We find out what Vitamin E does for our skin, and where it comes from.

14 05 01Vit E Serum3Vitamin E is an ingredient that appears in many anti-aging skincare products. It's often recommended as a supplement for better skin and overall wellness. We chatted with Laura Cummins, Vice President of The Body Shop Canada, who helped shed some light on vitamin E and what it can do for us, both on the inside and out.

“It is widely thought that vitamin E is essential for a strong immune system, healthy skin and eyes,” explains Cummins. “Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can damage skin at a cellular level.” By helping to potentially ward off free radical damage, vitamin E can help prevent the signs of aging by keeping skin looking fresh and radiant. However, one of the downfalls of the ingredient is that it can leave skin open to more sun damage, so it’s typically recommended to use vitamin E-infused products overnight and to follow up with an SPF product during the day, which you should be doing anyway!

“Our body does not produce vitamin E [naturally], so most people get it through their diet from foods, such as wheatgerm, leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, eggs and nuts,” explains Cummins, but often times the vitamin E found in skincare products (including the Vitamin E product line at The Body Shop) is derived from wheatgerm.

“Wheatgerm oil is one of nature’s richest sources of vitamin E,” says Cummins. However, if you’re following a strict gluten-free regimen or have an allergy or intolerance, steer clear entirely. Of course, if you don’t have an intolerance, then vitamin E [from wheat germ] can be very beneficial, not only for warding off free radicals, but also to soothe and moisturize skin and to even reduce or prevent scarring, while also preventing the signs of aging, since calm, hydrated skin is the key to younger looking skin.

When it comes to general wellness, there is a lot of literature on the ingredient, as it is thought that vitamin E can help in protecting against a long list of diseases—even cancer—though some of the studies and findings are opposing and often inconclusive. When taking supplements, it’s best to discuss with your doctor before starting anything new, though including foods rich in vitamin E would be a good place to start before jumping to a supplement. Taking on a skin care regimen that includes vitamin E will not harm you, as the concentrations are not high enough to affect the bloodstream, but your skin will benefit.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil, $28, thebodyshop.com