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Out of all the very many skin care ingredients in the spotlight today, vitamin E certainly seems to do the most.
Of course, it’s an essential vitamin in maintaining overall health, but it’s also a total skin care super vitamin. When properly worked into your beauty routine, vitamin E can help solve common skin woes, including acne, stretch marks, and dullness. Say it with us: Hell-o, glow!
Topical vitamin E oils are more popular than ever in the beauty industry, ranging in form from sprays to serums. If you’re new to the world of vitamin E oil, this guide is here to help, with expert info on the vitamin itself, what science says, and how to choose the right vitamin E oil product for you.
- Best face serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
- Best budget serum: Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum
- Best for stretch marks: Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil
- Best natural: One Love Botanical E
- Best for scars: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
- Best for hair: Up&Up Vitamin E Dietary Supplement Oil
- Best night serum: The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil
- Best for dark circles: Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
- Best for body: Jason Vitamin E Skin Oil
- Best for sunburns: Face Theory Rejuvenating Jojoba Face Oil O2
- Best for sensitive skin: Derma E Vitamin E Skin Oil
- Best for nails: Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil
We’ve rounded up 12 stellar picks for everyone, addressing all concerns and desires. Here’s how we selected them:
- Expert tips. We sought the expertise of Dr. Karyn Grossman — a dermatologist based in both Santa Monica and New York — and other skin care experts to get their top picks and include only evidence-backed winners in our roundup.
- Ingredients. We looked for formulas that also contain other active ingredients (like vitamin C) that have proven benefits and that dermatologists recommend pairing with vitamin E. Why? To help our dear readers meet all their skin care goals.
- Price. While they range in price, many of the oils on this list are under $20. Where you may want to splurge is when a product features an additional powerhouse ingredient, like vitamin C.
- Reviews. Reviews can say it all. We combed through reviews and ratings to ensure only the most highly-rated picks made the cut.
We’ve included options at a range of price points that contain synthetic and natural vitamin E, ones that are paired with other powerhouse ingredients like vitamin C, and ones that are free of parabens, phthalates, fragrances, and more.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = between $10 to $35
- $$$ = $60 and up
Best vitamin E face serum
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, panthenol
- Skin type it’s best for: Normal, dry, and sensitive skin
- Size: 1 ounce (oz).
- What we like: Combo of vitamin E, vitamin C, and ferulic acid helps brighten complexion and increase firmness
- What we don’t like: pricey; smelly
Chances are you’ve heard of this seriously-adored product — and chances are that you (like us) didn’t realize the “E” in “C E” stood for vitamin E.
This is Grossman’s favorite vitamin E pick. She prefers it over others because of the ingredient combo: Vitamin E paired with beloved vitamin C means extra antioxidants, plus they stabilize each other, which helps ensure the product stays effective for as long as possible.
Vitamin C is notoriously loved by derms everywhere, and one of the reasons is that it’s super effective at brightening skin and lightening dark spots. So, with this product, you’re getting all the benefits of vitamin E (to review: deep hydration and free radical protection), plus a brightening factor.
As for ferulic acid, it’s actually another antioxidant (in case you’ve lost count, we’re now up to *three* antioxidants in this single bottle), which also helps brighten skin while offering anti-inflammatory benefits.
Another perk: It also has hyaluronic acid to plump up and hydrate skin and stimulate collagen production, plus panthenol to soothe any irritation.
Did you see the price? Eeek we know — it’s expensive. But Grossman swears it’s the most bang for your buck. It also infamously smells like hot dog water. But don’t worry, the smell disappears once your skin drinks it up.
Best budget vitamin E serum
Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: tocopherol (vitamin E), L-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf juice, grape seed extract
- Skin type it’s best for: normal
- Size: 1 oz.
- What we like: same combo of antioxidants as our more expensive serum pick, but for less money
- What we don’t like: may cause more dryness or breakouts
This serum, which contains natural vitamin E, earns all 11 000+ five-star reviews it has. Those with sensitive skin praise the serum for its non-irritating formula, while others note brighter skin and less scarring within months of use.
So, what’s its secret? It’s packed with the same combo of ingredients we love in our (much pricier) SkinCeuticals pick: Vitamin E, vitamin C, ferulic acid, and hyaluronic acid.
It also has aloe leaf juice and grape seed extract to soothe irritation and provide an extra dose of antioxidants.
