There is a reason why aloe vera has been used as a miracle skincare ingredient for centuries – it soothes sunburns, heals wounds, and leaves the skin hydrated.
The sticky, translucent sap of this wonder plant can help you get rid of almost all your skin problems. It is, literally, the secret to getting flawless, spotless skin.
Yes, aloe goes beyond beautifying your garden. This antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids rich plant enhances the beauty and health of your skin, face, hair, and more.
Read on to know the benefits of aloe vera for skin and how you can use it to obtain a smooth, glowing skin.
What Exactly Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a thick cactus-like plant that grows abundantly in tropical climates. But you can grow it in your home too. There are more than 400 species of aloe, all with different medicinal values.
The most commonly used species for skin conditions is aloe barbadensis, Miller. This one has a firmer outer leaf and a gooey gel within the inner leaf. Surprisingly, this gel consists of 90% water and only 10% active ingredients, but it is the latter that makes all the difference.
There are over 70 active ingredients in aloe and that’s what makes the plant such a powerful medicinal herb. Egyptian queens, Nefertiti and Cleopatra, couldn’t go a day without a bath in aloe vera because they believed it enhanced and prolonged their beauty.
Alexander The Great used the herb on wounded soldiers too to heal their wounds. In ancient medicine, aloe was used to soothe a patient’s skin if burned by a primitive x-ray machine.
Today, aloe vera is found in almost all skincare products. Most manufacturers list it as the first ingredient.
The Benefits Of Using Aloe Vera On Your Skin
If you have sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions, it would be wise to talk to your dermatologist before applying anything on your skin, especially your face. Only then you will be able to reap the following benefits of aloe vera for skin.
1. Soothing Sunburn
Aloe vera has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it the perfect remedy for treating sunburn. It contains carboxypeptidase and polysaccharides, compounds known for pain-relieving, skin repair, and development of new skin cells. Applying aloe vera to the skin also provides a protective layer that helps retain moisture.
But even though this plant is an effective remedy for sunburned skin, researches show that it is not so great when it comes to preventing sunburn. You will still need to wear sun-protective clothing when heading out in the sun.
2. Moisturizing Your Skin
If your skin feels all dry and flaky, try aloe vera. It has naturally hydrating properties and will absorb into your skin like magic. And don’t worry if you have an oily or acne-prone skin either– aloe vera has proven time and again to be an excellent moisturizer even for these types of skins.
Thanks to its light texture and larger composition of water, aloe will leave your skin hydrated without the irksome post-application greasy feeling. Most sunscreens, tanning oils, and body lotions incorporate aloe as a secret ingredient to help moisturize the skin.
Its sticky nature also makes the outer layer of the skin gum together, which ultimately soothes and softens your skin. Aloe vera gel makes for an amazing aftershave treatment too, as it hydrates the skin and helps heal razor burns.
The moisturizing effect of aloe vera can also help alleviate itching of dry skin associated with eczema. It reduces seborrheic dermatitis too, the oily form of eczema.
3. Making Stretch Marks Less Visible
Skin is elastic; it expands and contracts to accommodate growth. But when it does so too fast and too far, maybe due to rapid change in weight, its elasticity can be damaged, leaving behind stretch marks.
Stretch marks are caused by minor tears in the skin layers, which appear when the skin stretches suddenly and excessively. Applying aloe vera gel can help heal these wounds, making the stretch marks less visible.
While aloe helps fade stretch marks, it does not completely remove these blemishes. The most effective way to fight stretch marks is by working out and eating the right diet to avoid rapid changes in weight.
4. Fighting Acne And Old Zits
Say you have been battling acne or have this scar that resulted from drying out blemishes with spot treatments. You can squeeze fresh aloe vera onto the acne-prone or dry area to treat your condition.
Aloe contains salicylic acid, an exfoliant that helps unclog pores on your skin. It also reduces the swelling and inflammation of the oil glands that give rise to acne. But, as with all products used to remove dead cells from the skin, excess use of aloe as an exfoliator can make your skin overly dry or overly oily depending on the type of your skin.
