It is day 5 of the science behind beauty week and I hope you have found my top science beauty buzzwords informative. Even though it is not necessary to know everything that goes into making your favourite moisturiser or face wash, information on some of the big ingredients will help you to tailor your skincare to suit your needs. So I end this last day with my number 1 buzzword, last but by no means least… tocopherols.
Look at the reverse of any beauty bottle and I can guarantee you will spot tocopherol or one of it’s derivatives hiding in the ingredients list. Tocopherol or vitamin E, is known as the super vitamin. It is essential for the body and it primarily functions as an antioxidant.
In a society filled with fast food, exposure to chemicals and general pollution, tocopherol protects our bodies by essentially stopping the breakdown of cells and nutrients. Without vitamin E, tissues, cells, even our DNA is susceptible to free radical damage.
When it comes to vitamin E in skincare, you are most likely to find it in the form of tocopheryl acetate. This is is due to it being more stable than the pure form. Since tocopherol is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is ideal for topical treatment, as it is easily absorbed into the skin.
A note of caution, vitamin E can be also be synthesised and is referred to as dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate compared to the naturally derived d-alpha tocopheryl acetate. The synthetic form is less effective and unfortunately not all beauty labels tell you which kind has been used. If you can find products containing the original tocopherol, then even better as some people have found that the altered form irritates their skin. Furthermore, products containing high levels of vitamin E and vitamin E oil itself should not be used as a daily moisturiser. A cream or oil containing oleic/linoleic acid (discussed in day 4) is much more effective for skin hydration. Nevertheless, using products containing vitamin E offer antioxidant activity as well as helping skin retain moisture, that in a world full of pollutants can be very beneficial.