What is it?
Tocopheryl acetate 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. In the diet of many Americans, the most significant sources of vitamin E is their breakfast cereal and tomato sauce.
What does it do?
Tocopheryl acetate is used as an alternative to free tocopherol because it is more stable in formulation. The tocopheryl acetate in our products serves as an antioxidant for the product and for its skin conditioning properties.
How is it made?
Tocopherol and tocopheryl acetate can be made naturally from vegetable oils or synthetically from petroleum products. The two have distinct names for supplement 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 either soybean or rapeseed oil. The tocopheryl acetate is produced when this naturally derived d-alpha tocopherol is combined with acetic acid in a process known as esterification.
What are the alternatives?
There are many antioxidants on the market. In addition to natural and synthetic tocopherols, ascorbic acid is another commonly used natural antioxidant. Oxidative reactions are often catalyzed by metals; therefore chelating agents (such as citric acid and phytic acid) may also be helpful antioxidants. There are many synthetic antioxidants that Tom’s of Maine would not consider using since they do not meet our requirements of being sourced in nature and minimally processed. These synthetics include propyl gallate, tertiary butylhydroquinone, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene or the chelating agent EDTA.
Is this the right option for me?
Our tocopheryl acetate is food-grade and has been 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 182.8892 and 21 CFR 182.5892