With skin care specialists increasingly emphasizing that prevention, rather than repair, is the key to maintaining young-looking skin. This means that formulators are constantly looking for proven ways of incorporating natural ingredients to help protect skin.
Vitamin E has been increasingly incorporated into both anti-aging and sun screen formulations as a means of upping a product's anti-oxidant efficacy. For this reason, and the fact that is easy to manufacture, readily available and inexpensive, it has now become the number one selling anti-oxidant ingredient.
The study, which was published online in the September issue of Skin Pharmacology Physiology, shows that supplying topical exogenous antioxidants to the skin may prevent or minimize free radical-induced damage.
Researchers determined the antioxidative capacity of a topical skin care treatment - an oil-in-water vitamin E-containing formula - on human skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) by using a photochemiluminescence device and biophysical methods.
In a randomized, double blind study, either a pH-balanced vitamin E emulsion or a control lotion was applied onto the forearm skin of 10 healthy Caucasian participants.
Thirty minutes after application, test sites were exposed to a UV light to induce erythema; one untreated site served as a control. Visual scoring and instrumental measurements were recorded at baseline and thereafter at 24 hours and 48 hours to determine antioxidant capacity.
At day two and day three after UV exposure, vitamin E emulsion and the vehicle control significantly suppressed visual scores when compared with the blank control.
More specifically, vitamin E emulsion showed significantly lower visual scores when compared with vehicle control; and vitamin E emulsion and its vehicle control significantly diminished skin color measurement values when compared with a blank control, the researchers reported.
Furthermore, vitamin E emulsion significantly reduced skin blood flow volume when compared with blank control at day two; and at day three, vitamin E emulsion and its vehicle control showed significant reduction of blood flow volume when compared with blank control.
From the test results the researchers concluded, vitamin E emulsion and its vehicle control proved effective in preventing induction of erythema and reducing inflammatory damage caused by UV exposure, and the effect of vitamin E emulsion exceeded that of an 'active control'.
The results lend further credence to the belief that vitamin E is a valuable antioxidant, which in turn makes it a good means of providing protection to the skin and preventing visible signs of skin aging.