(BeWellBuzz) Many know that vitamin E is a naturally occurring, fat soluble nutrient found in foods like eggs, spinach, nuts, avocado, olive oil, wheat germ and fish. But do you know what vitamin E “oil” is? The oil can be used to reduce or completely vanish the appearance of scars and stretch marks, repair your mane, help protect you from harmful sun exposure, treat some expressions of dermatitis and heal a sunburn. Here’s a little info and seven simple, do-it-yourself (DIY) home remedies using this inexpensive but valuable nutrient, just in time for the summer sun.
Natural vs. Synthetic
Perhaps reminiscent of the B group vitamins, vitamin E is a group of eight compounds, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The oil supplements you find either in capsules or in a jar may be natural or synthetic. The natural form was once commonly distilled from wheat germ, but now is often derived from vegetable oils. These natural extractions are typically labeled with the letter “d,” as in d-alpha-tocopherol. The synthetic version is denoted with a “dl,” as in dl-alpha-tocopherol.
7 Easy Uses for Vitamin E Body Care
1. Eye Treatment
Vitamin E is an antioxidant skin protectant that also helps to regenerate healthy skin cells.
Instructions: Dab a little of the oil on your finger. Apply to your “laugh lines” and under the eye to prevent or heal dark circles and diminish fine lines. To loosen the thick liquid, place the jar or capsules in warm water for a couple of minutes to heat it. If you’d still like it thinner, mix it with a little olive, almond or coconut oil. I prefer this mixture with a higher concentration of the vitamin oil, especially before bed when you have time to let it absorb. Be consistent, applying day and night.
IMPORTANT: certain oil mixtures may have adverse effects. For example, vitamin E acetate contains an acidic additive in order to preserve the oil; but it may increase skin sensitivity to UV rays. Buy pure. Avoid additives, even natural ones like acetate.
Studies show that vitamin E taken both internally and applied externally help to inhibit UV exposure and prevent skin cancer.
Instructions: Add a few drops of the oil to your sunscreen prior to exposure for additional protection and extra moisture.
3. Avoid Stretch Marks
Whether you are pregnant or losing weight, once your skin has been stretched, it’s likely to leave behind stretch marks. As a helpful preventative while pregnant or before marks appear, keep the skin supple and not only well moisturized but well-armed and nourished with pure vitamin E oil, or in a blend.
Instructions: It helps to warm the oil so it spreads easily. Be sure to cover the whole area. You can also mix it with a rich carrier oil such as coconut or pure almond oil. Apply generously and often. The best time is shower time. Spread it on while your skin is still moist after bathing; or dampen the skin with a spray mist or wet cloth and then apply.
4. Treat Psoriasis & Eczema
There isn’t enough science to prove or recommend a therapeutic dose, but if you’ve been trying to heal or improve irritated skin, you may want to add this to the arsenal. Importantly, spot check first. Make sure you don’t have a reaction to the oil. Tea tree and lavender essential oil (EO) are also helpful in improving these skin conditions.
Instructions: Use the vitamin oil alone, or, to make a blend, add equal parts of each EO to heated vitamin E oil. Use as much as you need to cover the affected area (or ¼ tsp for spot check). Take onto your fingertips and gently dab to the skin. If it causes you any irritation stop use immediately. Do this at least twice per day or as much as desired.
5. Grow Your Hair
Some hair enthusiasts swear that a blend of vitamin E oil with a carrier oil such as olive or organic coconut oil can help stimulate blood flow to the scalp, nourishment of the cuticle and cause the hair to grow faster. Rosemary essential oil is also believed to stimulate hair growth. This is ideal for the coming summer months because hair typically grows faster in the heat.
Instructions: Use pure, natural vitamin E oil or create a blend. Use these general proportions as a guideline, but depending on how much hair you have, its condition and what you like, you’ll probably come up with your own measurements (which is the fun part!). Add ½-1 tablespoon of warmed E oil to ¼ cup carrier oil. Then add 2-3 drops of rosemary EO, mix well, and massage into the scalp using your fingertips (not nails!). I like to do this before a Bikram’s yoga class or time in the steam room. Leave in for 20 minutes, a couple hours or overnight. Then wash. Repeat once or twice per week.
6. Mend Split Ends
If you have split ends from color, heat processing, chlorine or even too much sun exposure, use this hair mask consistently for repair and prevention. Vitamin E is in many store-bought natural and synthetic hair care products, but you can also benefit from its potent healing powers using the pure oil all by itself.
Instructions: Apply to ends neat, or mixed with a carrier oil. For a deep conditioner, use a rich carrier or base fat, such as jojoba or almond oil, cocoa butter, or avocado (either the raw vegetable mashed, or avocado oil). Make enough to saturate all your ends.
If you’d like to add fragrance and more healing benefits, EOs that are excellent and commonly used for healing dry hair include rosemary, lavender, geranium and sandalwood. Sandalwood is a spicier more masculine fragrance nicely suited for men. Rosemary is also fairly neutral, neither a masculine or feminine tone. Use one or create a blend of oils to your taste.
Leave the moisture tonic on the ends or massage into all your hair, if desired, for one hour. Do this once or twice per week until you see the desired results.
TIP: For added protection, moisture and great shine you can also take a small amount of warm vitamin E oil into your palm, rub hands together and add to styled hair. This is a great way to help protect your hair from sun damage.
7. Heal & Moisturize Sun-Kissed Skin
Aloe Vera has a high concentration of vitamin E, as well as antioxidant vitamins A & C. After a day in the sun, and especially if you’ve got a burn, vitamin E oil can be added to a cooling pure aloe vera gel or juice to help prevent profuse peeling and quicken healing.
Instructions: Apply to lips before and after sun exposure. After showering, while your skin is still damp, first apply aloe vera and then add the oil OR blend the two together and then lavish generously. Lavender essential oil is also healing, cooling and protective, and if added to the mix helps to soften the pungent smell of aloe. The key is to strike while your body has moisture from the shower, which increases absorption.
Check the labels for international units (IU). A good high dose contains 45, 000 IU. I currently have a 28,000 IU and it’s working great for daily use. I’d get a higher dose to heal a sunburn or prevent scarring (after its closed; don’t apply to an open wound).
I hope you benefit from one or all of these sweet tips using vitamin E oil. As you get to know the oil, its properties and how your body responds to it, you’ll probably come up with quite a few ideas of your own!