Aloe vera is a versatile plant known as a miracle plant for its incredible restorative and soothing properties. It’s been around as a medicinal plant used to treat and manage various health, skin, and hair issues. In addition, the rich nutritional profile of aloe vera is widely known to nourish the body from the inside out, helping to improve various body systems, particularly digestion and immunity.
People from around the globe cultivate this nourishing plant in their homes to use its gel in DIY skin and hair recipes. So if you’re looking for a natural remedy for your skin problems, aloe vera may be just what you need. Keep on reading to know what this miraculous botanical ingredient can do to help your skin!
What is In Aloe Vera?
First things first, let’s look at what makes this plant so special. Aloe vera is a therapeutic plant that comes with a variety of skin-savvy compounds needed to maintain a healthy-looking and radiant complexion. The gel-like component of the plant is packed with high amounts of antioxidants, amino acids, salicylic acid, minerals, enzymes, polysaccharides, and vitamins (A, B, C, and E). What makes it even more unique and beneficial is its high water content, comprising about 96% of the plant. Moreover, it also contains acemannan (a form of carbohydrate), which facilitates better delivery of nutrients from the plant to your cells. Faster and improved delivery of nourishing compounds takes the benefits of the plant up a notch.
Skin Benefits of Aloe Vera
Here’s how adding aloe to your skincare regimen can enhance the way your skin looks and feels:
- Hydrates and Moisturizes - The high water concentration in aloe vera gives it an amazing hydrating and moisturizing effect. Besides locking moisture in the skin, it prevents water loss through the lipid layer by forming a glue-like film on top of the skin. Not to mention, well-hydrated and moisturized skin looks and feels softer and smoother. The topical application of aloe vera gel or skincare products containing aloe helps keep the skin amply hydrated without making it feel greasy and shiny. Aloe vera is a great moisturizing agent for oily and sensitive skin. So, if you’re looking for a lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer or serum for summer or dry winter months, don’t forget aloe vera.
- Relieves Sunburns - Thanks to the unmatched soothing feature of aloe vera, it’s considered an effective natural remedy to soothe sunburn. This is the reason it’s often referred to as the “burn plant.” Polysaccharides, vitamin A, and vitamin E in aloe vera assist in repairing the cell damage caused by the sun's harsh radiation. Carboxypeptidase in aloe vera is a pain-relieving element that provides a calming effect when you apply aloe vera gel or product to the sunburnt skin. Another compound in aloe vera that helps to soothe the skin after sunburn and prevents flaking of the skin is called aloin. If you’re experiencing mild or moderate sunburns and sunspots, using aloe vera can help to manage and treat these problems.
- Prevents Acne Breakouts - The potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits of aloe vera can prove effective in keeping acne and blemishes away. It can prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, helping to reduce acne and prevent further acne breakouts. Anti-inflammatory compounds in it relieve irritation, redness, and discomfort related to acne. Salicylic acid in aloe vera is a known acne-relieving agent that not only aids in managing acne but also acts as a natural exfoliator, helping to unclog pores.¹ Since clogged pores pave the way to blackheads and acne, aloe vera gel can prevent these pesky problems from occurring in the first place.
- Soothes Inflammation - If you’re striving to control and manage itchy, scaly, dry, and inflamed skin, aloe vera can help you achieve your skin goals. Aloe vera's soothing and cooling effects can tone down itching and redness due to various skin issues, such as rash, allergic reaction, infection, acne, and inflammatory skin conditions. The aloe vera plant also possesses anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, which can reduce and prevent skin inflammation. Hence, no matter your skin concern, make sure you have aloe vera skincare products in your vanity, especially during hot summer and dry winter days.
- Minimizes Wrinkles - As we age, our skin starts to look saggy, uneven, and dull. Wrinkles and fine lines are indications of your skin losing its elasticity. As we mentioned before, aloe vera is naturally abundant in plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids, all of which can help restore the firmness and radiance of your skin, putting it back to its healthier appearance. The cell renewing and repairing effects of aloe vera slow down and reverse the unwanted and premature signs of aging.