To treat a dried zit, apply aloe and hold the back of a spoon on the area for about five minutes. This will moisten the dry cells and make them flatter so the zit will be less visible. Allow it to dry and then apply your concealer.
5. Keeping The Skin Younger
As we grow older, we begin to worry about the loss of our skin elasticity. We become keener on every change that happens on our skin including the appearance of the fine lines that welcome the old age.
We buy expensive anti-aging soaps. Eat anti-aging foods. We even apply an extra layer of sunscreen when we go out just to slow down the aging of our skins.
But the truth is, what your skin is lacking is right in your garden. The miracle-working herb, aloe, is rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These penetrate your skin, bringing back its natural firmness and hydration.
As a result, you look more radiant and the wrinkles become less noticeable. That’s not all. Aloe vera also repairs damaged skin cells, hence preventing premature aging.
6. Getting Rid Of Dark Circles And Puffiness
‘Old is gold’, they say but there is nothing golden about dark eye circles. They are annoying, unappealing, and always get us spending a considerable amount of time trying to hide them, well for some of us.
Good news? Aloe can help you fix this problem. The vitamins and antioxidants in this plant help lighten discoloration around your peepers and the cooling effect of the gel helps alleviate puffiness. So using aloe vera for skin under your eyes will technically get you killing one two birds in one stone.
7. Soothing The Scalp And Hastening Hair Growth
Aloe vera is great for your scalp too. It increases the circulation of blood to the scalp, which aids in soothing it and repairing the dead cells.
The plant also provides essential vitamins and minerals that stimulate hair growth. And since it helps heal fungal infections, dry skin, and excessively oily skin, it keeps dandruff at bay. Regularly applying aloe vera on your scalp keeps it moisturized, remedies flakiness and boosts hair growth.
8. Treating Cold Sores And Frostbites
Aloe vera contains more than ten active agents known to help kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including sulfur, phenols, and salicylic acid. Using aloe vera for the skin on or around a cold sore helps create antibodies that the immune system uses to inhibit the cold sore virus and hasten the healing process.
The herb has also shown promising results in the treatment of frostbites. But some cases of frostbites require emergency medical treatment, so it is recommended that you check with your doctor before trying any home remedy.
Also, it would be wise to put on something warm whenever heading out in the cold, as exposure to cold weather it the most common cause of frostbites. A warm pair of winter boots, socks, and good winter gloves would be a great place to start.
How To Use Aloe Vera On Your Skin
The easiest way to use aloe vera for skin is to apply it directly. But you can also make a pack using the gel along with other ingredients from your kitchen. Here are 4 packs of aloe vera that will impact your skin incredibly.
Mask For Dry Skin
Put a pinch of turmeric, one teaspoon of milk, and one teaspoon of honey in a small bowl. Add 10 drops of aloe vera gel and 5 drops of rose water. Stir this mix until you get a smooth paste. Apply on your skin and leave in for around 15 minutes. Then rinse with lukewarm water.
Aloe Vera Scrub
Mix one cup of sugar and half a cup of aloe vera gel with three tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl. The sugar granules will help scrub off dead cells and exfoliate the skin and the gel and lemon will cleanse the skin and help fade out scars. You can use the scrub on both face and body.
Pack For Oily And Acne-Prone Skin
Blend some walnuts, a teaspoon of honey and three teaspoons of fresh aloe vera gel. Apply it on the acne-prone area and leave in for about 10 minutes, then rinse off. The anti-oxidants from walnuts and honey coupled with the healing properties of aloe vera will leave your skin smooth and clearer.
Pack For Sensitive Skin
Stir cucumber juice, rose oil, yogurt, and aloe vera gel into a smooth paste. Apply it on your skin and leave for about 15 minutes, then rinse off. This mild mixture will cleanse your skin without causing any irritation.
How To Harvest Aloe Vera Plant
Harvesting an aloe vera plant for the gel is very simple. All you need is a mature plant and a sharp pocketknife. Grown plants usually have a higher concentration of active agents.
