Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.
The good news, however, is that over time, a lot of medications and methods have been developed to prevent if not completely cure these breakouts.
This includes various antibiotics, anti retinoid and herbal and home remedies.
This article will talk about one of the essential nutrient required by our body and widely available in various food sources, Vitamin E.
About Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a collective term used to signify 8 different kinds of naturally occurring nutrients which include 4 different types of tocopherols and 4 different kinds of tocotrienols.
All these 8 vitamins are known to be fat-soluble anti-oxidants.
They might also be collectively known as tocochromanols and are present in varying degrees in different food sources.
Out of all these 8 vitamins, alpha- tocopherols are the most widely known and used.
Among all the 8, this vitamin has the highest degree of ability to fight oxidative stress and free radicals. It is also the most studied and researched vitamin of the vitamin E group.
Vitamin E is naturally provided to the skin through the sebum and goes a long way in maintaining the health of the skin because of its high antioxidant properties
How Vitamin E helps in treating acne
The antioxidant property of vitamin E destroys free radicals throughout the body, including the skin cells, thereby preventing any signs of aging, wrinkles, etc.
In the same manner, it fights the acne-causing bacteria and prevents further acne induced damage to the skin also at the same time opening the clogged pores.
Vitamin E is also known to speed up cellular regeneration which accelerates the healing process of scars and acne.
It is also believed that vitamin E exhibits certain anti-inflammatory properties that help in the reduction of acne caused inflammation and further reduces the redness caused due to it.
Vitamin E further protects the skin from any UV rays damage acting as a photo-protecting agent.
Though food rich in vitamin E content is considered the best source, there are available certain supplementary capsules of vitamin e or oils formulated within capsules, which are also widely used by people.
As such vitamin e can be used in several ways for skin benefit. Some of them are enumerated below
Vitamin E: Topical application
Topical application of vitamin e involves applying either the oil or various other cosmetic applications containing vitamin e supplements.
Through the application, vitamin e reaches the epidermis and dermis and accumulates in the extracellular lipid matrix where it adds to its antioxidant defenses.
However vitamin E might be unstable on its own and it is better used in combination with vitamin C, with which it works more efficiently.
You can use the following method to apply vitamin E oil on your acne scars to fade them away:
- Wash and clean the affected area with a non medicated soap or wash and leave it damp
- Use a cotton ball to apply the oil to the affected area. The oil can either be bought ready-made from some store or puncture a vitamin E supplement capsule to obtain it. This oil tends to seal in the moisture and lock it on the skin
- Leave it on for 10 minutes before washing off with water
This can be done on a daily basis. However, in cases of adverse reaction, the application must immediately be stopped.
Vitamin E Diet inclusion
Another way of increasing the vitamin E content in your body is to include certain vitamin E rich food sources in your daily diet. Some food sources rich in vitamin E content are:
- Green vegetables tend to cover almost 15% to 25% of our daily requirements
- Nuts and seeds can contain 10% of our daily needs. However, sunflower seed contains 80%
- Olives and avocados provide 10% to 155 of the daily requirement
- Seafood, specifically shrimps and sardines add to 10% of our daily requirement
Key Benefits of using vitamin E
The benefits that come along with the consumption of vitamin E is here divided under two sub-headings- skin benefits and general health benefits:
- It tends to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays. This function has been attributed to its role as a lipid-soluble anti-oxidant. Topical application is generally very effective in this regard.
- It prevents inflammatory damage after UV exposure. Its anti-inflammatory function is often seen in combination with its photo protective effect
- There is some researches explaining the healing effect of vitamin e on pressure ulcers
General health benefits:
- It protects the artery walls by keeping the LDL cholesterol from being oxidized which medically marks the beginning of clogged arteries
- It protects the cell and DNA from cancerous damage
- A lot of research studies have established that it helps women who are suffering from fibrocystic breast disease. However, it is still unclear how
- It enhances the effect of insulin and increases blood-glucose metabolism
- Protects the nervous system from damage by protecting the myelin sheaths that surround it
- It reduces or prevents retina damage in pre mature babies
- Its anti oxidant property may reduce lung damage caused due to pollution
Possible side effects and Precautions
The recommended daily dose of 15 mg rarely causes any side effects. But over dosage might lead to the following side effects:
- Some studies show that very high doses of vitamin e might increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke by 22%. This stroke causes bleeding into the brain
- Though the information is contradictory, it has been asserted by some researchers that over dosage might increase risks of prostate cancer in men
- Nausea , diarrhea, weakness, stomach cramp, fatigue, headache, blurred vision, bruising and bleeding
Precautions while taking vitamin E:
In order to avoid any side effects, the following precautions must be maintained:
- Consult your doctor before taking vitamin e during various pregnancy stages
- Avoid taking supplements immediately before or after angioplasty as it may interfere with proper healing
- In people who already have low vitamin k levels, vitamin e might cause clotting problems
- If you are suffering from the eye condition of retinitis pigmentosa, it is advised that you avoid vitamin e in high doses
- It can make bleeding disorders worse and therefore requires avoidance in such situations
- If you have had head and neck cancer, doses of more than 400 IU/day may increase risks of returning
- It should not be used 2 weeks before and after surgery, it might make bleeding worse
Possible drug interactions
Vitamin e might react with the following drugs/medications:
- When taken along with cyclosporine, it increases the amount of cyclosporine absorption
- Vitamin e might decrease the effectiveness of cancer medications
- It might add to the effect of anti coagulants
- Decreases the effectiveness of medications used for lowering cholesterol level
What are customers saying about using Vitamin E for acne
We did an analysis of online consumer reviews to get a hold on what people, who have used this treatment, feel about it.
Here is a summary of what they liked or disliked about the treatment:
What they like about it:
Better skin: Using vitamin e makes the health of the skin better in a lot many ways. Many consumers felt a more hydrated soft and smooth skin. It also tends to even down the tone making it calmer.
Reduces redness: Vitamin e is also known to reduce the redness caused due to inflammation. A lot of consumers have felt that it is very effective in that, even more than it probably is in preventing acne breakouts.
Time effective: A lot of consumers have felt that it is quiet effective and quick in healing. In some cases reduction in spots and acne size was evident in just a few days.
What they did not like about it:
Oily: A few consumers complained that when they used vitamin e topically, it tended to make their skin very oily and they were mostly doubtful if their skin is absorbing enough of the vitamin.
Vitamin E is one of the essential nutrients required by our body and often supplied regularly if our diet is full of green leafy vegetables and shrimps.
In case you lack the sufficient diet, supplements and oil is always available.
It has proved effective in a lot of cases and even the rare few cases in which it did not heal acne, consumers were anyways happy with the positive effect it had on their skin.
Moreover, it will work towards strengthening our overall immune system and can rarely be of any harm then.
If nothing has worked on you, this one deserves a try.