It is well known that vitamin E is highly beneficial for the hair and body for many reasons with even doctors prescribing diet supplements to their patients. It has the capacity to help with heart related problems, skin disorders, scars and wounds. Vitamin E in the cosmetics industry these days is like the kingpin of skincare ingredients, as when applied topically, it moisturises, protects and repairs skin. Being one of the most potent anti-oxidants, vitamin E neutralises free radicals, preventing damage to the skin cells. In addition to the above, it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps with premature skin ageing as it is now known that inflammatory conditions are a prime cause of this.
Vitamin E is considered to be highly moisturising since it prevents the loss of water through the skin, therefore creating a barrier to seal in its own natural moisture levels. This in turn will leave skin more soft, supple and bring welcome relief to dry skin conditions.
Vitamin E and Sun Exposure
Vitamin E or tocopherol as it is also known, is normally found in skin but exposure to the sun's rays has been proven to reduce this highly important antioxidant but direct application increases the availability of it. When our skin is exposed to the sun, it reduces the level of vitamin E in the skin, which leaves it more susceptible to developing free radicals. This is caused not just by environmental factors but also by the body's own oxidative reactions, the chemical and structural changes during exposure. Vitamin E, being a powerful antioxidant helps to counteract this reaction. The effects of sunburn on the skin cause a breakdown of elasticity and reduced moisture levels which leads to lines and wrinkles. Although vitamin E can help to minimise the damage of sunburned skin and the formation of free radicals, it must be noted however, that it cannot be used to replace a sun protection lotion, cream or oil. Most of a topically applied treatment of vitamin E oil or cream will be diminished through sun exposure.
Changes that occur in the skin as we age are related to many factors including the environment, genetics and diet but the biggest culprit is the sun. This is evident from comparing parts of the body that have had a lot of exposure to areas that that are usually hidden. Since the amount of vitamin E in the skin decreases with age, it becomes more important to replace this. A topical application of vitamin E will help to keep ageing skin supple and plumped up since it helps to retain water content by creating a barrier to keep in precious moisture.
It is worth knowing that the majority of cosmetic creams, lotions and oils containing vitamin E cannot necessarily reverse the ageing process but it can be considerably slowed down through proper care. With this in mind, we should not wait until we get older to start thinking about skincare but rather it should be taken into account when we are young. A good understanding of the skin, its needs and how it works cannot be underestimated to keep our skin looking its best for a lifetime.
Vitamin E Oils (Topical Application)
There are many beauty oils that contain vitamin E but one that stands out from the rest is prickly pear oil which contains a hefty 895mg per Kg. This oil possesses more vitamin E than any other cosmetic oil on the market today, rivalling even the well known argan oil containing 620mg per Kg. In addition to this, prickly pear oil has many other benefits for the skin as it also contains essential fatty acids and is highly moisturising. Prickly pear seed oil is obtained from the tiny seeds of the prickly pear fruit that grows on the opuntia ficus indica cactus plant and has been used by the Berber women of Morocco for generations, not just for direct application to the skin but also in cooking.
Dietary Vitamin E
Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts (especially almonds), dried apricots, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, green olives, avocados and plant oils, (especially wheat germ) to name a few but there are many more. Furthermore, vitamin E supplements are widely available in many stores.
It may be worth knowing that vitamin E taken orally, takes a least 7 days to take any effect on the skin as it first mounts up in the sebaceous glands prior to being conveyed to the outside of the skin via sebum. (Source)
It is evident that vitamin E is a fundamental component of the skin’s antioxidant protection, largely giving protection against UV rays and other free radicals that could come into contact with the skin. It helps to delay the processes that harm the skin cells, also providing a barrier that will help to lock in moisture, resulting in skin that looks and feels its best.
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