Although many reviewers liked the product’s affordability, some did believe it dried out their skin, while others experienced breakouts. People often experience dry skin if they apply hyaluronic acid and don’t apply a moisturizer on top (HA needs a moisturizing topcoat to draw that hydration into the skin).
Best vitamin E oil for stretch marks
Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: vitamin E, corylus avellana (hazel) seed, pelargonium graveolens flower oil, rosmarinus officials (rosemary) leaf oil, menthe arvensis leaf oil
- Skin type it’s best for: anyone with stretch marks
- Size: 3.4 oz.
- What we like: nourishing, non-sticky, improves skin texture, sustainable packaging
- What we don’t like: pricey
Okay, so we’re getting most of the priciest picks out of the way right off the bat — but we just had to include them in the list because they have such a fan base.
This product is not new — in fact, it’s been a go-to pick for pregnant people, in particular, since the ’60s, but it’s also loved by people who’ve experienced weight fluctuations.
It’s formulated with 100 percent plant extracts, like hazelnut, mint and geranium, and helps to firm and tone skin, diminishing the appearance of stretch marks.
But the list of natural ingredients doesn’t just offer a fix for stretch marks (and a treat for your nose), its ingredients offer an array of benefits. Take rosemary leaf oil, for example — it has inflammatory properties and can even help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Best natural vitamin E oil
One Love Botanical E
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: vitamin E, barbary fig, hydrating marine extracts, green tea, watermelon, aloe
- Skin type it’s best for: normal, oily, combination
- Size: 1 oz.
- What we like: 100 percent natural, doubles as a makeup primer
- What we don’t like: contains no other active ingredients
Vitamin E plus powerful botanicals create a serum that moisturizes to the max. Made with 93 percent organic ingredients, this is the pick for those wanting au naturel wrinkle prevention.
One of the hero ingredients, aside from vitamin E of course, is green tea seed oil, which helps to prevent UV irradiation. This oil also contains sunflower seed oil which has anti-inflammatory benefits and marine extracts — like sea kale — that can help smooth and plump skin.
If all that didn’t check your boxes, maybe this will: It’s also synthetic fragrance-free, cruelty-free, dermatologist tested, ECOCERT® certified natural and organic.
Best vitamin E oil for scars
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), rosemary oil, calendula oil, lavender oil, chamomile oil, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A)
- Skin type it’s best for: all, including sensitive skin
- Size: 4.2 oz.
- What we like: rave reviews; targets scars and stretch marks
- What we don’t like: results in three months
More than 128,000 Amazon reviewers have sung the praises of this skin oil, which improves the appearance of stretch marks and scarring.
Featuring vitamin E and vitamin A along with rosemary lavender essential oils, the serum increases moisture content for supple, smoother-looking skin.
Grossman says the best ingredient for targeting stretch marks is vitamin A — aka retinol. The reason it’s so good is that it’s been scientifically proven to improve skin texture — namely, to smooth it. In other words, this stretch mark and scar-minimizing oil has the whole package.
Apply the oil on cleansed skin and healed scars, in a circular motion twice daily. That sounds like a lot — but don’t worry, it’s easy to use and it’s not sticky, so it quickly absorbs into the skin.
After three months, you’ll start noticing a more even skin tone, as well as soft, plump skin.
Best vitamin E oil for hair
Up&Up Vitamin E Dietary Supplement Oil
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: Di-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), coconut oil, soybean oil
- Skin type it’s best for: all skin types
- Size: 2 oz.
- What we like: inexpensive; tons of 5-star reviews
- What we don’t like: some complaints of a watery consistency
This product earns top marks from online reviewers for its versatility. Approved for dry skin, scalp, hair, and nail use, the oil can truly do it all when it comes to curing major beauty woes like cracked cuticles and dull skin.
But experts agree one of its main perks is that it contains soybean oil, which is full of omega fatty acids (as well as vitamin E) and delivers uber moisture to hair.
Have brittle, color-damaged strands? These ingredients can provide the nutrients they need and help them retain moisture so they get healthy and stay healthy.
Need more reasons to try it? It’s dye-free, aluminum-free, paraben-free and phthalate-free. Keep an eye on dosage though, as some reviewers noted that the consistency was watery.
Best vitamin E oil night serum
The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), raspberry seed oil, wheat germ oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, sesame seed oil, jojoba seed oil, soybean oil
- Skin type it’s best for: all skin types
- Size: 1 oz.
