Vitamin E For Your Acne – Is It Effective To Eliminate Acne?
If you have ever done any health-related research you have probably already determined vitamin E to be absolutely indispensable to your organism. One of the ways in which vitamin E tends to be crucial for you is its ability to replenish your skin and keep it flawless.
Granted, there are many other strategies to beautifying your complexion. For instance, your diet and general lifestyle are key to avoiding recurring breakouts. Regulating free radicals is also important. Cleansing your face is also essential for maintaining clear skin. But vitamin E’s nutritious value can truly rejuvenate your skin and keep zits away like no other. The most basic proof for this is the significant deficiency of vitamin E that most acne patients experience1.
What’s So Great About Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is definitely one of the key ingredients necessary for your skin’s recovery, alongside zinc (a mineral which excels at refurbishing your immune system) and vitamin A (which regulates oiliness). In the same vein, vitamin E specializes in controlling the oxidation of your skin’s sebum. This oxidation process occurs when your sebum’s squalene meets oxygen and reacts with it, resulting in squalene peroxide. If you already don’t like the sound of this substance, it is likely because it is exactly the culprit that blocks your pores and causes your pimples.
What exactly does squalene peroxide do? Basically, your skin’s dead cells are kept together by keratin. When oil is added into the equation, the mixed elements truly become inseparable – leading the mixture to become blocked within your pores and to cause irritation. While it is sebum that clogs your skin’s openings, it is oxidized sebum that truly makes a mess out of things. If all of this wasn’t enough, squalene peroxide moreover causes2 inflammation on its own, as well.
Vitamin E’s Function
Sebum is indeed a villain when it comes to oily skin and acne. Nevertheless, this product of the sebaceous glands is necessary in terms of transmitting nutrients throughout your skin. It is also an agent that helps send acids toward the acid mantle of your skin, which serves as gatekeeper between your system and various germs.
It is your organism’s task to fight the oxidation of your sebum, as the process only disables sebum’s guarding abilities. For that reason, sebum is provided with antioxidants which strengthen it and allow it to do its job. In fact, no matter how much oil you may have on your face, if there are enough antioxidants in place to protect it, then you are unlikely to ever develop pimples, as oxidation would be prevented. This is where vitamin E comes in3 – an expert antioxidant which guards your sebum against the harmful oxidation process. You can get extra vitamin E in your system by upping your intake of various herbs, bananas, broccoli, pomegranate and black chocolate.
Can all antioxidants protect you equally well against oxidation? Unfortunately, the answer is no. It is necessary that the antioxidant in question is fat-soluble, rather than water-soluble. The latter is only able to prevent your body’s water-based elements from becoming oxidized. Conversely, fat-soluble antioxidants can guard fat-based elements, as well as lipid tissues.
Need an illustration to understand this better? Think of the fat you consume that is considered to be dietary, such as fish oil. Its Omega 3s can benefit you immensely, but that is only possible if oxidation doesn’t happen and no free radicals occur. For that reason, you need fat-focused antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids. Why is sebum a perfect environment for this kind of antioxidants? It is because the sebaceous glands’ product is almost entirely composed of fatty acids – almost half of sebum is made of triglycerides, about a fourth consists of wax esters, about 16 percent is made of fatty acids of the free variety, and around 12 – of squalene. Vitamin E takes second place in terms of antioxidant availability throughout the human organism.
How Does A Lack Of Vitamin E Lead To Acne?
Basically, your organism’s sebum is already naturally manufactured with some vitamin E in it. Still, your body is unable to make its own vitamin E which means that you must make your own. Otherwise, you might end up with feeble, oxidized sebum, ready to make your complexion suffer. After all, as mentioned, it is those who frequently suffer from acne who are found with quantities of the vitamin that are too low to protect their natural oils. Various studies showcase this relationship. Essentially, that can be the case because of acne patients’ dietary lack of the vitamin, or because of an abundance of free radicals. If a lot of oxidizing activity is happening throughout your entire system, it is likely that there will not be adequate rates of vitamin E for your skin.
To clarify, if you happen to sport low amounts of vitamin E, then even a smaller quantity of sebum can serve to deteriorate your skin. Upon sebum oxidizing, squalene peroxide is manufactured, clogging your pores. At that point, the P. Acnes germ invades your complexion. Finally, inflammation occurs because your organism struggles to fight this bacteria, causing you mild to severe inflammation. And there you have it – the process through which you get your pimples, and acne occurs.
