What Is Vitamin F Anyway, and What Does It Do for Your Skin?

With a new acid, antioxidant, or peptide being called the next "It" ingredient every other week, hands up if you think Sephora should start supplying skincare ingredient dictionaries to use when you shop.

Let's face it: trying to sort through what works for you can be confusing, not to mention overwhelming, when trying to figure out what products are best for your skin type and its concerns. Or when to use it in your routine.

Luckily, we've got your back when it comes to explaining vitamin F — which has gained a lot of buzz lately. Along with it appearing in the formulas of your favorite skincare brands' moisturizers, serums, and face oils, the ingredient keeps popping up on skincare Instagram feeds, and for good reason. 

"Vitamin F has a ton of great skin and health benefits," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling, founder of Sperling Dermatology in Florham Park, N.J. "It helps maintain skin barrier, thus effective for skin conditions like atopic dermatitis [the most common type of eczema] and psoriasis. It aids in moisturizing skin, helps with acne, and keeps in moisture." 

But while vitamin F is a multi-purpose ingredient, that's not what makes it so confusing. The truth is vitamin F isn't actually a vitamin, but rather a combination of two essential fatty acids. (More on that later.)

With the help of Dr. Sperling, we're helping you figure it all out by defining vitamin F, sharing how it can improve your skin, and the best ways to use these products in your skincare routine. 


What Is Vitamin F? 

As previously mentioned, vitamin F is actually a combination of two fatty acids: linoleic acid which is an Omega-6 EFA, and alpha-linolenic acid, which is an Omega-3 EFA. 

These acids are converted to other fats that are essential to your body's health by reducing inflammation, controlling sugar, and helping to maintain overall mental health. 

"You can’t make vitamin F on your own, but your body needs vitamin F so it’s termed essential," Dr. Sperling explains. "It’s found in foods like plant oils (olive, corn, soybeen, flaxseed), nuts, and seeds (chia, sunflower), almonds, and egg yolk." 

What Does Vitamin F Do for Your Skin? 

When used topically, vitamin F has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits, making it a gentle, but effective ingredient for skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. Another reason the ingredient is surging in popularity: Vitamin F works well with other topical active ingredients, and is safe for all skin types. 

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Given that vitamin F soothes skin and strengthens the moisture barrier to lock hydration in, the ingredient is most commonly found in moisturizers and face oils. Find our five favorite skincare products with vitamin F to incorporate into your skincare routine. 

Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil 

Vitamin F Skincare Products

If you're forever chasing that elusive allover glow, go for this multi-vitamin face oil. Along with six key vitamins that treat signs of aging, dryness, and dullness, the formula also includes vitamin F to maintain hydration. Together, these ingredients leave the skin soft, supple, and of course, radiant. 

To buy: $73; Sephora.com. 

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

What Does Vitamin F Do for Your Skin?

This rich, fatty cream moisturizes and repairs worn, damaged skin and improves elasticity. Consider it your ideal post-winter skin nighttime moisturizer. 

To buy: $58; Sephora.com. 

True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil

Vitamin F Skincare Products

A blend of two Omega-3, exfoliating, and naturally scented oils, this moisturizer retains skin's moisture levels and improves the look of fine lines and wrinkles. 

To buy: $110; Truebotanicals.com. 

Perricone MD Essential Fx Acyl-Glutathione Rejuvenating Moisturizer

Vitamin F Skincare Products

Perricone tapped into the power of vitamin F by building a whole collection of products around the ingredient. The moisturizer smooths, firms, and lifts skin, plus shields it from environmental aggressors. 

To buy: $98; Sephora.com. 

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

Vitamin F Skincare Products

Yup, the name of this oil looks like it came straight from your high school chem class, but don't let it intimidate you. Along with nourishing vitamin F, it includes a potent percentage of vitamin C for brightening and antioxidant protection. 

To buy: $18; Sephora.com. 

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