Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can be taken internally as a supplement or applied externally to the skin. A 2002 study in the "European Journal of Dermatology" showed that applying 900 international units of vitamin E seemed to provide antioxidant protection to the study participants. Vitamin E oil can be purchased at different potency levels--the rule of thumb is the greater the potency, the better level of protection it is likely to provide.
Vitamin E is commonly available at health food and drug stores as a vitamin, as gel caps or in an oil form that you can apply topically. A 2008 study published in the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology" noted that vitamin E as an alpha tocopherol provided antioxidant protection to skin and anti-inflammatory properties for wound healing.
Vitamin E can be purchased as a vitamin that you can consume or as an oil that you can spread onto the skin externally. Be sure to read the labels. Some vitamin E oil may be diluted with soybean oil. The label should tell you how many IUs the product contains. For example, you can purchase vitamin E oil that is strictly that, with no soybean oil or other plant oils, at 32,000 or 40,000 IUs.
The 2002 and 2008 studies both reported that vitamin E had protective antioxidant effects on the skin. The 2002 study demonstrated effects in people with vitiligo, a skin disorder. It concluded that vitamin E can provide protective effects to skin but may not affect vitiligo. The 2008 study noted that vitamin E has antioxidant effects on the skin, especially in the form of alpha tocopherol. It also noted that vitamin E can protect against “photoaging.”
The greatest misconception is to believe that all vitamin E is the same. Different forms of vitamin E are formulated depending on their use: as a vitamin pill to consume internally or as a skin oil to be used externally. Vitamin E oils can be packaged in a way that is deceiving--you may be paying for soybean or corn oil, not vitamin E oil.
Read all labels. If you have any doubts, check with your physician or dermatologist as to what kind of vitamin E would be best for you.