It is also recommended that you wait a little while, say a few weeks or months, before harvesting leaves from the same aloe plant. If you plan on harvesting aloe often, it would be wise to have a couple of plants on rotation so you can allow them ample time to thrive before the next harvest.
To harvest an aloe plant for gel:
- Choose the outer leaves of the plant and remove 4-5 at a time. Make sure they are thick enough, healthy, and free of mold or damage.
- Cut the leaves as close to the base as possible. This is where most of the useful nutrients are found. Just ensure you are not going too close to the roots.
- Wash the leaves in cold water and dry them with a clean piece of cloth. Then trim all the spiky edges with a knife.
- Using your fingers or a knife, separate the gel from the leaf and squeeze it in a container.
Cautions And Side Effects Of Aloe Vera
It’s true, the benefits of aloe vera for skin cannot be underestimated, but it’s also true that like anything of medicinal value, aloe can have adverse skin reactions if not used correctly. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate aloe products, so it is up to you, as the consumer, to use these products safely and report any hostile skin reactions to a dermatologist.
Using aloe vera will also not be such a great idea if you have a serious burn or wound. Some studies have shown that aloe could decrease your skin’s ability to heal naturally from deep wounds.
Some people may experience itching or a burning sensation as the gel penetrates their skin. But if you develop a rash after application, chances are you are sensitive to aloe vera and should discontinue using immediately.
Aloe vera gel is also not recommended for use on the infected skin. Sure, aloe has remarkable microbial properties, but its protective layer has been observed to upset the healing process and in some cases, made an infection worse.
Don’t take aloe gel orally either, whether in capsule form or directly because you will not reap any benefits of aloe vera for skin through this method. You could end up with uncomfy gastrointestinal symptoms instead.
Q: Is Aloe Vera Good For Dry Skin?
Yes, and no. Sure, aloe vera is a great moisturizer and will leave any dry skin feeling youthful, fresh, and hydrant. Moisturizing is one of the most notable benefits of aloe vera for skin, but we also mentioned that this plant has enzymes that exfoliate your skin as well.
While removing dead cells from the skin makes it softer, when you over-exfoliate dry skin, it begins to become too dry. For dry skin, therefore, experts recommend pairing aloe with a pure moisturizer to prevent flaking and cracking.
Q: Which Aloe Vera Plant Is Good For Skin?
There are numerous species of aloe vera, all with different characteristics, features, and healing properties. Barbados aloe (aloe barbadensis Miller) is the most beneficial of all the aloe vera varieties when it comes to skincare.
It is characterized by numerous white dots that disappear as the plant matures. The leaves of Barbados aloe are grey-green or truer green, with small white spikes on the edges. They thicken and become more solid as the plant grows.
The plant blooms in summer and spring, and its petals are yellow without any dots or stripes. This is also the time of the year that this aloe species grows the fastest; it can spike up to 40 inches tall.
Q: How Aloe Vera Works On Skin?
Aloe vera gel contains 90% water and 70 potentially active agents. Each of these components has myriad benefits to the skin. The water will keep it moisturized and the rest of the ingredients will exfoliate, prevent scaling, fight acne, fade scars and even speed up wound healing.
Q: Is Aloe Vera Suitable For All Skin Types?
Yes, you can use aloe vera for skins of all types and sensitivity levels. If you have normal skin, you can use aloe without worrying about any side effects. Using it regularly will keep your skin looking supple and smooth and in good health.
People with oily skin are usually prone to acne and applying aloe gel can help alleviate this problem. Similarly, those with dry skin can use this wonder gel to keep their skin moisturized and prevent cracking. Aloe vera can also be used on sensitive skin. It is very mild and will remove dirt and impurities without causing any irritation.
Globo Surf Overview
Aloe vera is a magical plant and it’s evident that it has plenty of benefits for the skin. When used properly, it can exfoliate, cleanse, treat and provide impressive nutrition to the skin. You can apply aloe vera directly or mix it with other ingredients to make a pack for your skin type or condition. Either way, you will end up with glowing, radiant skin.
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