Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can protect the skin against all kinds of harmful effects, such as UV radiation and aggressive skin cleansers. Many people know this and are tempted to buy a jar of Vitamin E cream that is now available in all drugstores. Unfortunately, there are some strict measures that must be met for Vitamin E to be effective in a cream. These measures are rarely applied by manufacturers. That is why you have a better chance of getting started making vitamin E cream yourself.
What is vitamin E good for?
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has a skin-protective function. It is soluble in fat, which is why this vitamin mainly protects the lipids (or fatty substances) in our skin cells against oxidation and free radicals. Events that create this oxidation and free radicals (e.g. sunbathing, aggressive washing, use of cosmetics with irritating ingredients) are therefore less likely to have an impact. This causes the skin to age less quickly in the long run. Vitamin E also strengthens the barrier function of our skin. Due to this strengthened barrier function, the skin will retain moisture better and be better protected against external influences (heat, cold, wind, rain, dirt bacteria, etc.). Finally, vitamin E can also ensure that you are less likely to get burned by the sun.
Vitamin E creams in stores often do not work well
Anyone who buys vitamin E cream in the store and thinks it will help their skin in the above ways often assesses the situation a little too positively. Of course, the cream hydrates your skin a bit, but you often don’t have to expect much from the vitamin E it contains! There are two very important reasons for this:
- Vitamin E creams in stores are usually packaged in jars. However, vitamin E is an antioxidant and therefore very sensitive to air. After someone has opened and closed such a jar for several weeks before use, the vitamin E will have completely evaporated. Sometimes it can even be gone before you even open the jar because it has been on the shelves for so long!
- Very little vitamin E is often added to the creams. Research has shown that the optimal percentage of vitamin E is around 1%, but most manufacturers add less. There are several reasons for this. For example, many products are more likely to turn a strange color if the vitamin E is oxidized (expired) and the chance increases that customers will complain about irritation, as this can sometimes occur with vitamin E applied in percentages of 1%.
The optimal form of vitamin E
There is another important reason why the creams in the store often do not work very well. Most contain only these two forms of vitamin E: tocopherol acetate or alpha-tocopherol. Tocopherol acetate doesn’t work very well because it’s actually an ester of vitamin E, which causes the skin to have trouble absorbing it properly. On the other hand, alpha-tocopherol is slightly better, but did you know that vitamin E actually has a whole family consisting of eight members. The body needs them all, so a product that contains all eight family members will be able to protect the cells even better. The names of these eight family members are alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, as well as alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol. In addition, commercial creams often contain synthetic vitamin E, while it has been known for quite some time that natural vitamin E works a lot better on the skin. You can recognize the natural variant because the letter D stands for each family member (for example D-alpha-tocopherol and D-gamma-tocotrienol). The synthetic variant will have the letters DL in front of it.
How do I make the vitamin E cream?
To make an effective vitamin E cream, it is best to buy vitamin E capsules, pierce them with a skewer and then squeeze them over your favorite cream. The cream must contain oil, because vitamin E is oil-soluble. Stir well! You can buy vitamin E capsules at health food stores or online. Most capsules will only contain DL-alpha-tocopherol and these are also the cheapest. However, it is best to find a vitamin E capsule that contains all eight family members in the natural D variant. The jar often contains vitamin E complex or mixed tocopherols/tocotrienols. Also check on the back whether it is really the natural D variant.
How many capsules to add per amount of cream?
Vitamin E is used in percentages of up to 1%. Most capsules contain 400 IU of vitamin E.
If you have purchased the natural D variant of vitamin E, you must always do this sum: number of IU x 0.67 = mg. So: 400 x 0.67 = 268 mg vitamin E. If you now add one sun capsule to 30 grams of cream, this gives a strength of approximately 1%. If you have the synthetic DL variant, you simply have to add the number of IU x 0.45. So: 400 x 0.45 = 180 mg vitamin E. So adding one sun capsule to 20 grams of cream gives a strength of approximately 1%.