What Is It?
Tocopherol, or vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin is a naturally occuring antioxidant which can be isolated from vegetable oil. When isolated Tocopherol, is a viscous oil that varies in color from yellow to brownish red. Rather than Tocopherol itself, esters of Tocopherol are often used in cosmetic and personal care products. These esters include, Tocopheryl Acetate, the acetic acid ester of Tocopherol; Tocopheryl Linoleate, the linoleic acid ester of Tocopherol; Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, a mixture of linoleic and oleic acid esters of Tocopherol; Tocopheryl Nicotinate, the nicotinic acid ester of Tocopherol; and Tocopheryl Succinate, the succinic acid ester of Tocopherol. Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate, a salt of both vitamin E (Tocopherol) and vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) may also be used in cosmetic products.
Other Tocopherol-derived ingredients that may be found in cosmetic products include Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, which is the dioleyl ether of Tocopheryl Acetate monoether with methylsilanetriol, and Tocophersolan, which is also called Tocopheryl Polyethylene Glycol 1000 Succinate. The addition of succinic acid and an average of 22 ethylene oxide groups to Tocopheryl makes Tocophersolan a water-soluble form of Tocopherol.
In cosmetics and personal care products, Tocopherol and other ingredients made from Tocopherol, including Tocopherol esters are used in the formulation of lipstick, eye shadow, blushers, face powders and foundations, moisturizers, skin care products, bath soaps and detergents, hair conditioners, and many other products.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
Tocopherol, Tocophersolan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol and Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate all function as antioxidants. Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate and Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol also function as skin-conditioning agents – miscellaneous.
Tocopherol, a fat-soluble vitamin, is found in vegetable fats and oils, dairy products, meat, eggs, cereals, nuts, and leafy green and yellow vegetables. It is usually present in these foods as mixtures of different forms: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-Tocopherol. The alpha form has the same biological activity as vitamin E.Tocopherols can be produced from vegetable oils or can be synthesized. Tocopherol Acetate, made by the esterification of Tocopherol with acetic acid, is frequently the source of vitamin E in dietary supplements.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Tocopherol on its list of nutrients considered Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). Tocopherol is also on FDA’s list of GRAS food preservatives. The safety of Tocopherol and related ingredients (Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol, Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate, Tocophersolan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Tocopheryl Succinate) has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Tocopherol and the related ingredients were safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.
More safety Information:
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel found the data included in this review adequate to determine that Tocopherol, Tocophersolan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol and Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate were safe as used.
Tocopherol was not an irritant or sensitizer. Lack of dermal effects observed in clinical practice by members of the CIR Expert Panel from these widely used ingredients also supported the safety of these ingredients. In addition, reproductive toxicity and carcingenicity studies were negative. Anti-mutagenic activity attributed to these compounds was consistent with their antioxidant properties.
FDA: Link to Code of Federal Regulations for Tocopherol
Tocopherol, Tocophersolan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Tocopheryl Linoleate/Oleate, Tocopheryl Nicotinate, Tocopheryl Succinate, Dioleyl Tocopheryl Methylsilanol and Potassium Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Phosphate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
More Scientific Information:
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E (based on the alpha-tocopherol form) is 15 mg or 22.5 International Units (IU) (1 mg alpha-tocopherol is equal to 1.49 IU). Important sources of vitamin E include, oils, nuts, some vegetables and such as spinach and broccoli, and some fruits such as kiwi and mango.
In cosmetics and personal care products, Tocopherol and tocopherol-derived ingredients function primarily as antioxidants.
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration Food Ingredients and Packaging