Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin composed of eight naturally occurring compounds. The fractions are called alpha, beta, delta, epsilon, eta, gamma and zeta tocopherol, and four other substances called tocotrienols. While each of these compounds exhibits different biological activities, d-alpha tocopherol has the highest biological activity and is the most widely available form of vitamin E in food.
Since the alpha tocopherol activity is most responsible for the effectiveness of the product, the potency of Vitamin E oil is measured by its alpha tocopherol content. It is important to known the IU of the vitamin E oil you are using. A 200 IU/g Vitamin E contains 200 units of alpha tocopherol per gram of oil and the rest of it is unspecified amounts of the beta, delta, epsilon and other components. 1 international unit (IU) of vitamin E is equal to 1 mg of the synthetic form racemic alpha tocopherol acetate.
While the alpha tocopherol can be isolated from the other components, studies have shown that it is more stable and has a longer shelf life when it is in its original family structure with its non-alpha tocopherols unless it is transformed into tocopheryl. Furthermore, the full activity of the other fractions is still unknown, and some manufacturers of vitamin E prefer to preserve the natural form.
The most important and well known biological function of vitamin E is related to its antioxidant properties. Internally, Vitamin E is the most effective antioxidant in the biological membrane. It protects cellular structures against damage from free radicals and the byproducts of fat peroxidation. It acts as a free radical scavenger to prevent the byproducts of chemical-cell interaction that causes cell damage. Vitamin E may help to decrease the toxicity of certain chemotherapy drugs.
When used topically, Vitamin E may decrease some of the harmful effects of solar radiation on the skin. It is commonly used in lotions or creams for burn treatment. It is also helpful to treat burns secondary to radiation therapy.
Vitamin E oil is often prescribed for topical use in pregnant women to prevent stretch marks on the abdomen. More recently, it has been used to prevent or treat mucositis resulting from chemotherapy. It can help heal acne, promote wound healing and prevent scarring from eczema or psoriasis. Topical vitamin E moisturizes the skin from within, reduces UV induced damage, helps to protect against ozone damage and decreases erythema (redness of the skin) after sun exposure. This makes it appropriate for use in sun care products including lip balms.
Since the alpha tocopherol is responsible for repairing, healing and protecting skin, use the high alpha tocopherol Natural Vitamin E Oil (250, 1000, or 1400 IU) in your skin care formulations for skin softening/healing purposes.