Tocopheryl acetate, also known as vitamin E acetate, is a common vitamin supplement with the molecular formula C31H52O3 (for 'α' form). It is the ester of acetic acid and tocopherol (vitamin E). It is often used in dermatological products such as skin creams. Tocopheryl acetate is not oxidized and can penetrate through the skin to the living cells, where about 5% is converted to free tocopherol and provides beneficial antioxidant effects.
Tocopheryl acetate is used as an alternative to tocopherol itself because the phenolic hydroxyl group is blocked, providing a less acidic product with a longer shelf life. It is believed that the acetate is slowly hydrolyzed once it is absorbed into the skin, regenerating tocopherol and providing protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays.
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