In part three of our series on potent organic ingredients, Paul Massa explains the skincare properties of natural vitamin E. 


Natural vitamin E (Tocopherol) is a skin softening and healing ingredient.

Naturally derived vitamin E is called d-α-tocopherol and synthetic vitamin E is called dl-α -tocopherol. The difference between the two is that the “dl” refers to a mixture of both d- and l-α-tocopherol. There is no evidence that the “l” version is harmful to the human body at all, but it is about 1.4 times less effective than naturally derived vitamin E. It is therefore understandable that consumers may want to stick to natural sources of vitamin E, but it does not mean that synthetic vitamin E is toxic.

In Europe the main source of natural vitamin E is sunflower or olive oil while in the States it is extracted from soybean or corn oil.

Vitamin E has many benefits for the skin:

  • It protects the skin from environmental pollution
  • It has a protecting action against UV radiation (but is not a sunscreen)
  • It is an excellent moisturiser and prevents trans-epidermal water-loss by the skin
  • It is a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps prevent premature ageing (inflammatory condition in the skin leads to premature skin ageing)
  • It has excellent wound healing properties
  • It is one of the best fat based antioxidants which makes it a popular ingredient to use in anti-aging formulas to fight the signs of ageing.

Vitamin E also enhances and helps with the penetration of other compounds into the skin and is itself well absorbed by the skin.

Paul Massa is the managing director of Phyt’s. For more information visit

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