Tocopheryl acetate is an antioxidant compound that is used in cosmetics for its conditioning properties on the skin. It is an ester of tocopherol, which is vitamin E’s natural form.
Plants and animals are incredible yet fragile organisms that continuously struggle with the prospect of death, with or without knowing it. For instance, our body fights every second against the damaging effect of free radicals. In short, free radicals are unstable atoms that we produce naturally and which can cause oxidative stress that damages our cells. They can be stimulated by external factors such as exposure to pesticides, pollution, tobacco smoke and alcohol, among others. The good news is that they can be stabilised by antioxidants, compounds that we also produce, but whose action is not always strong enough and decreases with age.
Fortunately, plants also contain antioxidants and we absorb and assimilate a lot of them through our diet. In order to have even more powerful intakes, scientists have identified and isolated antioxidants from plants, and are studying their effects against diseases such as cancer, and everything related to ageing.
Tocopherol is one of these antioxidants and can be found in abundance in soybeans, olives or sunflower seeds. Its synthetic version, tocopheryl acetate, is often preferred in cosmetics as it is more stable, however, it may be a little less potent. Both are still studied for the many effects they could have when applied topically, and are already widely used in cosmetics as skin-conditioning agents. Their action against free radicals may also help keep the skin supple and radiant for longer.