Should you add tocopherol in skin care? Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E and a common ingredient in most body products. Though it’s often called vitamin E, it’s only a type of vitamin E.
Naturally, vitamin E occurs in eight various forms, but tocopherol is the only form used by the human body.
So, whenever you take a supplement or use vitamin E serum or oil, you’re most definitely using tocopherol.
It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that scavenges unstable compounds known as free radicals that can damage cells.
It has been studied for various benefits, including fighting chronic conditions such as vision loss, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. It has also been shown to promote immunity, reduce skin damage, and support healthy aging.
This article details the benefits of tocopherol, including whether it’s as good for the skin as claimed.
What is Tocopherol?
Vitamin E exists in eight different forms, including
- Delta alpha-tocopherol
Alpha-tocopherol is the most abundant in the body. It’s also the commonly found in body care products.
Using vitamin E on the skin has been shown to offer antioxidant protection, promoting healthy aging and protecting the skin against sun damage that may lead to premature signs of aging.
Besides the skin care products containing tocopherol, you can benefit even more by consuming it through food.
These may also offer added health benefits like promoting brain health and supporting cardiovascular health.
Supplements are another option, but not a great one since excess vitamin C intake can harm your health.
Tocopherol in Food
The highest dietary sources of tocopherol include:
- Sunflower seeds
- Almonds/almond butter
- Pine nuts
- Black walnuts
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
What are the Benefits of Tocopherol in Skin Care?
1. Reduces skin hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition associated with darker patches of skin. It often results from excess melanin production. Although this condition is not harmful, sometimes it might be a sign of an underlying condition such as Addison’s disease though very rare.
Other common causes include chemotherapy medications, hormonal changes during pregnancy, or excessive sun exposure, which facilitates melanin production.
Topically applying vitamin E can help lighten the patches.
However, a study found that vitamin E alone had a lesser effect than when combined with vitamin C. This is because vitamin C prevents melanin production, thus causing the pigmentations to fade.
So the most effective way to treat hyperpigmentation with vitamin E is to pair it with vitamin C.
2. It keeps the skin moist
Vitamin E is a common ingredient in most skincare products like moisturizers. This is because it has a moisturizing and healing effect. This can soothe the skin, prevent dryness and flaking, and protect against the frequency and severity of skin conditions.
In addition, vitamin E allows for longer moisture retention within the skin cells than products without it.
3. Prevents skin damage
Vitamin E is a photo-protective nutrient. According to the Oregan state university, vitamin E can fight skin damage caused by sun exposure. In fact, adding vitamin E to your sunscreen may provide up to 4 times the benefits.
However, vitamin E on its own cannot be used as sunscreen. When applied topically, vitamin E also increases skin elasticity and strengthens the skin barrier, which protects the skin from bacterial invasion or damage such as harsh weather conditions.
4. Promotes wound healing
When your skin is injured, the body immediately begins working to repair the damage. This process is known as wound healing. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in wound healing, and one vitamin in particular, vitamin E, has been shown to promote healing.
Vitamin E speeds up tissue regeneration by stimulating collagen production and reducing inflammation. It also helps protect against free radicals that can lead to scarring or keloid formation. Vitamin E cream may be used topically to accelerate the healing of burns, cuts, scrapes, and other wounds; it may also help reduce wrinkles and stretch marks over time.
5. It’s an inflammatory agent
Anything that can reduce inflammation in the body can boost the immune system and protect you against chronic conditions.
Vitamin E can help fight inflammation both on the skin when applied topically and systemically when consumed in food.
One study found that mixed tocopherols could effectively fight inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.
6. It’s anti-aging
The first and most well-known benefit of tocopherol is its anti-aging properties. This powerful antioxidant can help protect your cells from damage, which can decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Additionally, tocopherol can help to brighten your skin tone and improve overall skin texture.
Additional Tocopherol Health Benefits
Promotes better sleep
You might not think that tocopherol has anything to do with sleep, but getting enough of this nutrient can actually help you get a better night’s rest. That’s because tocopherol helps regulate melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that people who take tocopherol supplements before bedtime fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly than those who don’t.
In one study, researchers found that participants who took a tocopherol supplement for eight weeks slept better and woke up less during the night than those who didn’t take the supplement. Plus, they felt more rested during the day. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, consider adding a tocopherol supplement to your routine.
One of the most important functions of tocopherol is its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. In addition, tocopherol has been shown to help prevent atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. It does this by removing plaques from the arteries and keeping the arterial walls healthy and flexible.
