You’ve probably used a small amount of aloe to soothe a burn after a long day spent lounging in the sun. We’ve all been there — we fall asleep on a lounge chair and wake up looking like a lobster. Ouch!
Did you know the aloe vera plant can be used for a variety of different skincare and medicinal purposes? And it has been! Greece, Egypt, India, and Mexico are just some of the cultures that have been using aloe vera for medicinal purposes for millennia. Aloe vera’s benefits range from its healing properties to its gentleness on sensitive skin.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a gel-like substance that comes from the leaves of the aloe plant, a succulent that thrives in hot, arid climates (Just like us! Desert retreat, anyone?) and has thick, green, fleshy leaves.
Studies have found that aloe vera gel is filled with up to 200 different biologically active substances, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, salicylic acids, and more. The nutrient-rich gel is laden with potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, which explains why it has so many different uses.
Why Use Aloe Vera for Your Skin?
Wondering exactly how to get the most out of your aloe vera gel? Keep reading for seven of the benefits of aloe vera for healthy skin.
There is a reason everyone and their mother has a tube of this stuff in their medicine cabinet. Aloe vera gel reigns supreme when it comes to soothing uncomfortable sunburns.
Aloe has long been used to actually help speed up the healing process of first- and second-degree burns, but it also makes a great post-sun treatment.
When you rub the clear gel on the affected area, the effects of aloe vera will leave you going “ooooh” and “aaaah.” The moisturizing and hydrating properties of aloe not only help soothe itchiness, dryness, and pain from sunburns to the touch but also can help stop your skin from peeling – a common aftermath of a bad sunburn.
Aloe vera usually has a gloopy consistency. Take a healthy amount of the gel and lather it on any burnt, inflamed areas. Look for a product that is 100% natural aloe, especially so you do not irritate the burn further with additives.
If you leave the pool feeling even a little crispy this summer, do your skin a favor and lather on some aloe. Your body will thank you the next day.
It Moisturizes Skin
When it comes to moisturizing skincare products, you want something that does two very important things: hydrate the skin and retain that moisture. This is the key combination for getting that supple, smooth look and maintaining your skin’s elasticity. Luckily, aloe vera has both of these oh-so-important properties.
The aloe plant itself is very rich in water, which helps to hydrate dry skin. Besides the water content, aloe vera gel also contains mucopolysaccharides. These sugar compounds help retain that moisture in the skin. So, if your face or body is feeling a little dry try going in with some aloe vera gel. The product has been shown to increase the water content of skin, so you can expect to feel soft, dolphin-smooth, and hydrated post-aloe.
A great way to use aloe to moisturize skin is to use it as a hydrating face mask. All you have to do is take the aloe gel and apply it all around your face. If you’d like you can add any other skin-boosting ingredients, just make sure you mix everything together well so you can still spread the gel.
Leave this DIY face mask on for about five to ten minutes. Rinse your face thoroughly, pat dry, and apply a thick, occlusive cream to lock in all of that juiiiiiicy moisture.
It Helps Clear Up Blemishes
The antibacterial properties of fresh aloe vera gel may be helpful for those with acne-prone skin. The plant contains ingredients like salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, and cinnamic acid, which all work to inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses. This makes the natural formula of aloe prime for acne prevention on oily skin or other skin types.
Whether you’re looking to reduce inflammation, prevent a pimple, or stop a blemish in its tracks, an aloe-infused product may be the right way to get what you need. Just dab a bit of aloe vera gel on your blemish before you go to bed and let it do its thing.
We wouldn’t suggest using aloe vera as your only skincare treatment, but it definitely is worth adding it in to your routine if you need a new blemish-buster.
It Helps Fade Dark Spots
Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, can pop up on our skin for many different reasons. Sun exposure, acne, and just the usual aging process can all cause dark spots. While they are usually not harmful, dark spots can be a pain to get rid of.
