What is Tocopherol Acetate?

Tocopherol acetate is a chemical compound of vitamin E and acetic acid.  CAUTION!  Not all vitamin E is the same.  Do you know the difference?


Tocopherol acetate is a chemical compound of vitamin e and acetic acid.  It’s other name is Vitamin E Acetate.  I will use these names interchangeably on this page. 

Tocopherol, (vitamin e), is present in many natural sources:   milk, wheat germ oil, plant leaves, vegetable oils, (safflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed and sunflower), yellow vegetables, unprocessed cereals, grains and nuts.  Tocopherol is twice as potent from natural sources than made synthetically. 

Vitamin E can be a dietary supplement in natural or synthetic form.  Vitamin E protects cells from free radical damage, increases muscular development, helps prevent anemia and protects the body from losing vitamin a and c.  “Synthetic” dietary supplements flush excess out of the body but burden the kidneys.  The body is unable to utilize most of its nutrients. 

There are always cautions to heed when taking dietary supplements.  Make to read ingredient labels closely.  Know the proper dosage.  Certain dietary supplements can interact and interfere with prescribed medications.  If in doubt, contact your health care provider before taking any supplements.


SKIN and HAIR

Vitamin E is used in beauty products for skin and hair:  creams, lotions, soaps, cosmetics, sunscreens, shampoos and conditioners.  It attacks free radicals and protects collagen levels.  Visible signs of skin aging are reduced.  Fine lines and wrinkles are eliminated with firmer skin.  Caution!  When tocopheryl acetate is used in cosmetic or skin care products adverse affects may occur:  itching, rashes, hives or contact dermatitis.  The FDA rates it as “GRAS”, (generally recognized as safe).

In home crafts tocopherol acetate will not fight mold, bacteria or yeasts.  It will extend the shelf life of an unstable oil.  So consider this when making homemade soaps, lotions, creams, shampoos, etc...





NOT ALL VITAMIN E IS THE SAME - D vs. DL

There are different types of tocopherol acetate.  You'll notice a distinction between them with the prefix letters, d or dl.  The prefix letter d indicates the vitamin e came from a natural source.  The dl prefix indicates a synthetic version.  The various names on the labels could read, “d-alpha tocopherol or “dl-alpha tocopherol”. The natural version is reddish-gold in color.  The synthetic version is clear in color. 

D-alpha tocopherol acetate is made from natural sources.  It’s the most biodegradable form, preferred by the body.  It’s better absorbed and retained for a longer time in the body.  It has antioxidants!  It attacks free radicals.  It protects the skin, somewhat, from damaging UV rays. 

Dl-alpha tocopherol acetate is made synthetically in laboratories around the world.  It does not contain the same nutrients as in the vitamin E from natural sources, (D prefix version).  Manufacturers use it because it’s cheap to make.

The dl version in body care products can disrupt the endocrine system, cause toxic effects and enhance skin cancer, caused by UV-B radiation. 

Vitamin E Acetate can be contaminated in the manufacturing process by a skin bleaching chemical, hydroquinone.  Hydroquinone is banned in Europe, Japan and other countries, due to toxic concerns. 

The FDA once had approval of hydroquinone but since August 29, 2006 has revoked its approval by stating "hydroquinone cannot be ruled out as a potential carcinogen".  The FDA currently classifies it as safe, "as currently used".  It can be effective for skin lightening when used properly.  It can also cause skin sensitivity.  Currently in the USA over the counter topical products, with up to 2% hydroquinone, may be sold without a prescription.  Prescription skin lightening products may contain up to 4%. 
 
Don’t just fall for the “contains vitamin E” gimmick!  Stay close to nature. Check your ingredient labels, closely, for that d or dl prefix.


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