It also helps reduce the incidence of heart disease and strokes by regulating blood pressure and reducing inflammation in the blood vessels. Tocopherol can even reduce triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, which are often elevated as a result of high cholesterol levels.
Prevents cognitive decline
According to a recent study, tocopherol has been shown to help prevent cognitive decline. The study found that those who took a daily dose of tocopherol had a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Additionally, tocopherol has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function in healthy adults. This can be due to its ability to fight inflammation and prevent oxidative stress that may damage brain cells.
Maintains healthy hair and scalp
Vitamin E promotes circulation to the scalp, which increases nutrient delivery and boosts moisture. This helps repair damaged skin, prevent itchy scalps, and treat dandruff.
Antioxidants in vitamin E have also been shown to prevent hair loss and maintain hair growth.
Antioxidants like tocopherol can neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which are believed to contribute to the development of cancer. In one study, rats that were given tocopherol supplements had a lower risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, another study found that people who took a tocopherol supplement had a lower risk of developing lung cancer.
In a 2011 study, researchers found that participants who took 100 mg per day of vitamin E were 36% less likely to develop breast cancer than those not taking it. Finally, a 2010 study found that taking 400 IU per day was associated with an 18% decrease in prostate cancer incidence and a 10% decrease in the mortality rate for men over 50.
Protects from hearing loss
Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the United States. But did you know that vitamin E may help protect your hearing? A recent study found that people who took high doses of vitamin E were less likely to experience age-related hearing loss. So, if you’re looking to protect your hearing, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin E!
Prevents heart disease
As we saw earlier, tocopherol can help lower bad cholesterol levels and inflammation. It can also helps keep blood vessels healthy and prevent plaque formation. Plus, it can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. All of these effects work together to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Reduce the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Though the cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, there are some risk factors, including age and genetics.
Some studies have shown that tocopherol may help protect against Parkinson’s disease by reducing the damage to dopamine-producing neurons. In one study, participants who took tocopherol for six months had less deterioration of their neurological function than those who did not take it. Another study found that taking high doses of alpha-tocopherol led to fewer deaths from Parkinson’s disease than in other groups.
Promotes eye health
Tocopherol is important for eye health for several reasons. It helps protect the eyes from damage caused by free radicals, and it also helps reduce the risk of cataracts. Tocopherol can also help improve vision in people who have macular degeneration. Additionally, tocopherol may help reduce the risk of glaucoma and other eye problems.
It’s an immune-boosting nutrient
Research shows that the antioxidant properties of vitamin E can protect the cell membrane from oxidative damage.
Gamma-tocopherol has been found to trap and neutralize existing free radicals, while alpha-tocopherol inhibits the formation of new free radicals. This can help prevent or delay the onset of various chronic diseases.
Hormones play a vital role in our overall health and well-being, and an imbalance can cause a host of problems. Fortunately, tocopherol has been shown to help balance hormones in the body. In one study, women with PCOS who took tocopherol supplements for eight weeks had significant improvements in their hormone levels. Another study found that taking 600 mg per day improved hormonal symptoms associated with menopause.
Risks and Side Effects of Vitamin E
Food sources of vitamin E are considered safe, and there’s no evidence suggesting otherwise. Taking tocopherol supplements for a short duration can also provide health benefits; however, prolonged duration may cause accumulation in the body, resulting in blood thinning and low platelet levels.
Experts recommend sticking to no more than 1000mg of alpha-tocopherol supplement and should always be taken for a short duration, as a few weeks or months.
A high intake of vitamin E may result in side effects such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, and abdominal cramps.
Tocopherol supplements may also interact with various medications, including antiplatelets, anticoagulants, and chemotherapy drugs. Always seek medical advice if on any of these medications.
Topical applications of vitamin E may also result in clogged pores or worsen acne and breakouts in some people. It can also be irritating for some people. But generally, tocopherols are considered safe, especially when applied topically.
Always do a patch test by applying a small amount of vitamin E-containing oil to see whether there’s any adverse reaction.
If you are still wondering whether you can use tocopherol to promote skin health, the benefits discussed above may give you a reason to try. Tocopherol, basically vitamin E, is the most abundant and beneficial form of vitamin E for the skin and body.
Besides promoting skin health, tocopherol contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits essential for preventing chronic conditions and promoting general health and wellbeing.
Tocopherol supplements can enhance these benefits, but they have their ugly side, especially when taken excessively.
This makes food sources the safest way to acquire vitamin E internally. But in case you still prefer a supplement, always use them for a short duration and don’t exceed the recommended amounts. And if you have any underlying conditions or are on any medication, be sure to check with your doctor.
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