If a product is labeled as a "vitamin E Cream," that means vitamin E has been added to the formula, says Fusco. But the amount of vitamin E present can vary from cream to cream. "Since over-the-counter creams are not strictly regulated the way that drugs are, it's hard to say how much vitamin E is actually in a particular cream," explains Zeichner.
Most vitamin E creams are targeted towards anti-aging since "the nutrient can help smooth the skin and reduce the amount of damage to collagen, elastin, and skin cells from UV radiation," says Zeichner.
Since some data suggests that vitamin E also helps heal burns and other wounds, it is sometimes used in ointments. However, Fusco advises against using pure vitamin E on wounds because of the risk of allergic reaction. "However, if a cream is formulated with several ingredients in addition to vitamin E and it is labeled for facial use, it's most likely safer than just using pure vitamin E," she says.
Should you try vitamin E cream?
With so many face creams available in drugstores, it can feel impossible to choose the one that's right for you. When it comes to vitamin E creams, Zeichner only recommends them to patients with dry skin. "Vitamin E is a great antioxidant, but because it's oil-soluble, it's typically a heavier product than water-soluble antioxidants like vitamin C," he explains. "For this reason, I usually recommend that patients with oily and acne prone skin avoid vitamin E creams."
If you have normal, oily, or combination skin and your goal is younger-looking skin, you'd be better off seeking out a product with vitamin C, which has been associated with a reduced risk of wrinkles and dry skin (which makes fine lines more apparent) [Source: Web MD]. Otherwise, folks suffering from dry skin will benefit greatly from a vitamin E cream, which moisturizes and protects against the effects of free radical damage from the sun.
- Zeichner, Joshua, M.D. Personal correspondence.
- National Institutes of Health. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin E." (June 5, 2013). http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
- Fusco, Francesca, M.D. Personal correspondence.
- Zelman, Kathleen, MPH, RD, LD. "The Benefits of Vitamin C: What can vitamin C do for your health?" (January 7, 2010). http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c?page=2