Vitamin E Sources
It becomes evident that one way in which you can clear up your skin and replenish your complexion is simply by ingesting greater amounts of vitamin E. You can either get it from food sources or from a supplement – depending on the severity of your breakouts and on your need for the antioxidant.
Fish, eggs and meat are all reasonably good providers of the vitamin. They do not possess it in overabundance but if you consume them frequently and in large quantities, then you might just fill up on the missing substance. Look for products that are of a high quality – ideally not pumped full of preservatives and hormones. Stay away from processed meats, as well.
In general, nuts tend to be wonderfully healthy in various ways – most kinds can help you stock up on all kinds of beneficial nutrients. In this case, too, nuts come to the rescue. Indeed, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E4. The alpha-tocopherol in almonds is what provides you with the necessary component.
To be sure, lots of scientific studies have confirmed that nuts are irreplaceable when it comes to the quick, easy and tasty acquisition of essential nutrients. One of the best things about almonds, and a number of other nuts, is that they do not require cooking in order to be edible. Just 3 dozens of almonds per day are enough to supply you with more than half of the needed vitamin E. Just grab a handful before leaving for work and have them on the subway, or have a few for desert after dinner.
Another kind of nuts that is an indispensable ally in the fight against recurrent pimples is the Brazil nut. A slightly less popular, but very tasty and incredibly healthy natural product, the Brazil nut offers a hefty dose of vitamin E. What is more, you can get plenty of selenium off of a mere handful of these nuts, too.
More Sources Of Vitamin E
Another marvelous source of the vitamin is broccoli. This vegetable is praised as being extremely nutritional to begin with – it can gift you plenty of magnesium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. It is also an excellent cancer-fighting natural product. Luckily, for those of us who suffer from acne, one of the things it does best is give you as much vitamin E as your skin is likely craving.
The most efficient way of obtaining broccoli’s benefits is to simply steam it. This is because steaming vegetables allows them to maintain most of their original nutritional value5 – especially when it comes to vitamin C. This goes for various vegetables, such as spinach. Indeed, when it comes to spinach, the eradication of vitamins becomes quite obvious – just observe the way in which the vegetable shrinks by more than half when placed in a hot pan. Indeed, spinach is also a great aide in the fight against acne – it can nourish your gut’s health bacteria and therefore develop and diversify the kinds of germs you have in your stomach.
Boiling or microwaving such vegetables, on the other hand, tends to lower this value, while frying them may even generally deplete them of the healthy goods. As vitamin E is as fragile a nutrient as vitamin C, it is best to not risk losing it all to boiling water or frying oil. As vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and vitamin E are all important substances to stock up on if you are striving for a healthy body, and healthy skin, it is advisable to generally stick to this food-prep advice.
Certain oils are also excellent aids6 in obtaining as much vitamin E as possible. Canola, sunflower, corn, etc. oil can all provide you with plenty of the substance. But there is a catch – all of these are pretty terrible culprits when it comes to acne. Instead, what you need to opt for is the blessing that comes in the form of olive oil. Not only is it an excellent fighter against acne but it also provides you with more than a 7th of the necessary daily vitamin E intake per just 20g. Just use it to cook your healthy meals, or pour some into your roasted potatoes (keep in mind foods like potatoes are full of harmful carbohydrates, so only consume them in moderation).
Is it difficult to obtain the necessary amount of vitamin E per day? Not at all! The truth is that most food products contain a certain minimal level of the vitamin, so as long as you maintain a varied diet (containing lots of vegetables and fruits), you will already be getting some level of nutrition. Still, if you want to combat your acne this way, you might want to focus on having vitamin E-rich foods. Last case scenario, if your life is incredibly busy or perhaps you happen to be allergic to some or all of these foods, you can also opt for a supplement or even a multivitamin pill which contains a healthy dose of the miraculous vitamin.
Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Vitamin E?
We keep emphasizing the notion of getting as much of this skin-caring substance as possible, but is there a possibility of getting too much of it? While this may sound unlikely, there are plenty of cases recorded of people literally overdosing on certain foods or supplements. While the effects of this are rarely detrimental to one’s health, it is still possible to become physically ill from ingesting high amounts of any product. After all, too much of a good thing is supposedly never a good thing, right?