- Detoxifies and Cleanses - Phytonutrients and saponins in aloe vera provide natural detoxifying and cleansing powers that help eliminate all sorts of impurities from the skin.² One of the main reasons behind skin damage and inflammation is the accumulation of toxic elements in the skin. Aloe vera helps to draw out those toxins, preserving the health and integrity of the skin. Its cleansing effect removes dirt, oil, and other pollutants from the pores, preventing their buildup in the pores, which can lead to many skin problems. So, if your skin doesn’t tolerate chemical-ridden cleansers very well, give aloe vera gel or aloe vera-based cleanser a go. It will cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.
- Fights Oxidative Damage - The incredible antioxidant potential of the aloe vera plant can go a long way in shielding your skin against harmful elements found in the environment. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E, in particular, work wonders to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals, UV rays, chemicals, gases, microbes, and other harmful agents that can attack and damage the skin. Additionally, these antioxidant compounds support the epidermal layer of the skin, enabling the skin's protective barrier to work more efficiently against oxidative stressors.
- Reduces Hyperpigmentation - Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in aloe vera are known to fade skin discoloration caused by various issues. The natural skin-lightening properties of micronutrients in the aloe vera plant repair, regenerate and exfoliate away damaged skin cells, helping to minimize the appearance of acne scars, age spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.³ You can reap the skin-brightening benefits of aloe vera by incorporating this ingredient into home remedies or buy a skincare product that contains aloe vera, like a serum or cream.
How to Use Aloe Vera for Skin Care?
Since we now know a bit more about aloe vera and how it works to benefit your skin, let’s move on to how you can add it to your regular skincare routine.
- Use Aloe Vera Gel - If you’re lucky enough to have an aloe vera plant in your garden or manage to buy it from a nearby store or an online shop, you can extract fresh gel from the plant. You can use freshly obtained aloe vera gel as a cleanser, in a face mask, as acne or sunburn treatment, and for soothing irritated skin.
To get your raw aloe vera gel, follow these simple steps:
- Cut a leaf from your aloe vera plant as close to the root as possible.
- Rinse and pat dry the leaf
- You can start cutting the top of the leaf from the center to get the gel or leave it cut side down to drain the aloe vera.
- Once cut, scoop out the fresh gel with a knife or spoon.
- Wash the gel and let it cool in the refrigerator for a few minutes
- The gel is ready for use in your skincare recipes.
- You can also freeze the remaining gel for future use or put it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Use an Aloe Vera Product - Don’t have access to a fresh aloe vera plant? No worries! You can either buy ready-to-go OTC aloe vera gel for skincare purposes or choose a skincare product containing aloe vera as one of the main ingredients. It’s important that you find a product that doesn’t contain harsh and toxic chemicals, like artificial fragrances, preservatives, and dye, to ensure that you get the most out of your products without worrying about harming your skin. Some of the common skincare products formulated with aloe vera gel or extract include toners, serums, cleansers, moisturizers, and facial masks. Once we learned about the array of benefits aloe vera offers, we knew we had to include this miracle plant into Sundree’s RYSE+SHYNE Facial Serum. In addition to aloe vera, this hydrating facial serum is packed with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and CBD to visibly brighten and improve skin’s texture.
Risks or Side Effects of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is widely known as a safe and gentle ingredient due to its rich composition of soothing and healing active compounds. The gel is gentle enough for use by even people with sensitive and dry skin that are easily susceptible to irritation. However, everyone may react differently to various skincare ingredients. Therefore, it’s advised to do a patch test before using fresh aloe vera gel or aloe vera-derived skincare products to rule out any adverse effects.
Aloe vera is among the oldest and most commonly used natural ingredients for a number of skin problems, such as sunburn, inflammation, dehydration, wrinkles, discoloration, and acne breakouts. The powerful regenerative and hydrating abilities of aloe vera come from high levels of vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants in the plant. In addition, the cactus-like plant is a safe and gentle ingredient for DIY skincare recipes and skincare products. So go ahead, give aloe vera a try next time you are struggling with acne, sun-damaged skin, or wrinkles. Aloe may have been just what you needed for your skin.
- Palmer, Angela. (2021). ‘Salicylic Acid Acne Treatments’, VeryWellHealth. Accessed October 12,2021. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/salicylic-acid-15632
- Dolson, Laura. (2019). ‘The Importance of Phytonutrients for Your Health’, Accessed October 12, 2021. Available at: https://www.verywellfit.com/phytonutrients-phytochemicals-2242002
- Sissons, Beth. (2018). ‘What to know about hyperpigmentation’ Accessed November 27, 2018. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323808