wrong with this treatment. Reviewers call it “truly a desert island product” that’s lightweight and doesn’t cause breakouts.
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