- What we like: super hydrating, great for nighttime use
- What we don’t like: contains fragrance and essential oils, which can irritate skin
This vitamin E serum goes to work on your skin while you get your vitamin Zzz. Intended to be worn overnight, it features a non-greasy, fast-absorbing formula that won’t sit heavy on your skin.
What makes this product a total winner is its super hydrating trifecta. It contains red raspberry extract, which can help protect against UVB-induced damage, and almond oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil, each of which helps moisturize and restore skin, helping it look positively raaadiant.
This cruelty-free pick is a favorite among online customers, earning five stars for its glow-inducing results and hydrating effects.
Best vitamin E oil for dark circles
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: Tocopherol (vitamin E), squalane, sweet orange oil, glycolic acid
- Skin type it’s best for: oily, combo, acne-prone
- Size: 1 oz.
- What we like: brightens skin and minimizes pores
- What we don’t like: Some reviewers experienced breakouts
A frequent favorite of online customers, this serum from cult favorite Sunday Riley combines vitamin E with vitamin C for a lightweight product designed to combat signs of aging skin.
Vitamin C, as we previously discussed, is an antioxidant that protects against pollutants and UV rays, and has been proven to lighten pigmentation. Meanwhile, squalane is a plant-based ingredient that locks in moisture and glycolic acid can help improve skin texture and even treat acne.
Unfortunately, some reviewers said it still resulted in breakouts.
Best vitamin E oil for body
Jason Vitamin E Skin Oil
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), sunflower seed oil, borage seed oil, safflower seed oil, macadamia seed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil
- Skin type it’s best for: dry/dehydrated skin
- Size: 1 oz.
- What we like: price; one drop goes a long way
- What we don’t like: does not contain other active ingredients
It’s hard to find a bad review for this under-$20 oil — it’s loved by nearly all 19,000+ reviewers for its ability to nourish super-dry areas including elbows, knees, and heels. It can be applied directly to the skin or added to your favorite body lotion when your skin is in need of serious softness.
Some reviewers say they have acne-prone skin yet this product — surprisingly — doesn’t make them breakout. That could be thanks to sunflower seed oil and safflower seed oil which (like vitamin E) have anti-inflammatory agents.
Other reviewers praise the product for not being too oily, and others claim it helps with the treatment of keratosis pilaris, which causes bumps on the skin.
Final selling feature: The formula is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and petrolatum, and it’s not tested on animals.
Best vitamin E oil for sunburns
Face Theory Rejuvenating Jojoba Face Oil O2
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: Tocopherol (1 percent vitamin E, naturally derived), jojoba seed oil (organic)
- Skin type it’s best for: most skin types
- Size: 3.4 oz.
- What we like: simple (but effective) ingredient list
- What we don’t like: some reviewers don’t love the scent
Made for multiple skin types, this face oil combines jojoba oil and vitamin E into a serum that protects against sun damage and prevents signs of aging.
Jojoba oil wears many hats — it provides deep hydration, makes skin glow, rescues dry cuticles, and even soothes sunburns. Pair that with the great vitamin E, and you have a product that’s dedicated entirely to moisturizing and soothing skin.
Most online reviewers reported softer skin after using. Some felt their skin didn’t absorb the product properly, and others weren’t a fan of the scent.
Best vitamin E oil for sensitive skin
Derma E Vitamin E Skin Oil
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), safflower oil
- Skin type it’s best for: sensitive skin
- Size: 2 oz.
- What we like: gentle enough for delicate skin
- What we don’t like: only one active ingredient
This fragrance-free vitamin E oil is combined with safflower seed oil (rich in linoleic and omega fatty acids) to reduce the appearance of skin aging, fight dry skin, and repair the skin barrier.
The hypoallergenic formula is ideal for even the most sensitive skin, and it can be applied to the skin as needed.
Reviewers rave about this pick, calling it their “holy grail,” promising to buy it “again and again,” and recommending it to “everyone with skin issues.”
Best vitamin E oil for nails
Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), apricot kernel oil, safflower seed oil, wheat germ oil, coconut oil, aloe leaf extract
- Skin type it’s best for: all skin types
- Size: .45 oz.
- What we like: encourages nail growth
- What we don’t like: results take time
With an affordable price point and a slew of five-star reviews on Amazon (like over 11,000), this nail and cuticle oil is a must-have for the DIY manicurist. Ingredients like safflower seed oil and aloe help soothe and repair skin, while apricot kernel oil nourishes and strengthens skin and nails.
