Vitamin E acetate an antioxidant?

I read on a website ( ) that vitamin e acetate has this benefit over vitamin E:

“The ability of Tocopherol to stop the formation of peroxides is diminished by exposure to air. If you are looking for a product which stops the formation of peroxides longer, then Tocopheryl acetate (Synthetic Vitamin E) will give a longer protection, however doesn't have the 100% natural credentials that Tocopherol does.”

Is this true? I thought that the only benefit in a skincare formulation that tocopherol acetate brought was skin-conditioning. I thought it was not an antioxidant at all and that therefore it would not prevent peroxide formation in skincare formulations containing alcohols that can form peroxides. 


  • just found this on the same link above: “ Tocopheryl acetate is prefered over Tocopherol in skincare products because the phenolic hydroxyl group is blocked, providing a less acidic product that has far greater antioxidant effects, skin protection and regenerating ability and protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays.”
  • My understanding is tocopheryl acetate has no antioxidant activity unless you manage to hydrolyse the acetate, which can reportedly happen in vivo but I have no evidence of that happening in bottle to extend product shelf -life.

  • @EVchem is correct, both the anti-oxidant and free-radical scavenging ability of tocopherols is due to the phenolic group. Anything that "traps" the phenolic group (like the acetate ester, or methylation) make the oxidation of the hydroquinone group really hard, if not impossible, in biological conditions. And it completely blocks the reactivity toward radicals.

    As per the link provided by the OP, I feel that they seem confused whether even they are selling one or the other. First they talk about tocopherols, then tocopherol "active form" then tocopheryl acetate. The only reason tocopheryl acetate is preferred it's the stability against oxidation. The more stable something is, the most likely it is not to do anything in/on the skin. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited April 2020
    @lmosca - wait someone wrote something on the Internet that wasn't true?  lol

    There really is a lot of formulation misinformation being published. I guess it's true of probably any topic though.
  • @Perry, You would expect that more when attached to it there is a monetary / marketing value. 
    Academic publishing (where there shouldn't be any monetary value attached to research, at least in principle) is not less afflicted by that. Even peer review is not able to sift through the "inflation", "non-reproducible results", or "plain lies"! I guess the monetary value in academia is each own h-index, grant funding rate, and personal publicity. It seems that everyone knows that even a minimal screw up can cost your career, and the reputation of your students/collaborators, yet people keep doing it.

    I just amused myself and looked up a product I saw advertised on FB; a touted miracoulous vitamin C serum. 15% ascorbic acid in water based phase, with a pinch of hyaluronic acid and ferulic acid (1%). $150+ per 30 g (in a bottle with dropper). There is no limit to anything anymore... 

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @lmosca - in general, I find academic papers about cosmetic ingredients to generally be naive. For example, this paper suggesting Zanthoxylum rhetsa bark extract can be used as a sunscreen. 

    Sure, it can provide an SPF value of 3.6 or 6.9. 

    Who cares?  Modern cosmetic products minimally should give SPF 15 but better is SPF 30 or 50. 

    Or the Darbe paper which concluded that parabens from deodorants were somehow connected with breast cancer. Parabens aren't generally used in deodorants!  There is a researcher who screwed up but just keeps plugging along.

    And pointing out mistakes and exaggerations is a losing battle. There's no money in it. It takes a lot of time. And there are marketing departments who specifically benefit from the misinformation. Consumer beware.

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