Of the many skincare ingredients out there, vitamin E is definitely one of the most common. You'll probably find it in many of the skincare products already in your medicine cabinet. For instance, like serums, moisturizers and eye creams. There’s a popular belief that rubbing vitamin E oil onto your acne scars can help them heal, and reduce their visibility. However, evidence that vitamin E has this effect is mostly not reliable. But what exactly is vitamin E, and what can it do for your skin? We asked Dr. Ingky for a quick refresher course on vitamin E. Surprisingly, not everybody can use Vitamin E!
What is vitamin E?
Yes, it is a vitamin, but if you want to get technical, the term vitamin E actually refers to a group of compounds. Vitamin E is the name given to family of oil-soluble antioxidants. There are about eight different types or forms of vitamin E. Tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol are most commonly found in skincare products. In other words, when you see "vitamin E" on your skincare or supplement packaging, it's almost always tocopherol. This is the only form of vitamin E that's recognized to meet human requirements.
How does vitamin E benefit skin?
"It can be very helpful for a range of skin disorders, as well as for sensitive skin," explains our dermatologist, Dr. Ingky. But how does vitamin E work on the skin? Vitamin E is an antioxidant and manage to prevent oxidative damage to cells by helping to remove free radicals. Vitamin E fights off free radicals on the skin, which are a result of daily environmental stressors like unprotected sun exposure and air pollution.
Additionally, vitamin E has moisturizing benefits that helps to strengthen skin barrier function. Vitamin E is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can be soothing and help calm the skin. But surprisingly, according to Dr.Ingky, not everyone can use Vitamin E.
Who should use vitamin E on their skin, and who should avoid it?
"Vitamin E is usually not advisable for supersensitive, very oily, or acne-prone skin," Dr.Ingky says. And according to him, 3 out of 10 people are topically sensitive to the ingredient and will experience allergy. If you're new to using vitamin E, or your skin is on the sensitive side, try it out in a moisturizer first. If vitamin E triggers allergy on your skin, then it’s best if you change to Kojic Acid or Retinol for your acne scar.
Kojic Acid is somewhat under-the-radar acid that deserves some time in the skincare spotlight, particularly if your goal is a brighter and more even complexion. It is excellent at fading hyperpigmentation and discoloration or which mean good for lightening dark spots. Kojic acid does have a few other standout qualities and they are:
- Inhibits the production of melanin in the skin: The pathway that leads to excess melanin or pigment is complex, but at the heart of the matter is an enzyme known as tyrosinase. Kojic acid blocks tyrosinase, in turn inhibiting the production of excess pigment. This means it can help lighten existing sun spots and photo-damage, fade the dark marks leftover from acne scarring and even improve melisma.
- Acts as an antioxidant: Kojic acid can help scavenge and counteract skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to things such as UV damage and pollution. This not only helps improve overall skin tone as well, but also makes it a good general anti-aging ingredient.
- Has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties: Unlike many other acids, it also has these unique characteristics, though they're secondary to the skin-lightening benefits.
Retinol is a natural vitamin A derivative commonly found in anti-aging creams. But it may also be an effective ingredient for treating acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars. So, how does it work and how often should you use it for clearer, smoother skin?
Retinol works in a few ways. On the skin’s outermost layer (epidermis), retinol exfoliates to remove dirt, dead skin cells, and oil from pores. This can help prevent the formation of pimples. It also works by literally getting under your skin, unlike many other acne treatments. Tiny molecules penetrate the middle layer of your skin (dermis), where retinol stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
Both of these compounds fight acne indirectly by reducing the appearance of pores and acne scarring over time. But keep in mind that you don’t need to use retinol on a daily basis for it to be effective at reducing the appearance of acne scar. Two to three times per week may be enough. You should keep using it even after you start to notice an improvement in acne.
For acne scars, it’s recommended to use Kojic Acid or Retinol. These 2 ingredients are an expert in treating dark spots or scarring. You can find any skincare products that contain these two ingredients at any drug store. Some products from drugstore can work wonders for your skin! All you need to do is find all those skincare products for scarring that shows up again and again in dermatologist recommendation. However, if all of the doesn’t work, then it is time for you to see dermatologist.
If you want to know more, we are here to help you! SkynFyx is a platform that provides personal care education that is completely free. SkynFyx is run by our skin doctors and you can chat with us without ever leaving your home.