The oil can be applied nightly and is intended to be massaged all over the nail and cuticle, promoting circulation and nail growth. While many reviewers praised the product for restoring the health of their cuticles, some noted it took time to see results.
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a vitamin E skin care product:
Form of vitamin E
There are eight types of vitamin E, but there isn’t a ton of research on how they differ in efficacy when it comes to skin care.
What we do know is that the most stable form of vitamin E is the synthetic kind — dl-alpha-tocopherol. The more stable your vitamin E is, the more likely it is to actually deliver the benefits you’re looking for.
But experts also believe that the natural form — l-alpha-tocopherol — is more active than the synthetic form.
So which do you choose?
If you have sensitive skin, the synthetic form might be a gentler option for you. Otherwise, you don’t have to worry about it *too* much. We recommend looking for products alpha-tocopherol or products that contain ferulic acid to help stabilize the vit E.
There are tons of diff types of vitamin E products. Here’s the deal on choosing one:
If you want that thick, super hydrating feel, go with straight oil. Make sure you pick one with a solid carrier oil that works well with your skin type.
Carrier oils dilute the amount of vitamin E applied to your skin, making it less potent. Experts like Grossman commonly recommend using vitamin E diluted in a carrier oil, which means looking for oils that combine vitamin E with other ingredients like jojoba, argan, rosehip, or apricot kernel oil.
Many pure vitamin E oils will list the potency of vitamin E in “IU” or “international units.” Higher IU oils are best for very dry skin or to target trouble spots. Lower IU oils are good for general skin support.
Vitamin E capsules
If you want to get super-potent vitamin E, you can try capsules. Just poke a hole in it, squeeze out the liquid, and you get a thick, oily substance that can be applied directly to the skin.
According to Grossman, this form of vitamin E should be used only by people who have dry skin.” That thick oil really hydrates the skin,” says Grossman. “My patients who have eczema or dry skin use that on parts of their bodies, and some people use it as a cuticle oil or on the bottoms of their feet.”
The oil in capsules delivers 10 percent of the vitamin to your skin, which sounds suuuper appealing, but it’s also super potent — and not all skin can tolerate it. This form of vitamin E can cause skin irritation, says Grossman, which is why carrier oils are helpful for those with slightly more sensitive skin.
Love a good DIY? Dilute straight vitamin E oil at home, mixing the product with other beneficial vitamins or beauty products like your favorite moisturizer or lotion.
A popular skin care product, serums are water-based formulas that typically combine multiple powerful ingredients to offer a specific skin care perk or two — like brightening skin, deep hydration, or minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
When choosing a serum, it’s a good idea to look for other ingredients that help you reach any other skin care goals you might have.
- Vitamin C. We’ve been singing its praises all day. This guy helps reduce hyperpigmentation, brighten up skin, and boost collagen production. Vitamin C and vitamin E are known for being a pretty great duo, too.
- Ferulic acid. Another antioxidant that helps stabilize vitamin C and E. An amaze member to invite to the serum party.
- Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane. These are known for helping hydrate TF out of your skin. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are on the lightweight side, while squalane usually has a thicker feel to it.
- Panthenol, aloe vera. Both great skin soothers that can fight any irritation and inflammation.
Found in many of the foods we eat and in supplements we take, vitamin E helps foster healthy skin and can even act as a barrier against harmful UV rays.
But reaping the maximum skin benefits of vitamin E goes beyond just loading up on sauteed greens and salmon or downing sunflower seeds by the fistful. So you may want to consider incorporating vitamin E oil into your daily skin care routine, too.
Reduces oxidative damage
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it “helps to quench, remove, or squash the free radicals that form in the skin from UV exposure, pollution, inflammation, and dehydration,” says Dr. Karyn Grossman a dermatologist based in both Santa Monica and New York.
Every day, skin is exposed to environmental pollutants, and studies have shown vitamin E can not only reduce some of that damage but also provide protection.
Hydrates your skin
Dry or chapped areas — including the face, lips, elbows, and cuticles — can benefit from topical vitamin E oil.
Vitamin E is a lipophilic antioxidant, meaning it’s oil-based, so it can be easily absorbed by the skin to provide deeep hydration, says Grossman.
It’s also an occlusive ingredient, which means it helps to seal moisture into the skin. “It helps to improve the skin barrier, which can help soften skin and hydrate it,” says Grossman.