However, aloe vera gel offers a promising solution to help lighten up those dark patches. Aloesin, a compound found in aloe, has been found as an effective tool for reducing the effects of hyperpigmentation.
One study found that when applied four times a day for 15 days, the compound was effective in treating hyperpigmentation from both acne and UV rays. There is also research that suggests aloesin can actually stop hyperpigmented skin from producing more melanin, stopping more dark spots from forming.
It Can Slow Down Signs of Aging
Aging is natural, but when it comes to your skin there are certain things that can speed up the process. Luckily, aloe vera gel actually slows it down. It’s basically a time machine! Just call us Phil of the Future.
Aloe is loaded with vitamins C and E, antioxidants that help protect skin and prevent the formation of free radicals, which ultimately are what cause cell damage. When applied topically, aloe also stimulates the skin to produce hyaluronic acid and collagen, which are necessary when it comes to keeping skin hydrated and plump.
When your skin is really hydrated — like really really hydrated — the visible signs of aging (like fine lines and wrinkles) may not be as noticeable. Aloe has salicylic acid to gently exfoliate skin and create a fresh, clean slate for your skincare routine.
Plus, the gel is ultra-hydrating and is sure to leave your skin so very soft and smooth.
It Soothes Skin Conditions
Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema are both caused by inflammation and likely have to do with having a broken skin barrier. These skin conditions cause itchy, red skin and can make you more prone to fungal and bacterial infections. Gasp!
Luckily, aloe can help with both of these issues. The antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of aloe may soothe the skin by hydrating it and protecting it from further damage.
To help soothe these skin conditions you could go for the straight-up, pure aloe vera here or find a lotion that is infused with the botanical to take advantage of its most powerful benefits. Just take the lotion (or cream or gel… you get it) and rub it all over your skin for a soothing moment.
It Decreases Dandruff
Seborrheic dermatitis — more commonly known as dandruff — can be very uncomfortable. It’s so itchy!
Your scalp is irritated, scaly, and flakier than that guy you’re dating right now. It is not fun, but aloe vera may be able to help. One study found that aloe vera was particularly helpful in reducing the scaling and itching. Another study found that the plant could prevent and treat dandruff altogether. We’re still not sure, but it is certainly worth a shot, right?
To help heal that scalp, and give your hair a little luster in the meantime, create a hair and scalp mask with aloe. Apply the aloe vera gel directly to your hair from the roots down to the ends. Let it sit for 20 minutes or less. Make sure you are gently rubbing the product into your hair to really get the full effect. Then rinse away and get on with your day.
Scrub, lather, rinse, ahhh! Goodbye, dandruff! Wo don’t hate to see you go, sorry not sorry.
Which Product Is Right For Me?
The best and freshest way to get aloe gel is to get an aloe plant. Either keep one in your home or purchase an aloe leaf from your local market. Slash open the leaf, take out the juicy flesh, and start applying it to yield those magical results. Of course, we can’t all be botanists. If your thumb isn’t exactly green, keep reading.
When it comes to getting results, the more aloe the better. Blending it up with other soothing ingredients like coconut? Well, that’s a better match than Jim and Pam. Our Aloe Coconut Body Lotion mixes these au natural ingredients with other soothing goodies like rose extract and shea butter for a hydrating and healing mix perfect for any skin type.
Aloe, You There?
We hope this piece gives you some inspiration on how to make the most of that green-filled tube that has been collecting dust for years at Grandma’s. Aloe is so much more than just a gel to get rid of sunburns. The opportunities are almost endless! How will you use aloe to get your skin in shape for summer?
Aloe Vera: A Short Review | PubMed Central
The efficacy of aloe vera used for burn wound healing: a systematic review | National Library of Medicine
Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques | National Library of Medicine
Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review | PMC
Effects of aloesin on melanogenesis in pigmented skin equivalents - Wang - 2008 - International Journal of Cosmetic Science | Wiley Online Library