Vitamin E can be separated into eight varients: four tocopherols (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, d-gamma-tocopherol, and d-delta-tocopherol) and four tocotrienols (d-alpha-tocotrienol, d-beta-tocotrienol, d-gamma-tocotrienol, d-delta-tocotrienol).
Alpha tocopherol is the form of vitamin E that we use within our bodies. Beta, gamma and delta tocopherols, known as ‘mixed’ tocopherols, are other forms of vitamin E that exist in nature alongside alpha tocopherol. Alpha tocopherol can be in either D or L form; only D-alpha tocopherol works in the human body. Although the L form has antioxidant properties it is thought to inhibit the D form from entering the cell membranes, where it is required in order to function within the body.
When synthetic vitamin E is created it is a mixture of D and L forms, known as DL-alpha tocopherol, which cannot be separated. This form of vitamin E although much less expensive is not as biologically active as D-alpha tocopherol, and does not stay in the body as long meaning that it is a much less effective protector against free radicals. When unnatural vitamin E is produced it is synthetically produced from tar or industrially stripped from corn oil.
Medik8 ensures that it only uses natural, stabilised vitamin E, known as d-Alpha Tocopherol (or Natural Vitamin E).
The function of vitamin E is as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the cell structure by neutralising free radicals, which are searching for a free electron. If these free radicals are left un-neutralised they contribute to the skin aging process. The application of a topical vitamin E product has shown to have a variety of benefits for the skin. Studies have shown vitamin E can decrease the effects of psoriasis, erythema and may help in reducing the risk of skin cancer. Vitamin E also has scar-reducing effects as well as reducing the appearance of stretch marks on the skin. Since vitamin E is lipid-soluble, it can have an direct antioxidant effect on cell walls.
Interaction with vitamin C
Vitamin E can also be used to help vitamin C to remain stable, as vitamin E behaves as an antioxidant to regenerate vitamin C; and vitamin C to regenerate vitamin E in return.They are called network antioxidants. Vitamin E does not offer much protection of vitamin C from being oxidised in a water solution which is a problem for cream and gel formulae but since Medik8 vitamin C serums are all lipid-based, vitamin E exists in the same phase. Accordingly, C-Tetra & CE-Tetra with vitamin E benefits from antioxidant protection both in the packaging and on the skin.