Tocopherol acetate in skincare: useful or useless?

I never use (α-)tocopherol acetate when formulating skincare as I have never understood its topical value.
1. It's useless as antioxidant for the product thus will not inhibit rancidity.
And I still doubt the value for the skin.
2. Can it even be metabolized to its free unesterized form in the skin c.q does it have any benefit when applied topically?

Under certain circumstances (regarding photoprotective effect) it seems to metabolize to its free form in hairless mice. Source
Though in a double blind study amongst 19 men and women they concluded that"In summary, we have determined that alpha-tocopherol acetate is not metabolized to the free form of alpha-tocopherol in plasma or skin. Source

These are only two, but there are so many studies regarding the subject. Not only do some seem to contradict, but some studies are performed on either only laboratory animals or only a small selection of humans. (The advantage being that the latter are mostly done double blind.)

I don't understand if the matter seems so unsure/dependant on so many factors, then why is tocopherol acetate so overabundant in creams, no matter the brand, targeted audience or indication for its use?

Is it just because CIR/SCCS/FDA state it's safe in used concentrations and vitamins sound healthy, so why not choose the cheapest form?

I'm very eager to hear your views!

Comments

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Doreen:

    It is useless
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • DoreenDoreen Member
    @MarkBroussard
    Thanks! :blush:
    *sigh of relief*
    I will totally ignore this whole ingredient then. Wasted time!
  • Oh how much money wasted.... It was one of those things I just kept buying because it's included in all chanel/dior/la mer moisturisers and never questioned.
    Thank you Doreen for raising this question.
    Thank you, Mark for your input.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It is useful for marketing and story telling. 
  • Funny enough, for many products that include tocopheryl acetate, it isn't even mentioned in the marketing story. It's in so many products!
  • crillzcrillz Member
    What are it's claims then, we use it but I've never questioned why
  • Funny enough, for many products that include tocopheryl acetate, it isn't even mentioned in the marketing story. It's in so many products!
    I think a lot use it as an antioxidant for the oils - but there are plenty of better antioxidants for preventing oil rancidity.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • DoreenDoreen Member
    edited August 13
    Oh how much money wasted.... It was one of those things I just kept buying because it's included in all chanel/dior/la mer moisturisers and never questioned.
    Thank you Doreen for raising this question.
    Thank you, Mark for your input.
    You're welcome!
    Tip: ignore chanel/dior/la mer and analyze LOIs of more interesting brands like Uncover (it's in Dutch, but select a product and then 'ingrediënten' and you'll get the LOI according to INCI) or Paula's Choice. Especially La Mer is ridiculous and still uses seventies formulas, like that wonder 1000 dollar cream with seaweed and vaseline (both of these making it so expensive of course! Oh yes, and the jar!) :D
    (that difference between the expert rating and community rating: https://www.beautypedia.com/products/creme-de-la-mer/ )

    Funny enough, for many products that include tocopheryl acetate, it isn't even mentioned in the marketing story. It's in so many products!
    Exactly! Many times it's together with tocopherol, other times alone. But actually it's never really promoted in their marketing story.
    I mean if they would hire formulators, like @Perry used to do for companies (if I remember correctly): analyze formulas and get rid of all the unnecessary items that only make the product more expensive. It's even in the cheapest products that are sold in 1$ outlets!
  • I agree, La Mer is an example of the formula from 70's. On the other hand, good old glycerin + petrolatum mix performed in 70's, performs now and I believe will perform in the nearest future. The main trick is to sell it for £250 per jar. 
  • DoreenDoreen Member
    You're totally right. I googled on a perfumery drugstore here and got a more than €1000 la mer jar when I searched for it. It appeared to be 250 ml, a smaller jar was indeed 'cheaper'.

    I don't get why people don't complain about it being everything but 'green/eco/natural', I mean the preservative alone: thiazolinones! Those are used in rinse off and usually not even in cosmetics here (let alone leave on), mostly detergents.
    The level of eucalyptus extract in it is said to be on the high side and they use niacin instead of the amide form. I think my skin couldn't even tolerate it.
    What a shrewd marketing crew must that have been. (This revolutionary product! A 5 ct jar filled to the rim with mineral oils, tested on animals and costs only a measly 180 dollars for a whopping amount of 1 ounce!)
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