Understanding Vitamin E Cream for Your Face

When it comes to beauty benefits, vitamin E is the star of the nutrient world. It can be found in a slew of look-pretty products, from face creams to hair and nail beautifiers. In terms of skin care, its main promise is a smoother, younger-looking complexion. But before you buy into the hype, it's important to understand the nutrient itself. Read on to learn more about vitamin E and find out if it can really work wonders on your skin.

What is vitamin E?

"Also know as tocopherol, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of oxygen free radical damage from the sun's harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Naturally found in some foods (such as nuts, seeds, and, leafy greens), it is also available as a dietary supplement [Source: NIH].

The term "vitamin E" actually refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds that have different antioxidant abilities [source: NIH]. While vitamin E exists in many forms, tocopherol is the only form that is known to be useful to humans [Source: NIH]. The chemical group of vitamin E all-stars includes tocopherol acetate, tocopheryl linoleate or tocopheryl nicotinate, according to Zeichner.

Because vitamin E helps ward off sun damage, it can reduce the signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots. Vitamin E is also known as a wound healer. But according to Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai School in New York City, you should use caution before slathering it on. "Some people may experience an allergic reaction from pure vitamin E so talk to your doctor before using it," she warns.