Vitamin E is an essential, fat-soluble nutrient that is well known in the health and beauty industry. It’s best known for its antioxidant properties to help protect the body’s cells and reduce damage caused by imbalanced molecules called free radicals. Vitamin E has been used in dermatology since the 1950s to help protect the skin from signs of aging, sun damage, and inflammation.
As the years go on, this vitamin gains popularity for its benefits on the hair. Let’s look at what vitamin E can do for the hair and how you can use it most efficiently in your haircare routine.
How does vitamin E benefit the hair?
Vitamin E is a highly versatile ingredient; it can be applied directly to the scalp, massaged into the hair’s length, or ingested as an oral supplement. It belongs to a cluster of 8 fat-soluble vitamins known as tocotrienols and tocopherols.
One of the most impressive characteristics of vitamin E is its antioxidant properties. It can neutralize harmful free radicals and help prevent (and even reverse) hair follicle cell damage.
Vitamin E improves scalp health
Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin, including the scalp. Poor scalp health means unhealthy, dry, dull, and damaged hair. Vitamin E can support hair by rejuvenating and conditioning the scalp while also providing potent antioxidants to create a healthy scalp environment. Its nourishing properties can restore proper function and helps hair grow properly. Vitamin E reduces itchiness and dandruff.
Dandruff and scalp itchiness can be embarrassing and frustrating. Luckily, vitamin E can play a vital role in treating and preventing scalp irritation and associated conditions like dandruff. When the scalp is dry, sebaceous (oil) glands get prompted to work harder to increase oil production. This oil can clog the pores and lead to dandruff, itchiness, and even acne breakouts! Vitamin E helps regulate oil production and provides intense hydration to the scalp.
Vitamin E reduces hair loss
Another welcomed benefit of vitamin E for hair is the prevention of hair fall of existing hair follicles. Antioxidants found in vitamin E can reduce oxidative stress and minimize the impact of free radicals that cause hair follicle cells to break down and become damaged. Essentially, vitamin E can hinder scalp tissue erosion due to free radical damage, preventing hair loss and even halting premature graying of the hair! A study of 21 volunteers who received tocotrienol supplementation (100 mg of mixed tocotrienols daily) exhibited a significant increase in hair number compared to a placebo group.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that help to reduce oxidative stress in the scalp. Oxidative stress has been linked with hair loss. Vitamin E strengthens the hair and encourages hair growth.
Vitamin E has been shown to strengthen the hair follicles and hair shafts to prevent breakage and split ends. It may also increase blood flow, which is said to improve overall hair health and growth. Studies have shown that increased blood supply to the scalp encourages hair growth and increases hair follicles.
Vitamin E adds shine and luster
One of the most immediate benefits of vitamin E is the boost of shine and radiance it brings to your hair. Heat styling, chemical treatments, and UV radiation can damage the hair cuticles’ outer protective layer, causing frizz, split ends, and unmanageable hair. This brilliant vitamin’s moisturizing properties can help you overcome brittle, dry hair by providing much-needed restorative nutrients to preserve the hair strands and follicles' protective layer.
How should I use vitamin E for healthy hair?
Vitamin E can safely be used topically and is also available for dietary consumption through supplements and foods.
- Vitamin E oil as a shampoo booster: Numerous shampoos and conditioners on the market contain vitamin E. Oftentimes, they are formulated for daily use and aimed at those with dry, damaged locks. If your existing shampoo does not contain vitamin E oil, add a few drops when you are shampooing. It’s best to massage the shampoo into the scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing so that the oil can penetrate the hair follicles effectively.
- Vitamin E as a healing hair and scalp treatment: Vitamin E is the perfect ingredient to add to your favorite DIY mask or make it super simple by creating a two-ingredient treatment. Mix 5 - 7 drops of pure vitamin E oil into a warm (not hot) therapeutic carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil and massage directly to the scalp post-shower. For the best results, section the hair before application to ensure you get full head coverage. Once you have coated the entire scalp, use a wide-toothed comb to distribute throughout the strands, slowly massaging it down the length of your hair. Cover the hair with a shower cap and wrap it with a warm towel. Allow the treatment to sit on your scalp for at least 30 minutes before washing out with a moisturizing shampoo.
- Consume vitamin E-rich foods: Ensuring that you are consuming a rich diet in vitamin E is a great way to increase your intake of the essential vitamin. Some foods naturally high in vitamin E include nuts and seeds (particularly almonds, sunflower seeds, pinenuts), broccoli, bell peppers, leafy green vegetables, avocado, pumpkin, and butternut squash.
- Consider a vitamin E supplement: If you feel you aren’t getting enough vitamin E in your daily diet, you can take a dietary supplement. Synthetic Vitamin E found in supplements is commonly available in capsules, tablets, or soft gels. According to doctors and dermatologists, it is best to take vitamin E with food to enhance absorption in the body and avoid unwanted bowel irritations.