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

A dermatologist breaks down why this ingredient is so buzzy.

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

"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, New Jersey. "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."

But while vitamin F is a multipurpose 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'll help you figure it all out by defining vitamin F, share how it can improve your skin, and the best ways to use vitamin F 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, soybean, flaxseed), nuts, and seeds (chia, sunflower), almonds, and egg yolk."

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What Does Vitamin F Do for Your Skin?

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.

Find our five of our favorite skincare products with vitamin F to incorporate into your skincare routine.

The Best Vitamin F Skincare Products:

Murad Multi-Vitamin Infusion Oil

Vitamin F Skincare Products
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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.

Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

What Does Vitamin F Do for Your Skin?
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This rich, fatty acid-infused cream moisturizes and repairs worn, damaged skin and improves elasticity. Consider it your ideal post-winter skin nighttime moisturizer.

True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil

Vitamin F Skincare Products
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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.

Perricone MD Essential Fx Acyl-Glutathione Rejuvenating Moisturizer

Vitamin F Skincare Products
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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.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

Vitamin F Skincare Products
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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.

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