Vitamin E - Synthetic DL Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate -
DL Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate
INCI Name: DL Tocopheryl AcetateVitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin found in many different plant oils and throughout the body where it acts as an antioxidant to prevent the oxidation of lipids.
Types of Vitamin E
Alpha tocopherols are chiefly used in the supplement industry where they are taken internally for their antioxidant effects in the body. Research also shows that these results can be achieved through trans-dermal application so topical use of Alpha-tocopherol is a legitimate method to counter oxidation in the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
There are two commonly available forms of Alpha tocopherol:
d-alpha tocopherol - Natural, typically derived from Soy Bean Oil
dl-alpha tocopherol - Synthetic, petrochemical based
Both forms offer antioxidant activity when taken internally but the efficacy of synthetic Alpha-tocopherol is much lower than its natural counterpart. This is because the liver only recognises the natural version and synthetic versions are preferentially excreted. This happens to such an extent that natural Alpha-tocopherol is twice as bioavailable as synthetic when taken internally.
At this stage there is no clear evidence as to how this applies to the topical use of Alpha-tocopherol though it is likely that the natural version will also be more effective as well.
The most commonly used ester of vitamin E is Alpha-tocopheryl acetate, again this comes as either natural (D) or synthetic (DL) derived. The esterified form of Alpha-tocopherol is more stable and less acidic it is also said to prolong the effectiveness of Alpha-tocopherol in the skin tissues, particularly as a defence against UV light.
Whilst Alpha tocopherol is effective in body tissues, it is not effective as an antioxidant to inhibit rancidity in oils and fats. Far more effective are the other tocopherols present in mixed tocopherols, particularly delta and gamma tocopherols. Mixed tocopherols are widely used in the food industry to extend the shelf life of foods containing fats. Products for this purpose (INS Number E306) typically limit the Alpha-tocopherol content to 20% due to it's negligible use in this context.
Consequently mixed tocopherols are the ingredients of choice if the purpose is to inhibit oxidation on skincare and cosmetic products. As they also contain up to 20% Alpha-tocopherol they also offer the trans-dermal delivery of metabolically useful antioxidant..
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