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

A dermatologist breaks down why this ingredient is so buzzworthy.

person with clear, glowing skin close-up
Photo: Getty Images

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. Because let's face it: It can be overwhelming and confusing when trying to figure out what products are best for your skin type and its concerns — or when to use each one in your routine.

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

To find out everything there is to know about this skincare savior, we teamed up with board-certified dermatologist and founder of Sperling Dermatology Dr. Shari Sperling, an expert on the subject matter. From its skincare benefits to the best ways to incorporate it into your skincare regimen, keep reading for our comprehensive guide to vitamin F.

What Is Vitamin F?

The truth is vitamin F isn't actually a vitamin, but rather a combination of two essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. 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, soybean, flaxseed), nuts, and seeds (chia, sunflower), almonds, and egg yolk."

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What Does Vitamin F Do for Your Skin?

"Vitamin F has a ton of great skin and health benefits," says Dr. Sperling. "It helps maintain the 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."

When used topically, vitamin F has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits, making it a gentle, yet effective ingredient for skin issues such as 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. 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.

The Best Vitamin F Skincare Products

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Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil

Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil

If you're forever chasing that elusive allover glow, go with 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.

02 of 05

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

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

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True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil

True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil

A blend of two Omega-3, exfoliating, and naturally scented oils, this moisturizer keeps skin hydrated and plump, even improving the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Perricone MD Essential Fx Acyl-Glutathione Rejuvenating Moisturizer

Perricone MD Essential Fx Acyl-Glutathione Rejuvenating Moisturizer

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

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The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

Effective and affordable, The Ordinary is committed to creating quality skincare products for all. Apart from nourishing vitamin F, this oil is also formulated with a potent percentage of vitamin C to improve dull skin and offer antioxidant protection.

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