What is it?

Tocopherol is a fat-soluble vitamin from a class of organic compounds, many of which are known to have vitamin E activity.  Vitamin E is an antioxidant - naturally occurring chemicals that help prevent cell damage by fighting off highly reactive free radicals.  Antioxidants can be found a variety of places in nature: fruits, vegetables, marine plants, even some seafood. Vitamin E exists in 8 different forms – 4 slightly different tocopherol forms referred to as – alpha, beta, gamma, and delta – based on slight differences in chemical structure. In the diet of many Americans, the most significant sources of vitamin E is their breakfast cereal and tomato sauce.

What does it do?

We use tocopherol as an antioxidant in our lip balms.

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Tocopherol can be made naturally from vegetable oils or synthetically from petroleum products. The two have distinct names for labeling; d-alpha tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate distinguishes a naturally derived supplement while dl-alpha tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate distinguishes a synthetic supplement. As a cosmetic ingredient the name tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate is simply applied so the source can not be determined from the label. The tocopherol we use is naturally derived from sunflower oil.

What are the alternatives?

Tocopherol is one of many antioxidants on the market, including ascorbic acid - another natural antioxidant used by Tom’s of Maine.   Additionally, there are many synthetic antioxidants including propyl gallate, tertiary butylhydroquinone, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene or the chelating agent EDTA. Tom’s of Maine would not consider using these synthetics as they do not meet the standards set by our Stewardship Model.

Is this the right option for me?

Our tocopherol is food-grade and is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).1

Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.

1 21 CFR 182.8890