What is the Difference Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E

The main difference between vitamin C and vitamin E is that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin whereas vitamin E is soluble in fat.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are organic molecules that are essential micronutrients. Usually, organisms need them in small quantities for their proper functioning of metabolism. Vitamins are not synthesized inside the organism. Both vitamins are important in skin protection from sun damage.

Key Areas Covered

  1. What is Vitamin C
    • Definition, Biochemistry, Properties
  2. What is Vitamin E
    • Definition, Biochemistry, Properties
  3. Similarities Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E
    • Outline of Common Features
  4. Difference Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E
    • Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Metabolism, Sun Damage, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

Difference Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E - Comparison Summary

What is Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus fruits and vegetables. It is also involved in tissue repair that prevents scurvy. Most animals synthesize their own vitamin C, but humans do not. Hence, it is a dietary supplement too. On the other hand, α-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases are the enzymes that use vitamin C as a cofactor. For instance, prolyl hydroxylases are one of those enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of collagen. The enzyme down-regulates hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 in the regulation of genes responsible for energy metabolism, tumor growth, neutrophil function, and apoptosis.

Compare Vitamin C and Vitamin E - What's the difference?

Figure 1: Vitamin C

Furthermore, vitamin C hydrates and detoxifies the skin, which results in natural glowing skin. It also reduces skin pigmentation, resulting in even skin tone. In addition, it protects the skin from sun damage, reducing dark spots. And, ultimately, vitamin C gives youthful skin.

What is Vitamin E

Vitamin E or α-tocopherol is a fat-soluble vitamin found in egg yolk and leafy vegetables. It also includes four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Its deficiency is not that prominent as vitamin E is readily found in dietary fat. But its deficiency causes nerve problems. Moreover, vitamin E scavenges hydroperoxyl radicals in lipids. Subsequently, this protects red cell membranes and nervous tissues.

Vitamin C vs Vitamin E

Figure 2: Vitamin E

Moreover, according to its antioxidant properties, vitamin E also has antioxidant properties. It fights against signs of aging. Furthermore, it reduces UV damage and boosts hair health.

Similarities Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E

  • Both vitamin C and Vitamin E are essential micronutrients that the body needs.
  • Generally, organisms do not synthesize them inside the body.
  • Hence, these vitamins are dietary supplements.
  • They help in the proper functioning of an organism’s metabolism.
  • Furthermore, both are antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Therefore, they are potent for protecting against premature skin aging.
  • Together, vitamin C and vitamin E reignite antiaging power, and vitamin E stabilizes vitamin C.
  • Both are important for skin protection.

Difference Between Vitamin C and Vitamin E


Vitamin C refers to a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in maintaining healthy connective tissue and is also thought to act as an antioxidant. On the other hand, vitamin E refers to many of the several closely related compounds that are fat-soluble alcohols with antioxidant properties.

Found in

Naturally, vitamin C is found particularly in citrus fruits and green vegetables while vitamin E is found in wheat germ oil, egg yolk, and leafy vegetables.

Chemical Compound

Moreover, vitamin C refers to ascorbic acid while vitamin E refers to α-tocopherol.


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin whereas vitamin E is soluble in fat.

Function inside the body

More importantly, vitamin C helps in wound healing while vitamin E helps in red blood cell production.


Moreover, vitamin C helps to repair tissues, forms collagen, and enzymatically forms neurotransmitters while vitamin E helps to protect the cell membrane from reactive oxygen species. Also, severe deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, whereas Vitamin E is important in the stabilization of cell membranes.

Antioxidant Properties

In addition, vitamin C slows the rate of free radical damage to collagen, preventing dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles, while vitamin E prevents premature aging and damage to DNA.


In brief, vitamin C and vitamin E are two types of micronutrients the human body requires in small quantities. However, vitamin C is water-soluble and vitamin E is fat-soluble. Other than that, both vitamins have anti-aging properties. Therefore, the main difference between vitamin C and vitamin is their solubility.


1. Traber MG, Stevens JF. “Vitamins C and E: beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective“. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Sep 1;51(5):1000-13. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.05.017. Epub 2011 May 25. PMID: 21664268; PMCID: PMC3156342.

Image Courtesy:

1. “L-Ascorbic acid” Yikrazuul – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Alpha-Tocopherol Structural Formulae V.1” By Ju – Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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