In its broadest sense, vitamin E soap is a cleansing product made with vitamin E, either in oil or extract form. This particular vitamin is known for its moisturizing properties, so it’s often prized in soaps as a way to prevent dryness and irritation. There tend to be a lot of different variations. These soaps can be liquid or solid, and while most are intended for personal bathing they can also be designed for use in the kitchen or around the house, with the idea that the vitamin extract makes the product easier on the hands. Simply calling a soap a “vitamin E soap” isn’t always very descriptive, either. In some products vitamin oil is a primary ingredient, whereas in others it’s simply included in small amounts. Customers usually need to read product labels very carefully to understand what they’re getting.
Most standard soaps are very drying to the skin. As a result, manufacturers frequently experiment adding different moisturizers to help make their products less harsh. There are a lot of options, but vitamin E is a common all-natural moisturizing agent that also usually has the advantage of being readily available and not very expensive.
There are several types of vitamin E, though only one, alpha-tocopherol, is effectively metabolized for use by the human body and stored within fatty tissue, which is highly susceptible to oxidation damage. When applied to the skin by using vitamin E soap, cream, or oil, or taken orally in capsule form, it is absorbed into the fatty layer contributing not only to good skin health, but also providing a multitude of other important advantages.
It’s usually the case that any soap that contains so much as a few drops of vitamin E oil can call itself a specifically vitamin E soap. There are a lot of variations. Some don’t really impart any meaningful benefits, whereas others are nearly pure.
Most of the purest options are little more than a glycerin base fortified with pure vitamin oil. The purity and simplicity of this sort of soap often enhances its health and beauty benefits, lending anti-aging effects by lessening the appearance of pigmentation, spotting, and wrinkles. Some are further fortified with vitamin C to boost antioxidant qualities, while others might include aloe vera, cocoa butter, and vitamins A and D, helping to extend healing and moisturizing features.
In addition to preventing dryness, pure or mostly-pure soaps may also carry some of the benefits of the vitamin more generally. When applied topically to the skin, vitamin E is thought to serve as an antioxidant, helping to protect the skin against damage from internal toxins and environmental factors. Some studies have suggested that this vitamin may be able to decrease a person’s risk of skin cancer, as well as scarring, irritation, and inflammation generally caused by prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun.
In addition, it may also help to correct and improve certain skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and warts, and could also play a role in heart health. Some studies have shown that, in high quantities, the vitamin can inhibit blood platelet and plaque formation, which in turn can reduce incidences of coronary heart disease, a major cause of death in most parts of the world.
Most of these benefits relate to long-term exposure to the vitamin, particularly through lotions or creams that are allowed to soak into the skin or through supplements that are actually ingested. It is not clear whether simply coming into contact with the vitamin through a soap is enough to change much about the skin’s chemistry, and is certainly unlikely to impact heart health. Most people do, however, report that their skin feels noticeably softer after washing with vitamin-rich soap products.
Supermarkets, beauty stores, pharmacies, and natural health shops commonly stock a variety of vitamin E soaps, but those who are more adventurous can usually make their own versions at home. Glycerin, a common soap base, can usually be purchased at arts and crafts stores, melted, and poured into molds. Vitamin E oil, either as a loose essential oil or broken out of supplement capsules, is added next, along with any other moisturizers like aloe vera and shea butter. Essential fragrance oils can also be added to create a variety of personally customized blends.