Unfortunately, vitamin E falls in the group of beneficial products which should actually be consumed with certain measure, not excessively7. The result of this is called hypervitaminosis-e. While it still contains the word ‘vitamin’, it does sound quite ominous, so let’s see what it is all about.
Hypervitaminosis-e occurs upon the ingestion of more than a gram of vitamin E. This may sound like a small amount, but for something as light as a vitamin, it is a l-o-t! Effects include excessive bleeding and a disturbance in vitamin K’s function. Moreover, it also makes you prone to getting patchy, uneven skin that is full of blemishes – which is exactly what we are striving to avoid.
Although all of this may sound quite scary and out of this world, such amounts of vitamin E ingestion are quite difficult to obtain in a short period of time. Remember when we mentioned that you should have several handfuls of almonds per day to up your vitamin E? Well, even if you were to opt for devouring an entire bucketful of the healthy kernels, you would still be far from obtaining an entire gram of the nutrient. In fact, even downing huge rations of vitamin E supplements would not get you too close to a dangerously excessive dose.
The point is – have no fear of having too much vitamin E – especially if you sport a particularly oily face. If you happen to have a moderately oily complexion, go for a normal dose of vitamin E. If you have an overly oily face, don’t hesitate to up your doses to about 0.1g per day. The more sebum your glands produce, the more of the vitamin you want around to counteract it. Don’t worry, either way, you would still be very far from the recommended absolute limit of 1g of vitamin E per day.
How To Monitor Your Vitamin E Intake
First of all, you might want to realize your particular face’s oiliness level. Because of recurring breakouts, you might feel like your sebaceous glands are working overtime to provide you with incomprehensible amounts of sebum. Still, it is more likely that you simply have a moderately oily face which is making you feel even less confident because of the dreaded zits. Perhaps the best thing you can do is visit a dermatologist and inquire about where you stand in terms of sebum production. This way, you will truly know how much vitamin E you need.
For starters, eating the aforementioned products should already provide you with enough vitamin E. Steaming some broccoli, focusing on other green veggies and munching on some almonds as a snack should ideally give you everything you need to combat pimples. Eggs are another great, albeit minor, source of the nutrient in question.
If this strategy doesn’t work, simply up your intake. The easiest and least time-consuming way to do this is to opt for a nutritional supplement. At this point, your complexion should be evening out and improving its overall appearance. If you still fail to see the desired improvement, your skin might need an extra boost. In that case, there is no harm in going for a higher vitamin E intake, even if you decide to double the recommended daily intake dose. Ingesting about 0.1g of the nutrient should be more than enough. You can up your dose as much as you like, but try not to go further than 0.5g per day without consulting your dermatologist. After all, while vitamin E is an excellent acne remedy8, you can never be sure that there isn’t another reason for your troubles such as a hormonal imbalance or an unacknowledged stress factor.
While choosing the way in which you want to obtain your vitamin E, you might find yourself facing the tough choice of which supplement is best for you. We strongly recommend a natural (meaning, non-synthetic) which incorporates the entire set of enzymes required by your system. Go for a supplement that is food-based. This is essentially an additive made of compressed foods of the likes of almonds and annatto. The best varieties we have been able to pinpoint so far are the Garden of Life Raw Vitamin E and the slightly cheaper Solgar Vitamin E Softgels.
- El-Akawi Z., Abdel-Latif N., Abdul-Razzak K. Does the plasma level of vitamins A and E affect acne condition?. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 2006;31(3):430-4.
- Ottaviani M., Camera E., Picardo M. Lipid Mediators in Acne. Mediators of Inflammation. 2010.
- Keen M.A., Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal. 2016;7(4):311-5.
- Rizvi S., Raza S.T., Ahmed F., Ahmad A., Abbas S., Mahdi F. The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal. 2014;14(2):e157-65.
- Yuan G.F., Sun B., Yuan J., Wang Q.M. Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli. Journal of Zhejiang University. 2009;10(8):580-8.
- Saedi S., Noroozi M., Khosrotabar N., Mazandarani S., Ghadrdoost B. How canola and sunflower oils affect lipid profile and anthropometric parameters of participants with dyslipidemia. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 2017;31:5.
- U.S. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin E. Office of Dietary Supplements (Website). Accessed 2019.
- Ozuguz P., Dogruk Kacar S., Ekiz O., Takci Z., Balta I., Kalkan G. Evaluation of serum vitamins A and E and zinc levels according to the severity of acne vulgaris. Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology. 2014;33(2):99-102.
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