Vitamin E

The term Tocopherols is a collective term for various fat-soluble substances. The most common form is tocopherol, but the individual structures were not clarified until 1938. Until today, Tocopherol of the alpha structure is the form about which scientists and researchers know the most. Tocopherols cannot be produced in the body itself, so we have to get it from food. Foods such as nuts, vegetable oils and margarine have a particularly high content, but Tocopherols is also abundant in cereal germs and some types of fish (salmon, mackerel, herring). The proportion in fruit and vegetables is comparatively low; at most, peppers, spinach, kale, mangoes, currants and avocados are worth mentioning.


Function of Tocopherols

A sufficient supply is extremely important, as the vitamin belongs to the so-called antioxidants and thus serves as a valuable radical scavenger. The so-called free radicals, which are produced by chemical reactions, sunlight, smoking, stress and also X-rays, can destroy the DNA, the structure of the cells and also vital proteins in the human body. Tocopherols thus fulfils the function of a cell protector and can not only slow down ageing processes, but is also said to protect against cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. It is also assumed that Tocopherols influences the control of the gonads. For this reason, it is often referred to as an anti-sterility vitamin by doctors.


Daily dose of vitamin E

The daily requirement is sometimes disputed. The German Nutrition Society recommends a daily dose of 120 to 140 milligrams, while other international institutes advocate much higher doses, which not only affects pregnant and breastfeeding women, but all groups of people in general. However, it is certain that the daily requirement for smokers, people with a stressful lifestyle and patients with heart disease or a weakened immune system is higher than the recommended daily dose.


Tocopherols and its importance for the body

It is estimated that only every second German manages to cover his or her Tocopherols needs through food alone. The body can compensate for a short-term deficiency by mobilising the reserves stored in the liver. Real deficiency symptoms therefore often only occur after years. Typical symptoms include anaemia, nervous and muscular deterioration, fatigue, digestive disorders, increased susceptibility to infections and poor concentration. In such cases, doctors recommend taking special vitamin capsules. Combination preparations have proven to be particularly effective. In combination with vitamins A and C, which also have an antioxidant effect, Tocopherols is said to prevent arteriosclerosis, impotence, menopausal problems, heart attacks and muscle and joint diseases.

An overdose through food intake is not possible. However, those who consume the above-mentioned preparations with Tocopherols in very large quantities, 800 milligrams per day being regarded as dangerous, must reckon with headaches, nausea and an increased tendency to bleed in the long term.


Tocopherols in cosmetics

Tocopherols is used in a great many skin care products. Its antioxidant properties increase the moisture content of the skin, improve the skin’s surface and slow down ageing processes by smoothing out small wrinkles. Since the vitamin also has an anti-inflammatory effect, it can speed up the healing of minor and superficial wounds. Tocopherols is also found in many sun creams, as the substance can protect our skin from the sun.

In this country, vitamin preparations predominantly contain Tocopherols of the alpha type, as it has proven to have the best antioxidant properties. Right behind it in second place is Tocopherols of the gamma type, which is even said to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. The other two forms, beta and delta, have hardly played a role in the fields of cosmetics and food supplements so far. For the formulation of Tocopherols, the choice of vehicle is also decisive. Already T. Förster found that Tocopherols as an oil-soluble vitamin penetrated best from a W/O emulsion into the skin:

OilW/O creamO/W creamPIT emulsion
Total quantity applied
Vitamin E (µg/cm 2 )
Amount (µg) of vitamin E absorbed in 200 µm skin30864540
% Vitamin E absorbed in 200 µm skin41165


The openly applied O/W emulsions inverted into a W/O emulsion film after only a few minutes because the water evaporated. This inversion and the gel network that characterises O/W emulsions apparently impede the penetration of Tocopherols. A correlation of the droplet size could not be found either, because from the PIT emulsion with the smallest droplet size also only 5% of the tocopherol amount was found in the skin.

Because of its stability, tocopherol acetate is often used as a stable ester and we also like to use a combination with the water-soluble antioxidant ascorbic acid (vitamin C). In this combination, ascorbic acid can regenerate the tocopherol that has been used up.


Fact Sheet Tocopherols

CAS number: 10191-41-0

Composition: yellow to slightly brown liquid

Solubility: fat-soluble

Melting and boiling point: 2.5 to 3.5 degrees and 393.0 degrees Celsius respectively


Fact Sheet Tocopherol Acetate

CAS number: Racemate 7695-91-2, D-form 58-95-7

Properties: odourless crystalline substance (D-form), odourless colourless to yellow oil (racemate)

Solubility: insoluble in water, highly soluble in acetone, ethanol, chloroform

Melting point: D-form 25.0 degrees, racemate minus 27.5 degrees Celsius


Fact Sheet Tocopherol nicotinate

CAS number: 51898-34-1

INCI-function: skin caring, antioxidative, skin protecting


Fact sheet tocopherol linoleate

CAS number: 36148-84-2

Molecular formula: C47H8003


Surprisingly, the positive effect of Tocopherols in cosmetic products not only benefits our skin, but also the products themselves. This is because the vitamin is able to protect the ingredients from spoiling when they come into contact with oxygen. The same reason has contributed to Tocopherols being added to many foods. Consumers can easily recognise this from the list of ingredients, where Tocopherols is listed with the numbers E-306 to E-309. In the form of extracts containing tocopherol of natural origin), it is also permitted for “organic” foods (E 306).

Due to the trend to use predominantly vegan raw materials and organic raw materials, Tocopherols is also available as naturally derived organic Tocopherols.


We are happy to work with these raw materials containing Tocopherols:

Tocopherol Oil CLRGlycine Soja (Soybean) Oil , TocopherolCLR
Coviox T-50 CTocopherolBASF
Coviox T-70 CTocopherolBASF
Capt-System E-Q10Glycerin , Lecithin , Dicaprylyl Ether , Water , Tocopherol , Ubiquinone , Sodium Stearoyl LactylateLucas Meyer
Uniprotect PT-3Oleyl Alcohol , Panthenyl Triacetate , Ethyl Linoleate , TocopherolInduchem
dermofeel Toco 70 non-GMOTocopherol , Helianthus Annus [Sunflower] Seed OilEvonik-Dr. Straetmans
Brillian-KS32Tocopheryl NicotinateBeijing Brilliance Bio
Tocopheryl LinoleateTocopheryl LinoleateLaboratoires Prod'Hyg
RonaCare Tocopheryl AcetateTocopheryl AcetateMerck
Unireduce R-35Farnesyl , Panthenyl Triacetate , Tocopheryl AcetateInduchem
Vital ETDisodiumLauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl PhosphatesAshland
Mixed Tocopherols 95TocopherolDSMMixture of α-, β-, γ-, δ-Tocopherol


Conclusion: Tocopherols as a guardian of our cells

Tocopherols, with all its facets and structures, is an immensely valuable substance that protects our cells from dangerous free radicals and can even reduce the risk of various diseases. It also has a very positive effect on our skin, so that it is quite rightly used in many high-quality cosmetic products. Tocopherols can contribute to a healthy and beautiful skin appearance, accelerate wound healing and delay unwanted ageing processes.


For more information, product or concept ideas, please feel free to contact us.




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Protection against extrinsic skin damage; Mudiyanselage, Thiele; Nutrition & Medicine 18, pp. 88-93; 2003

Prevention of the formation of age spots; Raab, Kindl; Pflegekosmetik; 2014.

Effect on reducing UV-induced skin damage; Rangarajan, Zatz, J.; Cosmet. Sci. 50, pp. 249-279; 1999.

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