What Is Topical Vitamin E?

Erik J.J. Goserud

Topical vitamin E refers to any topical form of this vitamin that may be directly applied to the surface of a body part. This vitamin actually encompasses a variety of substances and is more of a class than a specific chemical itself. It may come in liquid, pill, or gel forms among others. Cream and liquid are the most common forms of topical vitamin E; however, pills are sometimes taken apart, and the contents may be applied in a topical manner.

Topical treatment is applied directly to skin.
Topical treatment is applied directly to skin.

The benefits and necessities of vitamin E to human health are plentiful. These fat-soluble compounds, which include both tocopherols and tocotrienols, are found most commonly in the North American diet through the form y-tocopherol. Y-tocopheral exists in a number of foods, including a number of oils and dressings.

Vitamin E pills can be crushed and applied topically.
Vitamin E pills can be crushed and applied topically.

Physiologically speaking, topical vitamin E as well as other forms of these compounds, are most significant in their antioxidizing roles. This basically refers to their action of neutralizing free radicals, or oxidants. Free radicals are chemicals whose particular charges affect the body, usually in a negative way. Free radicals are a hypothesized common cause of many cancers, and antioxidants are thought to counterbalance these chemicals and, in doing so, restore a more homeostatic environment.

Vitamin K cream can help to mask the appearance of blemishes.
Vitamin K cream can help to mask the appearance of blemishes.

The recommended intake of topical vitamin E varies from that of oral methods. This is due to absorptive differences between ingested and topical methods. The suggested daily value of vitamin E increases with age, ranging from 4 to 15 mg per day from birth until adulthood. Overconsumption or deficiencies of oral and topical vitamin E, although unusual, can cause a plethora of undesirable health issues. For this reason, it is obviously important to manage different vitamin levels so that health is maintained.

Sources of vitamin E may be found in foods such as tomatoes, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. There are additionally a number of other vitamin E-rich foods, and complete lists can be found in nutritional magazines and websites. The immune system, communication between cells, and genetic expression are all thought to be affected by vitamin E. There is also evidence supporting its utilization in a number of metabolic processes as well.

Frequently, topical vitamin E is used as a treatment for a number of skin ailments. It has been known to benefit damaged skin as well as mask the appearance of blemishes. The antioxidant characteristics are thought to help restore damaged skin cells and promote the healthy growth of new skin.

Cream that contains vitamin E may be helpful in treating post-surgery scars.
Cream that contains vitamin E may be helpful in treating post-surgery scars.

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Discussion Comments


@ddljohn-- Yes, vitamin E is good for stretch marks. There are even special vitamin E creams made for pregnant women for this purpose. If you had used it during your pregnancy, you might have been able to avoid stretch marks all together. Or at least, they wouldn't be so bad. It's never too late though, you can start using it now.

I think vitamin E is expensive. If you're on a budget, mix vitamin E oil with other oils like almond, olive oil or cocoa butter and apply it liberally on your stretch marks.


@ddljohn-- I'm not sure about stretch marks but vitamin E has many benefits for skin in general. A doctor told me to use it years ago to heal a scar and I've been using it ever since. I buy the one that's sold at pharmacies. It's not very expensive.

I like to add some to my regular face cream to give my skin more hydration and protection. Vitamin E oil and cream is also great for lips. It does wonders for cracked lips in winter.

The only downside is that it takes a while for skin to absorb it so I have to massage it in with patience. But it's worth it.


I heard that vitamin E cream is good for stretch marks. Is this true?

I have terrible post-pregnancy stretch marks and I've tried many different body lotions. None of them have helped.

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