Prone to irritation and redness? Yup, vitamin E, being anti-inflammatory, can help with that, too.
By ingesting the recommended daily allowance (15 mg for adults) and using topical vitamin E oils, you can see a reduction in skin irritation and an overall improvement in the appearance of the skin.
And when it’s combined with other vitamins and skin care ingredients? You’ll notice an even greater improvement in your skin’s tone and texture.
Looking to reduce the appearance of dark spots or melasma?
While vitamin C is a well-known powerhouse in the hyperpigmentation game, vitamin E has shown to be pretty great at this too. But you’re in for a real treat if you use ’em together because research suggests a combo of the two is better than either vitamin on its own.
Reduces premature signs of aging
Using antioxidants on your skin can help prevent premature signs of aging, says Grossman. It won’t get rid of the wrinkles you already have, she says, but it can “hide” them.
“Because vitamin E can hydrate skin and help repair the barrier, it can improve the appearance of your wrinkles.” Basically, like any good hydrator, vitamin E acts as a skin-plumper, softening the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Of course, vitamin E is no magic potion — it has a couple of newfound limitations:
- Scars: For many years, plastic surgeons told patients to put vitamin E on scars. “But there have been studies that found it didn’t actually improve them,” says Grossman. Instead, she prefers good ol’ Vaseline, which acts as a barrier to keep scars safe from environmental stressors so they can heal.
- Acne scarring. Some people swear by vitamin E as a treatment for acne scarring, but that’s certainly not the best option — and can actually exacerbate the problem. According to Grossman, people who are acne-prone typically have oily skin, and since vitamin E is oil-based, it can increase their acne — leading to even more scarring.
Unlike other ingredients that have a very clear dermatologist-recommended time of day to be applied (think: vitamin C in the morning; retinol at night), it’s not so black and white with vitamin E.
That’s because it comes in so many different forms that it’s not the ingredient you have to think about, but the consistency of the product.
If you’re using vitamin E in a serum, apply it in the morning after you cleanse, and before you apply moisturizer and SPF. Experts typically recommend that antioxidants (reminder: vitamin E is one) be applied in the morning to help protect against the day’s upcoming environmental stressors.
But if you’re using vitamin E in a heavier oil or cream (aka predominantly for hydration purposes), your best bet will be to apply it at night so it has (hopefully) eight full hours to absorb into your skin. (Unless, of course, you’re going for that aforementioned glass skin look — then, by all means, apply in the AM, too.) If you do apply it in the morning, anything you apply after it (looking at you, concealer) will just slip right off.
How to apply vitamin E oil
So, should you pat it into the skin, smear it around, or dab it on? Your best bet is reading the product instructions for that, but if you go the capsule route, a little dab’ll do ya.
For the DIY version, apply it like any other oil (with your fingertips), but be sure to do a patch test first.
A note on safety
When using a topical vitamin E, there is a risk of side effects, including rashes. While more research is definitely needed, old studies have found rashes not to be commonly reported. But, it’s important to seek a trusted healthcare professional if you notice an adverse reaction.
Which oil has the most vitamin E?
The most potent source of vitamin E can be found inside liquid vitamin E capsules. You can find them at drug stores and natural health food stores.
What is the most effective form of vitamin E?
“That’s gonna depend on the person,” says Grossman. “What’s good for Person A isn’t necessarily good for Person B.”
Look for a product that can meet your needs by first, knowing what you want to get out of the product (are you looking for hydration or free radical protection?), and second, knowing your skin type so you can select the best form (which generally means serum for oily skin and oil for dry skin) of vitamin E for you.
Is it safe to use vitamin E oil daily?
“If it doesn’t irritate your skin, and you really need that hydration, it definitely can be a good addition to your skin care routine,” says Grossman. Just make sure to do a test patch, as with any new product, and be careful about jumping into a highly-potent pick right away.
Does vitamin E oil help repair skin?
“People talk about this a lot but the hard science behind it actually did not show that,” says Grossman. What it can do is help hydrate and soothe inflammation, which can thereby help skin get healthy.
Is vitamin E oil safe for acne-prone skin?
People with acne-prone skin may want to avoid vitamin E, at least in a thick, oil form. That’s because people with acne typically have oily skin, so putting vitamin E oil, which is an occlusive, on their skin can make acne worse, says Grossman.But when it’s mixed with other ingredients, and not so thick and greasy, it should be fine for acne-prone skin types.